“Shirley is always hip to new things, so whenever I present an idea to her, she’s able to think quickly and find a resolution,” Ms. Whack wrote in an email. “There are so many looks that Shirley and I pulled off. Recently for my show in New Orleans I sent Shirley a photo of this outfit Michael Jackson wore when he was a kid and, boom, she got it made.”
“You know how when you’re dreaming and then a sound from the real world appears right before you wake up?” said Ms. Solen, who directed Ms. Whack’s fantastical videos for “Link” and “Body of Water,” working alongside Ms. Kurata. “It’s almost like you’re seeing into the future for a second. That’s what working with her is like. She understands what you want immediately, and it’s also something that only could have come to you in a dream — slightly newer, different, more surprising. She’s a visual artist and she could do anything, and she wants to do costumes. She blows my mind the way that she costumes Tierra, which is out there, but then she also works with Rodarte.”
Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters who founded and are the designers of Rodarte, have worked with Ms. Kurata, along with the stylist Ashley Furnival, since their first New York show, in 2006. Its fall 2022 collection — presented in a look book instead of a runway show — featured a cast of actors, musicians and directors such as Kathleen Hanna, Rachel Brosnahan, Lexi Underwood and the Linda Lindas. Laura Mulleavy talks to Ms. Kurata almost every day on the phone.
“Shirley is very much connected to a visual narrative,” Ms. Mulleavy said. “Creating character, an intention to come across in the clothing, extreme or subdued, she understands the theatricality. She understands the history of fashion in a very interesting way.”
“The first time we met her it was over Zoom and she had her cat on her lap,” said the drummer for the Linda Lindas, 11-year-old Mila de la Garza. (Ms. Kurata has two black-and-white tuxedo cats, Fanny and Moondog.) “She was already there petting her cat. And she has her glasses. And we were like, ‘Wow, this girl is cool.’”