Destination: California: Los Angeles
A Kinney Court
It’s only fitting that there’s a sunglass store along Abbot Kinney; this is L.A., after all. This boutique, however, happens to have been opened by Garrett Leight, son of Oliver Peoples founders Larry and Cindy Leight. Along with vintage Oliver Peoples frames, you’ll also find specs by Thierry Lasry and boots by local footwear designer Becca Moon.
American Rag et cie
Don’t leave the neighborhood without stopping at the big momma of new/vintage clothing retailers, American Rag et cie. Admittedly, it’s geared to a young crowd, but every age can love the connecting French housewares department and café, Maison Midi and Café Midi.
Barneys New York
If you can only hit one store, make it Barneys New York. It’s even better, daresay, than the New York flagship. Anchored with a winding central staircase for grand entrances and exits, the store’s neither too big nor too small. Besides, you can take a load off your feet at Barney Greengrass and gaze at the Hollywood sign from a table on the patio.
From the French woman who revolutionized beach wear with her St. Barth’s boutique, Calypso has grown into a veritable empire of rich hippie style. You can find Christiane Celle’s clothes, accessories and housewares here.
Carroll & Co.
French-born, LA-based Clare Vivier turned into a handbag designer by accident in 2008 when she couldn’t find a stylish yet functional laptop bag. Since then, her simple and chic leather bags, including the signature foldover clutch and messenger carry-alls, have been selling out across the globe. Browse her entire collection at her year-old corner flagship store in Silverlake, which was modeled after a French pharmacy.
Decades, atop a leopard-carpeted stairway, is one of the city’s headquarters for designer vintage dresses and aged status bags. The Web site’s blog offers frequent updates of arrivals. Decadestwo (323-655-1960; decadestwo.com), just downstairs, feels more approachable with its more recent castoffs, some with the labels still inside, including Prada and Badgley Mischka.
Esther has easy-going clothes for bohemian girls.
Strictly for the young and hip (or those who can still pull off being young and hip) Fred Segal, a collection of stores, encompasses lingerie, luggage, shoes (Alexander McQueen sneakers anyone?), gifts, men’s and children’s departments, a women’s designer department with labels such as Marni and Jovovich-Hawk, plus a few roomfuls of jeans and an extensive selection of Juicy Couture. A similar compendium of stores exists in Santa Monica.
Many customers at this Hollywood store, opened in 2011, have come in search of the brand’s screen-printed sweatpants, a favorite of celebrities and made by hand just a few blocks away. Others still are led by their curiosity to discover what’s behind the impossible-to-miss, eye-catching neon-hued exterior. Discovery is exactly what Nina Garduno, who spent nearly three decades at Fred Segal before launching Free City in 2002, had in mind. Along with those sweatpants and tees, avid fans and curiosity-stricken shoppers alike will find everything from bikes from San Francisco-based Mission Bicycle to gigantic crystals Garduno brought back from Brazil to vegan ice cream in the food section of the store.
Owner Nilou Ghodsi has an eye for understated and exceedingly wearable pieces, with a particular affinity for up-and-coming European designers including Isabel Marant, Giada Forte, and Mes Demoiselles. Don’t miss the stunning labradorite-encrusted rings by Pippa Small.
This is the address to know for the height of T-shirt chic in a city which made T-shirts under blazers a new formal fashion.
Lily et Cie
Astounding vintage designer dresses from this marvelous shop often appear on awards show red carpets.
The bouncers, guards, whatever you call them, on duty at Maxfield, on the end of Melrose at Robertson Boulevard, are really intimidating, but just ignore them to experience how seriously cool, seriously rich people in Hollywood spend their money. The mix includes men’s and women’s fashion (Rick Owens, Libertine and a touch of Chanel), books and cool things for your home, like ‘70s chess sets and beat-up Louis Vuitton steamer trunks. But it’s possible that the cases of vintage Hermès and Gucci leather goods, watches and jewelry are the most staggering things you’ll encounter on your L.A. shopping travels. The selection of contemporary jewelry by Jade Jagger for Garrard, Loree Rodkin and about a dozen others is fabulous too. Owner Tommy Perse is the father of T-shirt designer James, whose own store, James Perse, is across the street.
This shop sells off-season items from the main Maxfield store on Melrose.
T-shirt maker Michael Stars also takes custom orders for any of their existing T-shirts models in any color you see in the store.
Milk ferrets out the cutest lines for young trendies and fashionistas.
The women’s clothes at Noodle Stories are always interesting, including Japanese labels, plus tables full of cashmere sweaters and good T’s, not to mention unusual socks.
While you’re in the Melrose neighborhood, visit this funky, fresh conglomeration of men’s and women’s high and low. Labels include everything from Rodarte to Kate Moss’s Topshop Line and Grey Ant knits. It’s housed in what was once Charlie Chaplin’s dance school, now intentionally raw and unpolished. Men’s shirts are found in a room made of wall-to-wall Legos, if you’re into such things.
Oscar de la Renta
The designer’s boutique is it situated at the back of a lovely courtyard, and there’s free valet parking.
Designer Pamela Barish sells her beautiful, ladylike and expensive women’s collections in her small shop, where she also takes custom orders.
Patek Philippe by GEARYS Beverly Hills
The legendary Swiss watchmaker recently opened its first standalone U.S. boutique in partnership with Gearys Beverly Hills (the luxury retailer just operates the store). A favorite brand of collectors, the company plans to display several of its hand-assembled rose gold watches at the 1,200-square-foot-space.
At the shocking pink Paul Smith store, the knighted London designer sells his English bone china, men’s and women’s collections, and oddities such as needlepoint throw pillows and vintage Rolexes remade with brightly enameled faces.
This women’s clothing store in Brentwood Country Mart carries a great selection of women’s clothing, including trendy labels and wonderful vintage finds.
This boutique sells unusual European women’s labels.
Known for dressing the wealthy local denizens in Tuleh, Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti and Lanvin. Savannah also sells a small, beautiful collection of made-to-order special occasion clothes, all silk and in a choice of colors, from $500 to $3,000 for a dress with French lace; orders are filled in two-and-a-half to three weeks.
The perfect basic T-shirt, made from supima cotton and modal, launched this LA-based clothing company into fashion fame back in 2002. Since then, the brand’s easy, breezy maxi dresses, swimwear, intimates, and uber-cute kiddie line, Splendid Littles, have all met with equal popularity. Browse the bright, loft-like Santa Monica store along Montana Avenue, then hit the beach, naturally.
Ten Over Six
It’s no coincidence the name of this Melrose Avenue boutique is a reference to the Mad Hatter’s hat. You’ll feel like you fell through a rabbit hole into a wonderland complete with artwork by Massimo Vitali (whose photos of Brazil were recently featured in the New York Times Sunday magazine), totes by Montreal-based Want Le Essentiels De La Vie, booties by Vena Cava and dozens of other envelope-pushing designers.
From Baxter of California grooming goods to Raleigh Denim jeans to Tretorn tennis shoes, this men’s store, originally from San Francisco, opened a second outpost at the Brentwood Country Mart in 2011. The company has gone on to design pieces under its own in-house label and collaborations, including one utilizing Harris Tweed fabrics from Scotland.
A Montana mainstay for more than thirty years, with avante-garde labels such as Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester (no connection to Weathervane for Men).
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