Destination: California: Los Angeles
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.
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.
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.
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
This shop opened in March, and not only is it situated at the back of a lovely courtyard, but 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.
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.
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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