NEW YORK — A tattoo-covered Slayer-loving guitarist who once played for the early Nineties punk rock band Crotch is not the first person you would expect social swan and aspiring actress Jennifer Creel to call when planning the fall launch of her luxury French soap line, L’Atelier du Savon, in the States. But creative director Sara Rotman, the founder of MODCo Creative (which stands for My Own Damn Company), has discovered a niche consulting for the entrepreneurially inclined Uptown set.

In addition to Creel’s line of fragrant glycerin body soaps, Rotman worked on the textile design and branding for Tory Burch’s NoLIta boutique, Tory, and she’s currently collaborating with Chris Burch, Tory’s husband, on the launch of Winter & Migs, a sportswear line that she calls “country club with a twist.” The social set found her via her most visible fashion client, Carolina Herrera. Since 2002, Rotman’s agency has been the force behind Herrera’s ad campaigns for ready-to-wear and bridal.

This story first appeared in the June 29, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

How does she describe her aesthetic?

“I’m a complete snob who’s covered in tattoos,” she says during a break from work at her TriBeCa office. Her rottweiler, Ozzy, named after Ozzy Osbourne — “before the reality series” — pads around. Wearing a vintage Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt, black Frankie B. cargos and a chain-mail bracelet, Rotman, a Famke Janssen look-alike, ticks off her body art: a dragon and a dagger on her arm, a koi fish on her shoulder and bluebirds on her wrists. “Even my tattoos are the best,” she adds.

Rotman, whose clients also include Sony and MTV, says her greatest strength is her attention to detail and, of course, her eye. Creel agrees. “She can do classic with an edge,” she says. For L’Atelier du Savon, Rotman helped to repackage and rebrand the line to appeal to men and women of all ages. Rotman’s final color selection? Chartreuse and silver. “She’s very creative, very sophisticated and very good at making something distinctive,” says Creel.

For inspiration, Rotman looks to fine art and occasionally her surroundings. The packaging for Rescue Beauty Lounge’s upcoming bath and body line that she designed is inspired by the daisy-flecked wallpaper in her childhood bedroom. She also recalls a brainstorming session with Carolina Herrera and the photographer Terry Richardson, during which Slayer was playing on the stereo. “Mrs. Herrera is so open-minded,” she says.

For all her wild-child ways — she is happiest when driving her ’68 Mustang or ’65 Ford Galaxy “very fast” — Rotman still boasts a conservative streak. An avid equestrienne, she spends her days off riding dressage in Millbrook, N.Y., wearing a full riding habit. “I wouldn’t go without proper attire,” she says, and then recalls what Kelly Kovack, a partner with Ji Baek in the Rescue product line, told her.

“She said, ‘Underneath your tattoos, you’re a sweater set-and-pearls type.’ She’s right — but I prefer to stand out.”

— Alison Burwell

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