In our second feature of “THE BLOCK”, I visited Venice and my favorite shopping street Abbot Kinney Blvd. This street is amazing because of its laid back vibe and eclectic group of high design apparel stores mixed with furniture and antiques, accessories and vintage finds. In recent years, the street has also managed to incorporate some bigger brand outposts into the spirit with Jack Spade, Alexis Bittar, Alternative Apparel and the crowd pleasing Steven Alan joining the mix. Venice is a very art-friendly, bohemian neighborhood which still holds onto the spirit with which it was founded on back in the late 60′s. To me, it’s the best place to live in Los Angeles because of its free-spirited nature combined with a new sense of bourgeois. It was hard to pick a particular block to focus on, but the block I hit definitely shows the West-Side aesthetic and is a solid representation of the different types of stores available on this street.
Holly Boies’ boutique represents the high design part of the spectrum of this chic shopping destination. Having been open for 8 years, she is the go to destination for clean, modern design with a sense of ease and wearability. The shop itself is very minimal which allows the focus to be on her prime selection of apparel and accessories. Some collections to note are LA designer Ryan Roberts, NYC’s Tess Giberson, Belgium designer Stephen Schneider, TR-900 and by Malene Birger. With a global perspective on design, she carries product from all over the world including Paris, Italy, London and Japan. Holly’s taste level doesn’t stop at apparel either. She’s collaborated with jewelry designer Julie Erwin who commissions all of the jewelry in the store including pieces from artists April Higashi, Heather Guidero and Tzuri Gveta.
TORTOISE GENERAL STORE
Tortoise General Store is the friendlier priced sister store to higher-end Tortoise down the block. Both stores feature a wide selection of modern Japanese housewares, gifts and furniture. Everything in the store is from Japan, made by different artisans and manufacturers. What’s amazing about this store besides the Japanese taste level, is that the prices are right. You can find something for as little as $3 and go home happy or you can spend $200 on a limited edition set of pottery made by a Japanese artist and be even happier. Outside of shopping, their recently opened Studio in the back offers wood carving and handweaving classes and also puts together many events to foster money to help out the Japan relief. The owners are passionate about what they do and you can feel it the moment you walk into the store. This is the kind of store you want to visit over and over because you are always going to find something new and you are always going to feel good about supporting their business.
UNDREST. BY THE SEA.
This casual beach-centric store is a classic Abbot Kinney establishment. Many stores on the block have taken old houses and re-designed them for a retail environment and this store has done a great job at marketing their wears for the West Coast clientele. Carrying mostly their own label- Undrest which is a lingerie and swim line, they also carry other designers and accessory lines that fit with their feminine and casual aesthetic. Ditsy florals, crochet, lace and chambray run rampant while accessories are layered with ocean details and gemstones. If you are looking for a great swimsuit or fashionable separates for the beach, this is the store to hit. The line can also be found at both Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.
This amazing store is filled with unique vintage finds and modern pieces that only those with a love of uniqueness will understand. For me, this store is a gold mine. The owners, Elayne and John, are amazing people filled with passion and a keen eye on design. Their art collection is spectacular, the found objects are conversational and their jewelry collection blew my mind. This is the type of store that you might spend a good hour in looking around at each and every piece because everytime you eye moves it sees something even more outstanding. It was hard to find favorites here, so I decided to focus on their jewelry to demonstrate their taste level. Visit the store to check out work by LA artist Clare Graham who uses recycled materials such as soda pop pull tops, old paint by number paintings, and sock monkeys to formulate his work. Amazing! Look for some of Elayne and John’s collection on 1stdibs.com.
Nightcap’s recently opened flagship store was a pleasant surprise on my shopping journey. I am familiar with the line, but wasn’t aware that they took over the Madley space on Abbot Kinney. Nightcap is a collection by LA’s Carisa Brambles which infuses seductive boudoir with the edge of streetwear. Both comfortable and sexy, the line is known for its high quality fabrications and bohemian silhouettes. Lace, silk and fabulous jersey imported from Paris make up her collection of sexy separates that include cotton jumpsuits, gauzy knitwear, and lace dresses. The store itself feels somewhat like a barn with aged wood, navajo accents and a bohemian bourgeois spirit. What really pulled me in was her obvious love of horses which is shown in her photography that hangs all over the store. I loved the vibe of this store and the shop manager, Laura was the perfect representative of the brand and rounded out the total experience. For those that do not live in Los Angeles, Nightcap can be found at Shopbop, Planet Blue and Scoop to name a few.
This recently opened flagship channels the beach culture and surf vibe from the 1970′s in Venice. The store is kitschy and full of color with an environment that includes a backyard with ping pong, a mini tiki bar, pin ball and a wall projection of old 70′s surf videos. The environment definitely portrays the mood that this casual lifestyle brand is trying to elude and really gets you in a Venice state of mind. The line was started by Paige Mycoskie (sister to Tom’s shoes Blake) who has a passion for vintage graphic tees. Paige’s obsession with authentic vintage t-shirts, specifically “vintage sports t-shirts” has inspired Aviator Nation. In here you will find the softest tees, tanks and sweatshirts for children, men and women. They are all super colorful and use fun vintage graphics to represent the California lifestyle. Make sure you stop in for the fun on your next visit, or look for their product in stores such as American Rag, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.