You’re never too old for back-to-school shopping in Los Angeles. Head to these new boutiques and lifestyle centers to invest in the classics and stock up on the season’s coolest looks.
By Suzanne Ennis, Where Los Angeles magazine.
Seeking to attract today’s consumers, who increasingly prefer all-in-one lifestyle complexes to 1980s-style enclosed malls, shopping centers are blowing off their roofs, expanding their green spaces and installing hip retailers and eateries. This fall, Westfield Century City is emerging from such a transformation (under the creative direction of L.A. designer Kelly Wearstler), to the tune of $1 billion. Nordstrom’s new three-level L.A. flagship store, as well as a new Macy’s and remodeled Bloomingdale’s, anchor the complex, and when all is said and done, there will be acres of community-oriented space, the West Coast’s first Eataly and new boutiques from fragrance brand Jo Malone London, Canada-based clothing brands Oak + Fort and Aritzia, L.A.-based Sama Eyewear, NYX Professional Makeup, swimwear designer Seafolly, contemporary jewelry designer Kendra Scott, Compartes Chocolatier and dozens more, bringing the total number of retailers—and number of reasons to visit—to more than 200. Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 310.277.3898. westfield.com/centurycity
The revitalization of L.A.’s central business district shows no sign of waning, with neighborhoods previously considered retail deserts sprouting sprawling mixed-use developments. Case in point: Row DTLA, inhabiting 30 acres of buildings adjacent to the Arts District, on the site of a historic produce market. Since last year, it’s hosted Smorgasburg on Sundays, plus pop-ups and festivals. Now, modern design stores Poketo and A+R, ethical fine jeweler Vrai & Oro, contemporary clothing companies dRA and Paris-based 13 Bonaparte, independent bicycle company Tokyobike, earthy clothing and home-goods shop Midland, menswear brand Banks Journal, sneaker brand Bodega and several other cult-favorite businesses, many L.A.-based, are either up and running or are set to open in the coming months. Row DTLA, 777 S. Alameda St., downtown. rowdtla.com
Melrose Place & Avenue
Charming Melrose Place is a frequent haunt of fashion insiders and other tastemakers. Here you’ll find the sole L.A. boutiques of “it” girl brands including Isabel Marant, L’Agence, Rachel Comey and the Row. This summer, famed French fashion house Balmain’s first West Coast boutique joined those ranks (creative director Olivier Rousteing and fan Kim Kardashian West were on hand for the opening party). Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, for which some of the world’s most important perfumers have created scents, bowed in June with a fresco by L.A.-based Konstantin Kakanias adorning its walls.
Around the corner, on Melrose Avenue, direct-to-consumer travel brand Away (tagline: First-class luggage at a coach price) recently opened its first West Coast brick-and-mortar. Its suitcases take smart to the next level, with unbreakable shells, nesting sizes and batteries built into the carry-ons so you’ll never have to scour an airport for an outlet again. Away, 8400 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.424.3561, awaytravel.com / Balmain, 8421 Melrose Place, L.A., 323.230.6364, balmain.com / Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, 8417 Melrose Place, L.A., 323.879.9727. fredericmalle.com
Runyon Group, the developers behind Row DTLA, have assembled a similarly spot-on group of tenants at Platform in Culver City (hatmaker Janessa Leoné and designer Tom Dixon, to name just two). Among the latest retailers to join the party are L.A.-based menswear and womenswear label Shades of Grey, Reformation (whose corporate offices are upstairs) and Brooklyn-based boutique Bird.
A rotating roster of pop-up shops round out the retail offerings, which include regulars Cynthia Rowley, GOAT sneakers, fine-jewelry trendsetter Anna Sheffield and denim brand DSTLD. Along with the nearby Metro Expo Line, the complex has helped to turn the Hayden Tract neighborhood into a creative hub. Platform, 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City. platformla.com
The Malibu Country Mart looks laid-back, but its retail offerings pack a wallop. Last spring, joining the likes of Curve, Chrome Hearts and John Varvatos, the first U.S. boutique from France-based multibrand womenswear boutique Victoire opened, bridging Parisian flair and seaside chic. L.A.-based Paige also bowed, boasting the brand’s premium denim staples and lifestyle collections, plus an outdoor courtyard area inspired by co-founder and creative director Paige Adams-Geller’s Pacific Palisades home. Malibu Country Mart, 3835 Cross Creek Road, Malibu, 310.456.7300. malibucountrymart.com
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
On perpetually packed Abbot Kinney, widely known brands (Iro, Rag & Bone, Pixi Cosmetics) mix with beloved local merchants (Tortoise General Store, Heist, Huset). New kid on the block Smashbox Cosmetics straddles those categories. The world-renowned cosmetics company was born at the legendary Smashbox Studios in Culver City, where it still maintains headquarters. Its new Abbot Kinney flagship is its first in the U.S., offering not only a kaleidoscopic range of makeup, but a 3-D lipstick printer, a custom lip-gloss bar, pro makeup applications and a fun, photo-studio-inspired corner where you can snap and share your look. Smashbox, 1335 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.314.3851. smashbox.com
The La Brea design district might be less widely known than some of L.A.’s other shopping corridors, but it’s home to some of the city’s most influential fashion, design and streetwear stores (American Rag Cie, A+R, Undefeated, Union). In recent months, it’s seen several new arrivals, including Canadian outdoor-gear and clothing brand Arc’teryx—its first outpost in L.A.—next to performance-wear brand Aether.
This summer, new French-girl-inspired, millennial-focused womenswear brand Avec Les Filles, from Joyce Azria (daughter of BCBG founder Max Azria), launched its first pop-up here, in the company’s new headquarters (Macy’s also carries the brand). You can expect well-priced, feminine, versatile separates, dresses and footwear, all offered in a sweet space drenched in—what else?—millennial pink. Arc’teryx, 159 S. La Brea Ave., L.A., 323.933.3270, arcteryx.com / Avec Les Filles, 217 S. La Brea Ave., L.A., 213.358.2752. aveclesfilles.com
If you’re seeking luxury nonpareil, make a beeline to Beverly Hills. All of the big boys—Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Céline—have boutiques here, as do major department stores, including a gorgeous, recently refreshed Neiman Marcus.
Among this fall’s most prominent openings is a flagship from the house of Goyard: a sun-drenched, 1,400-square-foot boutique dripping with 1940s Hollywood-meets-Paris glamour. Travel pieces, handbags, pet accessories and more items covered with Goyard’s signature Y pattern (the choice of luminaries from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Karl Lagerfeld) mingle with pieces from the brand’s archive. To commemorate your Rodeo Drive visit, opt for the limited-edition Monte Carlo clutch in PM size and gold Goyardine canvas, specially offered in celebration of the boutique’s opening. Goyard, 405 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.237.5745. goyard.com
Century City / Featured photo courtesy of Warby Parker. Downtown photo courtesy of Row DTLA. Melrose Place & Avenue photo courtesy of Balmain. Culver City photo by Katie Gibbs. Malibu photo courtesy of Malibu Country Mart. Abbot Kinney Boulevard photo courtesy of Smashbox. La Brea photo courtesy of Avec Les Filles. Beverly Hills photo courtesy of Goyard.