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1 City 5 Ways

Andaz West Hollywood

Andaz West Hollywood.

LA typically conjures up images of sun and sand—not fashion runways and minimalist design. But that may well be changing. Clusters of cool shops, along streets such as Abbot Kinney in Venice, Melrose Place in West Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, are a testament to the city’s emergence and growth as a design hub, whether it’s jewelry or fashion or modern homewares. And while designers such as jeweler Irene Neuwirth and Clare Vivier, a cult favorite for her carryalls, are proud locals, other brands, including New York-based menswear line Bonobos and French designer Isabel Marant, are seeking outposts across the sprawling metropolis to attract the design cognoscenti. Sunshine, surf and innovative design? No wonder Angelenos want to keep the city a secret to themselves.


Casa del Mar photo by Lisa Romerein.        

Where to Stay: Casa del Mar
Right along the sand, this 129-room hotel is polished without feeling stuffy. Watch the waves from your sprawling suite, then nibble on steamed mussels and bucatini pomodoro at the new lobby lounge.

Breakfast: Intelligentsia
They take their coffee and pastries seriously at this bright and airy Venice coffee bar, where hip baristas craft single-origin brews one cuppa at a time. Grab a bag of Black Cat beans on your way out.

Morning: Tortoise General Store
At this darling shop, peruse minimalist Japanese homewares and design goods such as enamel kettles, baby kimonos and scissors made by sword artisans. The store is owned by Taku Shinomoto, a designer known for his Hasami porcelain line, and his wife, Keiko.

Midafternoon: Steven Alan
Alongside Alan’s cult-favorite button-downs, dresses and more, find items from many other LA-based designers, including clothing by Band of Outsiders, jewelry by Grace Lee and aprons by Hedley & Bennett.

Dinner: Gjelina
Finish with a meal—think oysters, grilled kabocha squash with mint pesto and pomegranates and chorizo pizza—at this casual yet very cool spot.



Breakfast: The Sycamore Kitchen
Ricotta and buckwheat blintzes, brioche French toast, croques madame—all flawlessly executed by husband-and-wife culinary duo Quinn and Karen Hatfield. Breakfast is served!

Morning: A+R
Owners Andy Griffith and Rose Apodaca fill their pint-sized store with everything from Danish geometric metal trays to tea towels to children's wooden bubble wands from Japan.

Midmorning: General Quarters
A menswear store—think Gant, Pendleton, Tanner Goods—with a barbershop in the back. Why didn’t we think of that?

Afternoon: Undefeated
This is sneaker heaven with a dose of street culture.

Midafternoon: Bonobos
This e-commerce menswear brand landed along La Brea just a few months ago. Though you can’t leave the shop with chambray shirts and windowpane suits in tow (your merchandise is ordered and conveniently shipped to you in due time), you can sip complimentary beer while you snap selfies in the dressing room.


Splendid photo by Amanda Marsalis.        

Where to Stay: Palihouse Santa Monica
A few blocks from the beach, this boutique hotel quietly opened in 2013, refashioning a Spanish colonial revival building into 37 suites that feature whimsical wallpapers and original art deco accents.

Breakfast: Caffe Luxxe
Fuel up with the Nico (espresso, candied orange and steamed half-and-half) and alfajores at this pint-sized Montana Ave. coffee shop. 

Morning: Splendid
It all began 13 years ago with a Supima cotton and modal T-shirt. Since then, this LA-based brand has added dresses, swimwear, intimates and an irresistible children’s line, Splendid Littles. Shop the full collection at the cheery Santa Monica outpost. 

Afternoon: Clare V.
Step into handbag designer Clare Vivier’s namesake boutique and you’ll covet it all—from clutches to Chateau Marmont candles. Architect Barbara Bestor and NYC-based artist Simone Shubuck created the whitewashed space and mural.

Midafternoon: Sleepy Jones
The concept behind this high-end sleepwear line? Work, play and sleep in high-quality pajamas, undies and robes, and you may turn out to be as prolific and creative as Picasso, who famously worked in his jammies, too. 


A selection of shoes at Mohawk General Store.        

Breakfast: Forage
Start the day with brunch at this market-driven café and bakery. Whether you opt for the pork belly sandwich with cabbage and jalapeno or start the day with one of the legendary desserts, you can’t go wrong.

Morning: Mohawk General Store
Kevin and Bo Carney opened this designer emporium in 2008, showcasing well-curated accessories and labels such as Dries Van Noten, Rachel Comey and Levi’s Vintage amid mid-century modern furnishings.

Afternoon: Mollusk Surf Shop
Whether searching for a long board for hitting the waves or just soaking up the California surf culture, this months-old laid-back, artsy shop is worth a stop.

Midafternoon: En Soie
This gorgeous Swiss textiles and home goods brand, dating back to 1894, opened stateside two years ago. Patrons will have a hard time choosing among the handprinted dresses, silk scarves and ceramics, all in bold, cheery hues.

Dinner: Night + Market Song
Jungle curry soup with eggplant and holy basil or pork shoulder marinated in condensed milk and turmeric. This is Northern Thai street food without the curb.


Isabel Marant photo by Vanessa Stump.        

Where to Stay: Andaz West Hollywood
The rooftop pool and deck alone are worth a stay at this sleek property a mile from Melrose Place. Not to mention the free mini-bar!

Morning: Irene Neuwirth
Eye tanzanite-studded cocktail rings and green tourmaline necklaces at jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth’s first standalone retail outpost. The 1,100-square-foot space, adorned with gold-and-cream-colored vitrine display cases and animal-motif artwork, is as stunning as the baubles within.

Midmorning: A.P.C.
Shop everything from raw denim to quilts made of surplus fabrics from the A.P.C. archives at the French label’s sprawling, minimalist new digs.

Afternoon: Isabel Marant
Designer Marant’s formula for effortless chic? Military-style jackets, oversized knits, skinny jeans and suede wedge high-tops.

Midafternoon: Santa Maria Novella
At this Florence-based pharmacy, founded in 1221, pick up iris milk soaps, sandalwood aftershave or a citrus and bergamot fragrance originally created for Catherine de Medici.

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