New YORK has "Bergdorf Blondes," "Sex and the City" and "The Nanny Diaries." And now L.A. has "Celebutantes," the new novel in stores Tuesday from Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Hopper. These daughters of Hollywood royalty -- producer Leonard Goldberg and actor Dennis Hopper -- take readers on a journey through the underbelly of Oscar week, from the Vanity Fair party to the Chateau Marmont.
"We felt like that hadn't really been done for L.A.," Hopper said last week over lunch at the Newsroom Cafe, one of her favorite Robertson Boulevard spots.
The novel is infused with enough insider references to make Perez Hilton giddy ("exhaustion" is defined as an ailment that plagues those who "were out till 6 a.m. throwing back shots at the Chateau, " and a "swagaholic" is a celebrity who goes through an Oscar week gifting suite as if it were a "supermarket sweep.")
The authors met at gallery owner Larry Gagosian's annual Oscar party several years ago. "We were the quiet ones who gravitated toward each other. We were sort of taking in the scene," said Hopper, 35.
"When your parents are very successful, you're in a shadow," said Goldberg, 33, who worked for designer Todd Oldham before joining the family business as a producer and promptly realizing it wasn't for her.
Their observations gave rise to the book, in which 26-year-old protagonist Lola Santisi traipses around Tinseltown during Oscar week and attempts to find herself along the way. Naturally, Lola is the daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a former model and, as such, suffers from a case of career deficit disorder. Hopper maintains that the characters are products of imagination, but it's clear that directionless Lola is infused with personal tribulations.
"I always wanted to write, but I didn't think it could be a career," says Hopper. "Why I thought some of the other things I tried along the way could be a career, I'm not sure."
The story is fashion-obsessed, with plenty of label dropping (Hermes, David Yurman, Prada, Karl Lagerfeld, etc.). The fashion references were from Goldberg, whose style is more posh than Hopper's ethnic bohemian flair. Fashion makes Goldberg's eyes light up like a movie marquee, but she quickly brings herself back to her new purpose in life -- just in case anyone forgot. "At the end of the day," she says, "as much as we love fashion, we're really writers now."
Career deficit disorder cured.
What's your favorite item in your closet?
Hopper: "This incredible concho belt from Mexico; I inherited two of them. And my mother's turquoise Indian jewelry. My mother [psychologist-author-dancer-actress Daria Halprin] was always into a very ethnic sort of '60s vibe . . . I've taken a lot of things from her closet."
Goldberg: "Cargo pants from Scoop. I live in them. I've worn out two pairs!"
Where do you shop?
Goldberg: "Curve on Robertson is very cool; they have some amazing pieces. Barneys, of course. And I love to go visit the dresses at Bottega Veneta. But usually it will be like 3 o'clock in the morning and I'll be on jcrew.com."
Do you have any well-priced staples?
Hopper: "Gap jeans. Along the lines of affordable things, Gap skinny jeans. People forget how great they are."
Who is your style inspiration?
Goldberg: "Karl Lagerfeld certainly played a big part in the book. And I'm a big fan of Bottega Veneta."
Hopper: "I'm very inspired by my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother was a dancer and very inspired by Martha Graham and designed her own costumes."
On chocolate chip cookies:
Goldberg: "I love vegan chocolate chip cookies [from Newsroom Cafe]. They taste a little different, but they're amazing."
Hopper: "I like my chocolate chip cookies pure."