118 S. La Brea Ave. LA
TheYony retail space is minimalist.
White walls and floor allow the articles of clothing on the rack, and maybe a painting or two, to stand out.
It’s a risky play since it is so easy to come of as the final day of a closeout sale and if all you have to focus on is the clothes, they better be good.
The clothes are a riff on classic country club athleisure and a touch of 1950 Americana.
The first time I visited I convinced them to sell me one of the stickball sticks they had in the corner. I was amused that next to a stack of white sweatshirts with crossed tennis racket logos, were the tools of back alley athletics.
And that is what they do there. Country Club attire with back alley sensibility.
126 S. La Brea Ave, LA
I would describe what Dr. Collectors do as a French person’s version of romanticized American Western wear via Japanese design.
I am not qualified to unpack all of that. Those concepts are both problematic and fascinating. Like a well executed television show that is consistently cringy yet you still kinda love it. Like The Office. You just can’t pause to think about it.
No matter my opinions I can solidly say they produce unique items with attention to detail. A lot of it, I must admit, looks super cool, and to be fair, I have had zero contact with the owners or designers and don’t have a true sense of what they are all about. And to continue in fairness, I am no expert on Native American design and the boundaries of certain designs, or items, with their associated meanings, and I know even less about Japan.
But I do know a thing or two about colonialism, appropriation, and how clothing communicates meaning, including, but not limited to, identity.
All of which adds up to me having a lot of questions, no recommendations, and a general hesitance from actual opinion.
Dries Van Noten
451 N. La Cienega Blvd. LA
Dries Van Noten’s LA location is the global brand’s largest and every inch of it is interesting.
The building itself was once Charlie Chaplin’s dance studio but the current contents are neither colorless nor silent.
Past collections are on display creating a museum like quality which flows into art gallery on through to retailer.
When I came to only gawk, not buy, the people there were not just gracious but truly helpful. Like docents with style.
8500 Sunset Blvd. LA
Fred Segal opened in 1961 and claims to have pioneered the shops inside-of-shops that are now the norm for modern department stores.
Some give Segal credit for creating the brand of “cool” that the world imagens when they hear the word “California”.
I don’t know if that is true, or care if it is, but I do know that Cher in Clueless shopped there.
They carry all the brands and items that are on trend, or are the trend, or whatever. It felt a little to me like visiting the inside of a phone as it scrolls through Tik Tok, Snapchat, or whatever app the glossy kids use these days.
Bode Los Angeles
7007 Melrose Ave, LA
Bode is the brand, or designer, that made turning vintage quilts into current clothing, a thing.
They are based in New York, but the newly opened second location in LA stands up on its own just fine.
Sewing old fabric into new shapes alone isn’t that remarkable but the creative attention to detail is.
A visit to Bode is as interesting as a museum or gallery, but you can touch and try things on.
It is tactile and aesthetic.
Snake Oil Provisions
5711 N Figueroa St. LA
The first thing I saw when I walked through the door was a pair of pink jeans. They stood out in an otherwise indigo and brown space while somehow retaining their masculinity.
The space is masculine in a way I appreciated, meaning, this is a shop that caters to the masculine and there was a woman working there who did not appear to be attempting to sell her sexuality.
The walls are covered by Indian Giver prints, the racks are filled with leather and denim, and the woman is there as an expert
not as an object.
I love that.
8700 W. Sunset Blvd. LA
H Lorenzo feels feels huge inside, maybe because of the lack of ceiling panels, but probably more due to the amount of easily accessible racks ow wearable art.
It is hard to tell if the clothing is for sale or on display. Like an art gallery. Browsing the racks feels like being in the vault of the Broad. I love the Broad.
There is a slight hint of macabre, the sort that leans toward Bram Stoker or Trent Reznor not Tim Burton.
Mohawk General Store
4017 W. Sunset Blvd. LA
Mohawk General Store is two shops, one for women and another for men. If you want furniture and home decor, there is yet another shop for that. They are all curated, nothing big box there.
They are designer and they are not cheap, but if you want to wear something cool with no fear of bumping into someone wearing the exact thing, Mohawk is great for that.
Unless your friends are famous. But even then, they will have on the same brand, but not the same thing so its cool.
5509 N. Figueroa St. LA
You might see the hat and the denim and think this is cowboy stuff, but it is not, nor is it trying to be. It is however, rugged and western.
There is leather, denim, flannel, even some gingham. There are boots and hats, but it is still not cowboy. Think Joshua tree and motorcycles not herding cows and the clothes make sense.
Motorcycle not biker gang. LA, not New York.
Locations across the nation but in LA:
10250 Santa Monica BLVD, Los Angeles
Okay, so Buck Mason isn’t boutique, couture or, locally owned, but it is still something. A lot of its something is what it is not.
It is not big box. It is not inexpensive. It is also not flashy, bright, extravagant, over the top, or childish. It is simple, clean, relaxed without being unkempt. I like it. I would 100% wear almost everything in there. I say “almost” only because there is a lot of size smedium in there and I am definitely not that.