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Shopping in LA. Part 1

Author: 29.09.2014 | USA, fashion, advices
At the prospect of a new fashion season and therefore Fashion Weeks scheduled in the world's major fashion capitals, I would like to devote my story below to shopping in LA…

It is not my aim to tell you about trends of the coming season, or something of that stuff, no. For that there is a myriad of designers, ARMY (dare I say it) of fashion bloggers, as well as multi-million fashion magazines industry. I have friends who work in and are related to fashion and it has always been extremely interesting for me to follow their articles, fashion show photos, backstage sneak peeks and personal choice of various pieces of clothing. When choosing garments for myself I just follow my inner sense of style, nevertheless I am not alien to fashion trends.

So, back in LA. Surely, you have heard a lot about shopping in one of the world's fashion capitals, haven’t you? Or, at least, you know that the United States is a country where visiting Shopping Mall is a kind of leisure for locals. I once had a small booklet, published by one of the fashion magazines, titled Shopping in the City. And what did I notice?! In this kind of guidance they always write just about the most named brands, or the biggest shopping malls. I have already explained in the previous article that I only write about things examined by me and, in my opinion, which may be of interest. Well, you will agree that the big-name places are less attractive, yet, the hidden gems is another matter.

For those more entertained by shopping in huge famous malls I advise to read the second part of the post. No offense, but I post photos and addresses from my favourite stores only.

To begin with I should note that LA is a mix city. Mix of cultures, music, cinema, fashion, so no one adheres to any rules in those areas, but instead the residents follow only their inner impulse and state of mind. Before moving here, nowhere in the world I have seen such a number of motley-dressed people. To be honest, it bothered me at first, but now I understand that we should not put neither ourselves nor others inside any frame. I can not say that I am not surprised by outfits anymore, as sometimes they look over eccentric and outrageous and make my lower jaw drop involuntary in amazement))) But please just do not think anything negative, I do not want you to have the impression that LA is a continuous circus or freak show, no, no and no! There are the same people as everywhere: they wear suits, sports clothes, casual style, there are ladies and dandies on the cusp of fashion trends, but the concentration of extraordinary dressed people is more than anywhere else I have ever been to.

And all that encouraged me to describe my LA discoveries which are small shops where one can find unusual stuff. I am sure there are a lot more, but I will tell about outlets I was lucky to spot.

Over the time I found some special brands, and I would like to share them with you: James Perse is easy, comfortable and convenient, everything of the finest cotton, linen and cashmere. Those shops are not very difficult to find in LA, there are six of them: the very first opened in Melrose. Most of all I love this brand for a combination of casual and beach wear styles. I admire Torry Burch (yes, I got to know about it when I moved to the United States) for bright colours, prints and patterns; Wildfox - well, who does not like super soft sweaters with skulls, stars, lipsticks, unicorns, lips, palms, balloons and so on.?!? JANESSE LEONE - hats!!!; Stone Cold Fox - laces, laces... and all that romantic and with pure feminine flair!!!))

Melrose Avenue

Now let’s go shopping! Silverlake. This area is considered city’s hotbed for hipsters and artsy people. I hope everyone can imagine as they look like?!?!)). Actually, the territory is densely populated with local celebrities: James Franco, Ryan Gossling, and others. And when I talked to managers and shops owners, they all claim that celebs, whose names were not disclosed due to privacy respect, often come down from their houses on the Silver Lake hills. It is, of course, up to you either believe it or not. I choose the first variant, judging by what I see in the photos of local gossip magazines.

And here goes my first gem - Bucks&Does (3906 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA90029). Owners are Lora and Jason O'Dell, married couple who are designers of their own O'Dell fashion line. Their workshop is located right inside the store. The owners are engaged in production of clothes for more than ten years, they decided to open their own shop just 15 months ago. They chose to sell not only their brand. Laura and Jason travel a lot and amass brands from all over the world, such as Cotélac from France, MiH from UK, YERSE from Spain, SPELL from Australia. These names may sound strange to you, but for more information we have the almighty Google and the Internet, right? According to Demien, sales manager and a very pleasant young man, when choosing a brand, the family couple is guided, first and foremost, by quality of cut and fabrics, so pricing may seem a bit above average. Prices here range from $50 for a T-shirt to $644 for a jacket. 

I was not lazy to give examination to clothing, it is true that every stitch and every seam is very neat. It is very important, you see, when after the first washing clothes do not come apart at the seams! What I personally like is prints and pastel colours of all outfits. There are bright colours, but in my opinion soft tones dominate. This store offers something for everyone: from underwear to suede leather jackets of gentle mint colour! M-m-m!!! Both girls and boys can enjoy shopping there!!! Male clothes assortment is not less beautiful and diverse than female. Girls, have you ever happen to like clothes of the opposite sex more than women's?!? I have))) And then, by chance, I show the pick to my sweetheart with a hint of a purchase for him, and with the secret hope of being able to wear it myself! That's it! Fans of exclusive perfumes and exclusive cosmetics will be also pleased. My attention was drawn by perfume In the Library by the New York CB I HATE Perfume - the smell of books.

MRKT (3814 W. Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, CA90026) is one of those stores where I would like to buy all the clothes for myself, but for the reason stated above, I cannot, as it is exclusively men's store. And it is a pity. Once upon a time, there lived two guys - Steven and Kenji - who worked in different department stores as buyers for a certain number of years, and once they decided to create their own boutique. Unique blend of street wear and high fashion for men - that is how they describe the concept of the store. The guys say their goods are mainly represented by cult following brands, i.e. addicts of those brands are monitoring very closely the releases and are looking forward for them.

It is like collecting hard-to-find pairs of Nike sneakers. Within 14 months of the boutique existence guys hosted such brands as Hood by Air from New York, Vivienne Westwood male line, three brands from Japan and the brand of a Korean designer, which they are especially proud of, since in the United States those clothes are represented in their store only. I do not have any names, so for you the only opt is to come and check it personally, but I promise that it will be ultra-cool. I loved the male shirt with bees and cardigan with elongated sides, also here you will be able to indulge in all sorts of pleasant trifles: perfumes, candles, notebooks with skulls, scented sticks for home. Prices for items are in the $50 to $800 range. Oh, and I forgot to write about their hats which are freaky, but very stylish. Everything is in the photos.

Claire V. (3339 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026) there can never be enough purses! That's why I share this place with you. Judging by the designer name Clare Vivier we can assume that she is French or of French origin. I did not manage to obtain any information since when I asked shop assistants they immediately sent me to write e-mail to someone in the studio, claiming that they have more to tell. I was a little surprised, though never mind. The pleasant thing is that I was allowed to take pictures of purses and shop. Nevertheless, I learned about the place from the site and will share with you. 

The designer combines both French classics and practical LA approach. I totally agree with this statement as I was attracted to her purses by their simple shapes. Since 2008 production has been exclusively in LA, the first boutique was opened in 2012 (the one I'm writing about), in October 2013 Claire opened a second store in Manhattan, New York. I love the colour palette she works with, dressing of leather and suede is of high level. And yet, a purse can be personalized by coining on it initials, full name or anything else depending on your imagination. The remarkable thing is that not only this showroom, but almost every place described above is a reliable stop for nice things like trinkets and jewellery (both male and female). Always when I am there, I recall words of my beloved friend about bright accents - I think that is how this gem may be pictured. You are welcome to view vivid photos.

Weltenbuerger Slore L.A. (1764 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027). This is one of those stores that I like the most, but, unfortunately, I was not able to talk to the owner, shop assistants refused to talk and I was not allowed to take photos. And wrong it was. We found this shop by accident about a year ago while studying our area. To my mind Vermont Avenue is one of the most enjoyable shoppers’ favourites in LA. There is a good and inexpensive cinema, French and Italian restaurants, some vintage shops, a couple of good coffee shops, and one of the best places where one can try all sorts of pies - House of Pies (we shall extend on it in one of coming articles). We came inside the store because the window showed a very creative adornment and it beckoned me right there)) To say that there are unusual things inside, is to say nothing. Extravagant styles and cut, madcap materials, the finest silk, unusual shoes and very eclectic adornments – that is how I see the place. It has to be said: not everything you see there is designed for everyday wear, but those pieces are not less attractive though. In one of my first visits to the boutique, there was the owner and he asked from where we came. He explained that he loved to learn and collect creations of interesting designers from across the globe, we, in our turn, told him several Ukrainian names)). Pricing policy in this place is high, but you do not buy stuff for wearing at home. Again, the decision is yours. The most extravagant fashionphiles of both genders, you are welcome!

Next door there is another hidden gem - LEAP (1756 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027). This shop is a holiday for me. The owner is Beverly, nice elderly lady from Australia, who had worked in the fashion industry and 15 years ago opened her own boutique. At first glance it may seem that all the items have been worn by someone (I know that many do not like vintage for this reason), but it is absolutely not the case. Racks filled with new pieces with vintage look. 15 brands represented here include local ones, as well as those from India, Afghanistan, Thailand and so on. Pricing is very acceptable: from $10 to $340 for a dress fully covered by hand with beads, sequins and stones in the style of The Great Gatsby and A Little Party Never killed Nobody. The store also stocks all kinds of clutches, fedora hats, bowlers and cloches, lace tunics, hippie dresses in the style of 20s - 50s, velour jackets, slim line shirts and frock coats, much in the style of bohemian look.

And what adornments are there!!! You can spend hours gazing at them and not choose just one pick, as everything is very beautiful. I love and take care of my embroidered with stones floor-length tunic and beads necklace covering the whole low neckline . According to Rachel, Beverly’s pleasant young assistant who is also from Australia, LEAP is eclectic, unique and fun store. And I 100% agree.

I will not write about the brand stores mentioned at the beginning since they are easy to find. They are better known and there is a lot of information on the Internet and social networks. This post is dedicated to small and not famed friends of fashion industry.

Photo Katya Zhylka

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