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Style Icon is semi-regular series that highlights Angelenos who aren't strictly in the business of fashion, but who have an affinity for style, clothing, retail?or just plain looking good.
Elizabeth Daniels, 4/11
Much has been made about the pedigree of best-selling authors Amanda Goldberg (daughter of the prolific producer Leonard Goldberg, who's brought us Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island and Hart to Hart, just to name a few) and Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper (daughter of actress/dancer Daria Halprin and - an icon in his own right - actor/director/photographer Dennis Hopper). And had they simply walked in their famous parents' footsteps, we might have had reason to cry nepotism. However, after both spending time in the Hollywood trenches, they settled into a career path that's decidedly their own, putting their experiences on the periphery of the limelight to work to conceive the remarkable world of Lola Santisi.
Lola, like her fair creators, is the spawn of Hollywood royalty, and she also shares their independence, endearing self-deprecation, and love for fabulous fashion. Amanda and Ruthanna's first novel, Celebutantes, was set against the flurry of activity during Oscar week, dispatching Lola as a "brand ambassador" for her bestie's fledgling clothing line. Given the ladies' penchant for sartorial style - with Amanda (formerly a design assistant to Todd Oldham) rocking her edgy twist on the classics, and Ruthanna breezing in ethereal, boho chic - it's no surprise that they chose fashion as their way in to explore the entertainment industry.
Their latest installment, Beneath a Starlet Sky (out just last week), takes Lola to the most famous red carpet in the world: the Cannes Film Festival. We met up with Amanda and Ruthanna at one of their favorite local shopping destinations, West Third Street's Satine, to shop for book launch party dresses and discuss LA vs. Europe, embarrassing outfits, and Lola's latest misadventures.
So to start, if you'll each just tell us what you're wearing...
RKH: A Matta dress, Rachel Comey boots.
What about your jewelry?
RKH: These are from my mother's collection of turquoise. She has an incredible collection of vintage turquoise jewelry.
And you, Amanda?
AG: Balenciaga dress and Isabel Marant boots. My jewelry is Lena Wald and Hermes... and my engagement ring!
It's gorgeous. I love red on an engagement ring. It's the passion and the love...
AG: Yeah, I think it's so cool.
RKH: It's so warm and fiery. Beautiful.
Who are your personal style icons?
AG: I love Coco Chanel. She's kind of my ultimate.
RKH: I'm very inspired by my mother and grandmother's style. They're both sort of artistic and bohemian. They have some really interesting pieces from the '60s.
Is there a particular time in your life when you recall becoming conscious about fashion?
AG: I feel like I fell in love with it in the womb. I've always loved fashion. I wanted to be a fashion designer growing up, dressing and undressing Barbies...
RKH: I feel like as a little girl, also, I was really interested in what people were wearing. My mother and father had really interesting style. My father would wear his cowboy hats and my mom just always looked great.
AG: It's funny, because when Ruthanna and I were friends before we ever started writing together, we both were sort of feeling like we were unhappy about what we were doing and we were looking for something else. And I remember we talked about, "Maybe we should open a clothing store?"
So instead you write about clothes in your books!
So, in Beneath a Starlet Sky, Lola's going to Cannes. What do you think is the biggest difference between style in LA as opposed to Europe, or the South of France in particular?
AG: The red carpet is certainly one thing you have the similarity in - for Cannes, everyone gets really glamorous for the red carpet. But I'd say, day to day, in Cannes, it's kind of over the top with some of those women with the jewels and the diamonds at the pool. It's kind of out there.
RKH: Would you say people are more relaxed day to day here as opposed to there?
RKH: Not as many jewels here.
AG: Yes, people are dripping in jewels.
RKH: I think, there, they're very in tune, you know, whether it's putting a driving loafer with the jewels...
AG: I mean, you'll probably never see anyone in sweats in Europe. Not allowed.
Is there a favorite fashion moment from Beneath a Starlet Sky that you can divulge?
AG: All of Lola's outfits are pretty fantastic. We'd like to own all of her wardrobe.
RKH: The funny thing about Lola is she's suffering from bi-Lolar, which is she's swinging between the two coasts, going between Los Angeles and New York because she's now the CEO of this fashion line and her boyfriend lives in Los Angeles. So she's constantly shuttling back and forth on planes between the two coasts, and she's constantly switching wardrobe between what is her New York fashion world attire and her LA attire. Her doctor boyfriend doesn't approve of her stilettos, so she's making fast changes on the airplane. So it's kind of a funny geographical fashion journey that she's on.
AG: She's choosing between the Louboutin and the Croc.
That's two very different ends of the spectrum. Speaking of travel attire, do you have a go-to travel outfit?
RKH: You know what's great? A cargo pant that Jeannie [Lee], who owns Satine, has designed. They're wonderful, because they don't wrinkle. So you can wear them on the plane or you can throw them in your bag, and they can be day or night. You can put them with a pair of heels and they look gorgeous, or with flats. They're a nice versatile, very comfortable piece.
AG: I like the Isabel Marant sweatshirts, too, because they're cute and comfortable.
As far as LA shopping, do you guys have any favorite places (besides Satine)?
AG: I love the Balenciaga boutique; it's really beautiful. And Bottega.
RKH: Decades is the most wonderful gem in Los Angeles. I love the modern take on vintage, which comes from Cameron Silver's incredible and wide-spread vision of fashion. He's so totally glamorous and inspired. He really looks at fashion as art and not as disposable pieces. He's not about trends.
AG: And American Apparel! I kind of live in the American Apparel stuff.
Besides American Apparel, are there any other budget-friendly lines that you like?
AG:J. Crew. Totally obsessed with J. Crew online. Love everything they do. And, in fact, there's also a line called Alternative Earth from Alternative Apparel. Jeannie started carrying it here now. Totally obsessed. And they have great coupon codes online, which I'm constantly searching for.
RKH: The Gap is a good go-to for jeans. Whatever the latest jean is, they're fantastic for it.
Who are your favorite designers right now?
AG: Isabel Marant. I know I've said it a million times, but I'm kind of obsessed with her. Jeannie started me on her. And Balenciaga and Bottega.
RKH: Marin Hopper. She was the fashion director at Elle Magazine, and she just has the most incredible taste. She branched out and is designing her own bags now. They're absolutely beautiful.
AG: The workmanship is really incredible. It's skins and designs, and they're gorgeous.
Is there any item that you always wear?
AG: Both of our rings. Our engagement rings, and your wedding ring.
RKH: And my husband gave me this Jen Meyer wishbone necklace. I never take it off.
AG: I also wear a simple pink diamond band that I never take off.
If you ended up on a deserted island, what would be the one piece that you'd want to take with you?
AG: I think I'd bring a Tomas Maier bikini. So I could swim and get off the island!
RKH: I think I'd bring my grandmother's hot pink vintage Indian sari.
Do either of you have a fashion disaster moment that you can share?
AG: I look back on my Bat Mitzvah dress and I'm a little bit horrified. My friend had an '80s prom party recently, and I wore it. It's pink lace, and strapless, and tiered, and poufy.
And you still fit in the dress from when you were 14....
AG: It was very Madonna. It was very terrifying.
RKH: I would say my prom dress. My black and white polka-dot mushroom skirt with a bow. Very '80s Madonna-inspired pouf dress.
We know that Lola always makes sure she Polaroids, but do you have any personal rituals before you're going to have a big night out? Like what will you do before your book party?
RKH: Massage is always a good idea for me.
AG: Is there any homeopathic Xanax?
You can catch Amanda and Ruthanna at a special book signing at Saks Fifth Avenue Saturday, May 7, from 2pm to 3pm, 9600 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills
· Beneath a Starlet Sky [Amazon]
· Satine [Official Site]
· All Style Icon Coverage [Racked LA]