Art may imitate life but life doesn’t always imitate art. That was good news for Natalie Portman, Kim Gordon, Jenny Lewis, Autumn de Wilde and Jennifer Herrema on Tuesday night, because Kate and Laura Mulleavy imagined in Jess Rotter’s new humor book that they wrote the foreword “as if we were giving her a toast at a boring dinner party, with boring guests, but thankfully with good Champagne.”
On the contrary, the scene at Winsome in Los Angeles was a lively one, as guests representing the cross-pollination of art, fashion and entertainment mingled before toasting Rotter and her first book, titled “I’m Bored,” with sparkling rosé from Ruffino.
Having known Rotter since they were teens growing up on Long Island, Portman was responsible for introducing her friend with the “funny sense of humor” to the Rodarte designers. She maintained her matchmaker status by being seated between Rotter and Laura Mulleavy at the table, decorated with a copy of the book and a patch designed by Rotter with a drawing of an ostrich from the book and the word “bliss” next to her place setting.
Sporting a floral-print bomber jacket made by the Mulleavy sisters, Portman had many reasons to be blissful. She graciously received well wishes from friends regarding her second pregnancy and her husband, Benjamin Millepied, was prepping to dance in a gala in December for the return of L.A. Dance Project to the City of Angels. She also was able to read an early edition of “I’m Bored,” of which Hat & Beard is printing some 3,000 copies. “It’s got a bittersweetness to it,” she said. “Her drawings are incredible.”
Rotter said she always viewed her book — which is filled with a walrus wearing an AC/DC shirt, a wizard, a Viking and other characters — “as a scribbled variety show, my version of ‘Laugh-In.’ It’s really simple with one-liners.” By next month, people can wear her illustrations on their sleeves, via patches customized on Bliss & Mischief’s Army jackets.
But it’s not suitable for kids like Portman’s five-year-old son. “It’s actually really heavy,” Rotter said, noting that the underlying tone is: “We’re adults. Life is hard.”
Laura Mulleavy saw the book develop, as Rotter sent her illustrations and text as she created them, often out of order. “Basically, it’s about creativity,” she said. The Pasadena, Calif.-based designer is enmeshed in designing Rodarte’s next collection, to be presented in February. For a change of scenery, she’s looking forward to being spooked at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. The film buff recommends “Halloween” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” as movies to get in the mood for the tide of trick or treaters.
“We sort of have the same cultural sensibility,” Rotter said of Mulleavy. “We love the beautiful and silly.”