French director turned boutique owner Juliana "Juju" Sorelli kicks off an exclusive exhibition of The Runaways' memorabilia tomorrow night at her Hollywood boutique, The Evil Rock 'n' Roll Cat. Inspired and encouraged by Sorelli's pals Kristen Stewart and Riley Keough (stars of the 2010 Runaways film, which chronicles the lives of bandmates Joan Jett and Cherie Currie), the show features posters, vintage vinyl, press kits, Japanese magazine clippings, the guitars used in the Floria Sigismondi-directed film and original Runaways photography by rock 'n' roll shutterbug Brad Elterman.
The show is the first of its kind for Sorelli's boutique, which made its debut in February 2013. "Producing takes time. I was working on four projects, two features, two short films, when I decided to find a parallel occupation", says the Parisian, who opened the store on a whim after she noticed the "For Rent" sign on a little blue-gray house at the corner of North Las Palmas and Selma Avenues. "It's just a few blocks from where two of my idols, Rick Owens and Michele Lamy, used to have their studio and restaurant, Les Deux Cafes, in the '90s."
The boutique is another creative outlet for Sorelli, whose filmmaking career took off after she filmed a screen test for Keough — who promptly began taking her to meetings with directors such as Nick Cassavetes. "Her intention was to show me that directing was not impossible, that I could handle it. Her trust in me was decisive," says Sorelli.
Four short-films later — plus many videos available on vimeo at her company, Sorelli Presents— Sorelli has honed her artistic direction. And it's no surprise she's constantly surrounded by talented friends: a bevy of arty, edgy beauties, including Keough, Stewart, Sin City actress Jaime King and N.Y.-based model-actress Abbey Lee.
Sorelli's punk-rock aesthetic is evident both on film and in The Evil Rock 'n' Roll Cat space that she has curated. Think chili-red vintage wall paper from Scalamandre, a cozy slouched sofa and large B&W vintage photos of sultry rockers lining the walls.
"At the beginning, the people used to pop their heads in, then run away with apologies, as if they were trespassing," says Sorelli of the laid-back, homey vibe she's created. Brands carried at the store include JFO, the new brand from Imitation of Christ co-founder Matthew Damhave (who is hanging out on the sofa as we speak) and reworked vintage pieces, including denim, military and leather jackets (from $160 to $500). All the items are handmade at the back of the little house by a resident tailor, Jay, and according to Sorelli, pieces "usually fly in a couple of hours."
Later this summer, Sorelli brings a pop-up version of her Evil Rock 'n' Roll Hollywood Cat store with her to the Colomo Compound in Marfa, Texas, when her short film, Madame Le Chat, starring Keough and produced by hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, debuts at the Marfa Film Festival, running July 2-5. Call it a purr-fect fit.
The Evil Rock 'n' Roll Hollywood Cat, 1608 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood. 323-378-5735. Exhibition "The Runaways" now open through July 31. Pop-up store at Marfa, Colomo Compound, July 2-5.