Textile: Auden. Designed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, produced by Knoll Luxe, 2009. Gift of Knoll Textiles. 2010-7-1.

The sky is darkening like a stain

Does capturing the malevolent and mysterious quality of Rodarte’s fashions in contract fabrics sound like the impossible brief? Then extra credit is due to this collaboration among former National Design Award winners Rodarte and Knoll. Since their debut in 2005, Rodarte’s collections have been singled out for their intensive, often destructive textile treatments, which have included burning, sanding, and staining. Dorothy Cosonas, the creative mind behind Knoll Luxe, used her technical expertise to guide Kate and Laura Mulleavy through the realization of a moody collection of textures in bruised colors for the interior.

The Museum acquired Auden in two colorways, along with three other designs from the collection. But something that is difficult to convey in a museum setting is the natural interaction of textiles and light. Textiles are sensitive to degradation from ultraviolet light and are typically shown in low lighting conditions. Yet drapery fabrics are designed to be seen either with sunlight streaming through the back, or warmly lit from the interior as part of an evening environment.

As you can see in this promotional photo created by The Moderns, Auden’s papery surface and subtle color gradation combine to create an uneasy feeling that is only fully expressed in the window.

(The title to this entry is taken from W. H. Auden's poem, The Two.)

National Design Week is October 13-21.

Museum Number: 
2010-7-1