New Additions: Los Angeles Stowaways

16/04/2013 § Leave a comment

Officially back on the east coast after my trip to Los Angeles!  If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have already seen my bajillion and three beach and car and Mexican food pictures, so I will spare you.  But you’d like to see my recap of Northern Grade, the American-made men’s pop-up shop, you can find it on the BKLYN Dry Goods blog here.  I’ve also still got plenty of other stuff to share from my trip, so please be on the lookout for future posts.Los Angeles Stow Aways

Of course, no trip home is complete without a few stowaways.  In fact, because it is one of my personal rules to never ever EVER check a bag, it’s become something of a ritual to leave behind an item or two that won’t fit in my carry-on, with instructions to ship it to me (sorry, Mom).  This time around was no exception.

Shown above, from top left:
Vintage Guam t-shirt* from BKLYN Dry Goods
T-shirt* from Deus Ex Machina
T-shirt* from General Quarters (call to order)
Personalized postcards from Black Sheep Postal Service
Veg tan belt from Cause and Effect (that I helped make at Northern Grade!)
Juniper Ridge incense from General Store

*I’m designating summer 2013 “The Summer of the T-shirt,” evidently

Shown below, my magnificent vintage Ralph Lauren blanket coat from BKLYN Dry Goods.  If you want one of your own, they’ve still got a beautiful aztec-y pink and greenish one — but act fast and contact them directly, as it isn’t on the site just yet.

Los Angeles Stow Aways

I do hope all is well with you.  Yesterday’s devastating events at the Boston Marathon left me more than a little shell-shocked and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.  For more information on how you can help, please visit the American Red Cross.
Be safe. xo.

Afield: Northern Grade Los Angeles

04/04/2013 § Leave a comment

Northern Grade

Hello from 10,000 feet somewhere above Pennsylvania!  Skyblogging!  As I mentioned earlier, I’m heading out to visit my hometown of Los Angeles this weekend for a pretty awesome two-fer.  My twin nieces just turned ten (oof! double digits!) and Northern Grade, the travelling men’s pop-up, is in town.  I’m actually willing to consider this a three-fer, if the weather manages to stay in the 70s, as expected.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces and meeting a few new ones.  I’ll probably be rambling around in my sweet rental car everywhere from Simi Valley to Manhattan Beach, so do let me know if there’s anything you think I shouldn’t miss.  Over the weekend I’ll be on hand with BKLYN Dry Goods at Northern Grade, which you should definitely check out.  It’s a pretty rare opportunity in Los Angeles to find such an excellent assortment of quality, American-made menswear, accessories and collectibles all in one place and the folks at Pierrepont Hicks always put together an awesome event.  If you see me, please say hello!

Summer in Southern California

21/08/2012 § 1 Comment

For a perfect summer in Southern California, you’ll need golden light, a ton of palm trees, broad white beaches, a polka dot bikini, a beach shanty, some zinc oxide and a group of your closest surfing friends.  Add a dash of PCH, a little Malibu rum, some ice and blend it all on high.  Serve in a tiki mug from Trader Vic’s.

For the second half of August, I’ve decided to turn my sights back to the coast I know best — the west.  While I may currently live on the east coast, and have quite an admiration for all things Northeast, summer will always mean very specific things to this California girl.  These photos taken along the So Cal coastline, from Malibu to San Onofre State Beach in Oceanside, were just the ticket.

See also:
Summer on the Cape
Summer on Long Island

Related:
Gidget in Malibu

Taken by Allan Grant in 1961 for Life Magazine, via the Life Archives.

Field Notes || Herb Ritts: L.A. Style at the Getty Center

30/04/2012 § 1 Comment

New York is a vertical city, and its skyscrapers are climbing ever higher (case in point, just today my next-door neighbor One World Trade claimed the title of tallest building in New York).  All that height, especially in the canyons of the Financial District or parts of Midtown, can feel a bit oppressive at times to someone like me, who grew up in one of the most horizontal cities in the world.  For comparison’s sake I could give you some facts and figures about square mileage and population — essentially: LA is larger, while NYC is more populous — but nowhere is this “horizontal-ness” illustrated better than from the observation pavilions of the Getty Center.

Known for its impressive views from the Pacific to Downtown, the Getty Center is one of the best places to take in the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles (if it happens to be a clear day).  Designed by Richard Meier, the Center also houses a large portion of the Getty art collection and has been the setting for a marriage proposal or two…thousand.

Familiar vistas aside, I also made the trip to the Center to catch the Herb Ritts retrospective, L.A. Style.  Best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities and fashion editorials, equally impressive are Ritts’ nudes and his exploration of the concept of gender.  A compact exhibition, complete with large-scale prints, vintage magazines and a screening of his music videos (e.g., Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do (Without You), Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game), L.A. Style is an excellent collection of some Ritts’ most iconic images, taken in the 1980s and 90s.

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style at the Getty Center
April 3 – August 26, 2012

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Open Tuesday – Sunday

The Grand Tour || The House Where Satchmo Played

29/04/2012 § 3 Comments

Most homes of a certain age in Los Angeles usually come with old Hollywood stories of former residents.  This Spanish beauty in Westwood, owned by good friends of mine, is no different.  Home to Spencer Tracy and his wife for a time, and host to an intimate concert by Louis Armstrong, this estate has a charmingly eccentric layout, complete with original tile work, exposed beams, hardwood floors, interesting built-ins and one of the only SoCal basements I am personally aware of.

A relatively recent purchase, the owners are still hard at work with renovations but I twisted some arms and was allowed to take a few photos of their progress thus far.  I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Field Notes || A Long Los Angeles Weekend

29/04/2012 § 3 Comments

As I mentioned last week, I scooted off to Los Angeles to surprise my family and enjoy a long weekend in my hometown.  Armed with an exceptionally affordable rental car that I had to fill with exceptionally expensive gas, I bopped around from Manhattan Beach to Porter Ranch, and from Santa Monica to Downtown.  And while I will admit that while I am on the East Coast I frequently have moments when I miss driving, a few minutes of sitting on the 405 definitely cured me of that for awhile…but it didn’t keep me from visiting some great places.

Breakfast at the counter at John O’Groats, a westside institution.
Don’t miss their biscuits.

Drinks at the Beverly Wilshire.

Manhattan Beach.

Where the car is king, you can’t help having so many good sightings…

A very foggy Sepulveda Pass.

An evening in Beachwood Canyon with Lizzie: dinner at Franklin & Company,
browsing at Counterpoint Records, peeking in the doors of the Villa Carlotta.

Cole’s, originators of the French Dip sandwich.

Bourbon drinks at Cole’s with Nick.

Breakfast at the Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

A very stylish makeover, courtesy of my nieces.

An excellent travel companion: Bag by The San Fernando Mercantile Company

Great Loves: Nellie and Coach Wooden

14/02/2012 § 3 Comments

After she passed away in 1985, Coach Wooden wrote his wife Nellie — his first, last and true love — a love letter every month.

Interviewer: How do you make love last in a marriage?
Coach: There’s only one way.  Truly truly truly love.  Most powerful thing there is.  It’s true, it’s true.  It must be true.

For more of my Great Loves posts, head here.

Field Notes: The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. at the Rose Bowl Flea

27/10/2011 § 2 Comments

Now, when I say that I am originally from Los Angeles, it’s kind of like the geographic equivalent of rounding up to 10 from 7.  How so?  It’s because I actually spent the majority of my formative years in little place slightly to the north and west of Los Angeles proper, known to some of you simply as “The Valley.”  Yes, the location of the party where Tai took a shoe to the head and went on to roll with the homies.  Yes, the place that you have to thank for the “like” that permeates the vernacular.  Yes, the San Fernando Valley.  Like, oh my God.

Granted, The Valley is kind of like the red-headed stepchild of the Southern California family.  It’s not regarded as especially cool or interesting, but rather, frankly, as being kind of lame.  My mother, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, can’t even remember going there once as a child because, as she put it, “Why would you?”  Perhaps I wear my pride somewhat internally, but when it gets down to it, I have so much love for my Valley and the years I spent there.  I totally embrace my inner Valley Girl.

So you can imagine how happy I was a few months ago to discover The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co., purveyors of fine vintage American-made workwear from 1930-1970 and handmade, utility-inspired dry goods/accessories.  And when I realized they had their own take on the classic tool bag, very much like those I had been admiring by a few other designers, but automatically and infinitely so much better because of its Valley origins, I might have geeked out a bit.  So of course, I shot off a note to learn more about their bags and the operation at large.

In short order, I received a lovely reply from Warren Schummer, the man behind San Fernando Mercantile Co., as well as Vintage Workwear, a blog focusing on vintage workwear from the 1940s through the 1970s.  It turned out Warren’s Valley roots were a bit more established than mine, as his go back three generations, and helped shape his addiction to workwear:

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, particularly Sylmar in my youth, then left and spent a few years spent in Huntington Beach. Came back to Studio City for my teens and 20s, Sherman Oaks for the 30s and then to Tarzana in the west valley for the past 10 odd years, give or take.  My pops owned an auto body repair shop on Ventura Blvd in Studio City where he specialized in German cars including Porsche and Mercedes Benz cars in particular. That environment in addition to my Grandfather working at the now defunct Chevrolet plant in Van Nuys helped shape my love of work clothing.

Warren began collecting — actually, he called it “hoarding” — workwear and soon came to realize that the best way to support his collecting habit was by parting with some of his pieces.  This led to a stall at the Rose Bowl Flea Market (#3282), where he has been in residence for more than 18 months now, on the second Sunday of every month.  Warren also owns All Valley Handyman Service, which provides him with the opportunity to wear his vintage on the job.

Wanting to apply the inspiration he found in vintage to the creation of new merchandise, Warren began with a small run of work caps made from vintage fabrics, selvedge denim and brown duck, which did well.  With the success of the caps, bags were the obvious next step and a tote and tool bag-inspired bag soon followed.  Warren is intensely involved in the design and construction process, seemingly coming just short of sewing everything himself — which I think he probably would try to do, if he could.  All of San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.’s merchandise is made in the USA, with most of it made in Southern California.

After hearing and loving all of this, I knew that I desperately wanted one of Warren’s bags and that I would definitely be stopping by stall #3282 on my upcoming (at the time) visit to the Rose Bowl Flea.  A few short weeks flew by and I found myself in the sweltering Pasadena sun at the Flea.  I dragged along Nick — of the rather awesome Tumblr No Secrets Between Sailors (and also Instagram: nosecretsbetweensailors) — and made him show me the ropes.

The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. was our first stop.  Nick and I had a good long visit with Warren and his lovely lady Michele, while taking shelter in the shade of the tent and slowly perusing an amazing selection of workwear merchandise.  We also discussed the specifics for one of his glorious 16″ bags that will be making its way to me in New York in the near future.  Of course you’ll receive the full rundown when it arrives.  Such a great afternoon.

Warren and Michele.

Nick.

The vintage inspiration…

…for their bags.

Vintage Cat’s Paw keychains.

If you are at the Rose Bowl Flea, be sure not to miss the The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.  If you can’t make it out to Pasadena, check the shop out online, as well as the store blog, and the Vintage Workwear blog.

Quite Continental Loves: Adore Vintage

29/08/2011 § 3 Comments

If you were not already aware of Rodellee Bas, the talented lady behind the LA vintage clothing boutique Adore Vintage, you should be, because she’s awesome.  Not only does she have a lust-inducing shop and lovely apartment (that I must figure out someway to steal), but her blog has fast become one of my favorite daily reads.  I love how I am always treated to vintage-inspired interiors, photography, and editorials, like this one styled by Rodellee herself for photographer Louiza Vick, featuring model Sterling Clairmont.  This editorial — called, “I’ll Be Yours” — is flawlessly executed, down to the smallest detail.  The image above simply blows my mind.  And the best part?  You can buy some of the pieces featured.

Do check out Rodellee and Adore Vintage.

All images via Adore Vintage

Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, 1972 (and so should you)

02/05/2011 § 1 Comment

“…Los Angeles, which makes nonsense of history and breaks all the rules…”

As an Angeleno living in New York, I frequently find myself advocating in defense of my fair home city.  Now, I will be the first to admit that Los Angeles is a fickle mistress.  She is incredibly large and incredibly small at the same time, and she isn’t the type of city that welcomes you with open arms.  But with a bit of effort, the right car and a knowledgeable guide, Los Angeles will slowly reveal her incredible beauty to you.

Reyner Banham, noted architectural critic and owner of a rather awesome beard, took up the torch for Los Angeles in his 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.  The BBC went along with Banham to Los Angeles in 1972 to shoot the accompanying documentary, which was brought to my attention by a dear friend, and luckily, I was able to find it in its entiretyFollow Banham as he arrives to LAX, tours the mansions of Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip, drive-in lunches at now-extinct Tiny Naylor’s with Ed Ruscha, and views the waves of Hermosa Beach.  Not one to highlight only the gentrified and picturesque, Banham also does a bit of freeway driving and drops by the Watts Towers.  This love letter to Los Angeles in the early seventies is a special treat, indeed — Banham’s sunglasses and the amazing soundtrack are just the icing on the cake.  J’adore!

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