Beyond Rodeo: Where the locals shop in LA
Lined with iconic palm trees, Rodeo Drive may be Los Angeles’ best-known high street, but on any given day it’s home to swarms of starstruck tourists, navigating the swanky boutiques as if at a zoo (with nary a local in sight). While we’re not suggesting avoiding it altogether, if you do plan to visit, make like a pretty woman and get an Avakian Bellini at the Beverly Wilshire. Your patience will thank you. To properly shop like a local, however, you’ll have to step off the well-worn path to visit denizen-owned independent stores. But rather than trekking around the city, may we suggest the next best shopping street LA has to offer: La Brea Avenue.
A long-time centre for shopping, this street is home to various furniture stores frequented by the city’s production designers and scavengers. It’s also a hub for hip shops that perfectly encapsulate easy California living with casual wares, durable goods and modern design. Here are a few of our favourites...
Taking their name from the temporary tents erected by soldiers, there is no shortage of canvas, reimagined into couches, cubes, beanbags and chairs in this soaring 4,200 square foot space. Adding to the ode to Americana are the various classic wool blankets, art by local artists and books like Ron Church’s California to Hawaii, a collection of previously unpublished vintage surfing photos.
Founded by a British ex-pat and his “design-junkie” partner, the second outpost of this avant-garde store (the original is in Venice, CA), brings together a large compilation of modern curiosities and gadgets.
Among other things, bright hand-bent wire furniture, watches that balance form and function, and playful pottery make this store a colourful must-see.
Garrett Leight California Optical
A second-generation purveyor of finely crafted eyewear (he’s the son of the Oliver Peoples founders), Garrett Leight’s eponymous flagship store is authentically stylish, which is no surprise given his SoCal upbringing. Optical and sunglass frames line the wall in shapes and names inspired by cool kid artists and influencers – so undoubtedly just popping on a pair instantly makes you feel freshly West Coast.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Since opening its flagship store in SoHo, New York in the early nineties, What Goes Around Comes Around has become known for leading the way in luxury vintage clothing, which the founders Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione collected on their travels around the globe. The store on La Brea Avenue opened in 2008 and now offers vintage items from brands like Chanel, Hermés and Louis Vuitton.
Maison Midi is another store stocked with items sourced by its jet-setting founder – the Mediterranean, in this case. This home décor store brings together furnishings and decorative homeware from Portugal, France and Spain (to name just a few), injecting a little part of the Med into people’s homes. Take the time to stop by the adjoining Café Midi to recharge.