Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Random Rocket and Rodarte Connection

Confesssion: For two years of my life I was in the business of selling rockets.  I KNOW: totally and utterly bananas! Sometimes it's still hard for ME to believe. But it's true: in 2004 I left a job in higher education to work at a tiny aerospace start-up in El Segundo

The brainchild of one of the founders of PayPal, the company has one singular mission: creating low cost, reliable access to space.  They are driving down costs by revolutionizing the approach to rocket design, production, testing and launching.  When Fast Company magazine put us on their cover, they summed up the business plan in the title: Hondas in Space

I joined when there were about 100 employees. Just 7 of us were women - including my boss who was VP of Business Development and has since become President of the company  She remains to this day the most impressive collegue I've ever had.  Though, pretty much everyone I worked with was a BFD.  We're talking rocket scientists after all. 

I handled all public relations and marketing for the company.  I always say, for two years, I had a front row seat to history. I handled media relations with the likes of the BBC and Disccovery, traveled around the world for events with names like the International Astronautical Conference, coordinated photoshoots at our engine test site in McGregor, Texas and launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force base, interfaced with NASA and the Department of Defense. The most random part of all?  I was good at it.

My time as rocketeer was the most exciting, challenging and rewarding experience of my professional life.  I may have worked 60+ hour weeks but during all those hours, I bonded with dozens of interesting, hard working, amazing human beings who I NEVER would have met otherwise and who have now become family, making my life infinitely richer

Inspiring, talented, hilarious people like my core drinking buddies from that job.  We still get together every few months, shoot the shit, catch up on family and rockets and life, all while sampling as much scotch as we can get our paws on. Heart their faces.

During last month's get together, Kbro said he had a video I needed to watch.  He warned me that I better sit down...preferably on a toliet...because I was going to shit.  He proceeded to play the video below on his iPhone for me.  And I did nearly poop my pants.  It's a Rodarte commisioned short that the Mulleavy sisters filmed at my former employer's rocket shop and includes video of a rocket - OUR rocket!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???

2010: A Space Odyssey
Rodarte's Haute-Tech Astral Projection

Guinevere van Seenus stars in Aanteni, a high-fashion techno-thriller from CFDA award-winning design sisters Rodarte, shot by their friend and frequent collaborator, the photographer and video artist Todd Cole. Set in the deserted grounds of Paypal founder Elon Musk’s jet lab in Hawthorne, California, the film was inspired by the pioneering spirit of the space race, which, according to Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, “has defined generations of artists in their desire to use new mediums and question the established rules they were taught to follow.”

This cinematic collision between rocket science and visual daring is an apt match for Rodarte’s spring 2010 collection—a symphony of flesh-colored crochet knits, fluorescent fibres, leather bandages and distressed plaid. Costumed in a series of these exquisite creations, Van Seenus blurrily emerges from a shimmering seascape before running through the starkly alluring spaces of Musk's rocket facility—a former Boeing airline hanger that has been transformed into what the Mulleavys call “a world defined by color, texture and material.”

Van Seenus’ hallucinatory journey, punctuated by glimpses of mysterious experiments and sudden rocket blasts, is chillingly soundtracked by LA noise-merchants No Age. We advise you to strap in and don a helmet for the spectacular finale—a truly stratospheric experience that takes Rodarte’s unique vision beyond the final frontier.

Kbro and I are probably the only people who truly understand the CRAZEEEE irony of today's hottest fashion duo finding inspiration in the one place we find sooooo utterly UNFASHIONABLE.  Thrilling? Yes. Innovative? Definitely. Sci-fi futuristic? Totes.

But Haute Couture? NOT SO MUCH. I mean, Kbro and I were considered real odd balls at the company because we cared about style, clothes and things outside the realm of nerd.

But Kbro and I aren't ones to argue with where someone finds inspiration - especially if the someones are the fashion world's IT girls.  What two sisters from L.A. have created with Rodarte is truly out of this world.  Every season, their work is exquisite and unique and, most refreshing of all, INTELLIGENT.

So intelligent that a rocket scientist is now quite obsessed with them.  Kbro recently came across the redic Kirkwood for Rodarte heels I blogged about months ago and decided to try his hand at making a few similar pairs for his fashion class this semester. Guess whose fingers and (Elizabeth and James) toes are crossed that she scores a pair of size 9s?  Hint: It's not Rodarte bestie Tavi.


Sheri, RN said...

Oh the irony is fun with this one! I was never in the rocket field, but I did grow up in Merritt Island, FL - home of that other NASA :)

WendyB said...

I LOVE this bit of info about your background. Who knew?!

Sheila said...

How weird, I too was in the rocket world, but for the Delta II, but they moved away to Denver. I didn't do anything fun like you though, I did more of the paper pushing stuff.

fancypants said...

What an amazing video. I love everything apocalyptic, especially in this day and age. The Mulleavy sisters are really doing something special and unique, season after season. The best part is that they are from Pasadena! Yeah locals! Awesome!


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