Travel

California Shops

Establishment neighborhood
The GREAT
8575 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
Designers Emily Current and Merritt Elliott are known for their denim line Current/Elliott. In 2015, they launched the GREAT., a vintage-inspired line of denim, embroidered sweatshirts, and super soft tees. The 1,800-square-foot space sits on a well-trafficked stretch of Melrose Avenue, and features plenty of thoughtful details: Fixtures are inspired by antique brass buttons and rivets on denim, Venetian Murano glass chandeliers hang overhead, and there’s a wall lined with hand-painted green Moroccan tile—a nod to the brand’s signature army jackets. Another visual coup is the wallcovering, done in collaboration with Portola paint, and meant to resemble timeworn denim. There’s the core line, for which they’re best known, but there are also lots of one-offs: a hand-selected assortment of vintage clothes and jewelry, plus little things that make great gifts, like perfume from Coqui Coqui, embroidered bandanas, and beautifully wrapped sage bundles.
Aldea Home & Baby
3825 Main St., Culver City
It’s perfectly logical that after nurturing a thriving community of parents and kids in San Francisco’s Mission District, kid’s store Aldea founder Johanna Bialkin would set her sights on an equally family-oriented LA neighborhood: Culver City. That’s because community is just as big a part of the Aldea ethos as sustainability (most toys, clothes, and furniture reside on the eco-friendly spectrum), creativity (there are things here we’ve never seen anywhere else), and aesthetics (Oeuf, Monte, and Aelfie are just a few of the design-y brands on offer). There are weekly wine nights (for parents), story time (for kids), mommy-and-me yoga classes, live music, and more (for parents and kids). Walk through shelves upon shelves of giftables and Iittle nooks you’ll want to lift directly from the store and plop in your home as is—and the good news is that you totally can, by setting up an Aldea registry.
Garde in Summerland
2280 Lillie Ave., Summerland
While it wouldn’t look out of place in Copenhagen, the understated craft feel that permeates this Shaker-style 1920s barn is pure California. Owner Scotti Sitz excels not only at curating the exact pieces we want for our homes but at transforming a shopping excursion into an immersive experience. Garde is speckled with local ceramics and minimalist furniture by German and Belgian designers, like Hanns-Peter Krafft, alongside exquisite rugs by Faye Toogood. But the best part is you can actually sleep here. Sitz has transformed the upstairs space into an apartment where the décor changes seasonally and everything, down to the fixtures, is for sale. Spend the night soaking up the ocean views—the store is perched on the edge of a cliff—and sleep on whether you should buy the Douglas fir table downstairs.
The Shops at 1345
1345 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
We would trek from LA to Palm Springs for a visit to 1345 alone. Aside from everything you can buy there, the building—a modernist structure designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1955—is worth a visit all on its own. Step inside and you’ll find a treasure trove of rare mid-century-inspired home items. Our favorites include wares from Double M pottery: The pastel-patterned, lead-free glazes are all handmade in California, and the mugs, plates, and bowls are all dishwasher-safe.
Wonder Valley Oil Shop at the Station
61943 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree
Alison and Jay Carroll packed their bags in 2015 and headed south from LA down to Joshua Tree where they put down roots in Wonder Valley. Yes, Wonder Valley is a real place, and it’s every bit as magical as it sounds. Housed in an old 1940s gas station, the newly minted Wonder Valley Oil Shop sells Carroll’s own artisanal namesake olive oil, harvested in Northern California, plus a unisex face oil—the brand’s foray into the beauty space. Look for made-in-LA supersoft graphic tees, a few carefully chosen pieces from Carl Auböck (a cheese board and knife, a bottle opener, and a corkscrew), plus ceramic vases fired right here in the high desert.
St. Frank Palisades
15259 Palisades Village Lane, Pacific Palisades
An ethical home brand that seeks to empower artisans economically while preserving their traditional craft, St. Frank works with artisan organizations from Free Trade to sustainably source colorful, beautifully crafted home goods from around the globe. Walk into the brand’s Palisades location (it's in the new country mart, which is a great place to spend an afternoon) and be greeted by walls covered in Kuba and Kilim cloths with an assortment of handmade goods like the West African indigo print longboard, in which the color exemplifies the connection between heaven and earth.
Spell & the Gypsy Collective (Closed)
1108 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
If there was anywhere for this Byron Bay, Australia-based label to land for its first US outpost, it’s Venice Beach. From now through November 25, 2018, sisters Elizabeth Abegg and Isabella Pennefather of Spell & the Gypsy Collective bring their breezy bohemian dresses, kaftans, and swimsuits to the West Coast. The line itself is a one-stop shop for your next holiday: the space oozes with floral kimonos, light-as-air maxi dresses, and 1970s-style swimsuits. In other words, they’re the kind of clothes that make you want to pack your bags—now. One of the most unique things about Spell is their unfailing commitment to the environment—they design with organic cotton and use ECONYL®, an Italian fabric made from seventy-eight percent recycled nylon for their swim collection and Little Gypsies swim). There’s an entire section of the site called “People + Planet” dedicated to celebrating the work of their network of artisans and their ongoing commitment to supply chain transparency, too.
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