20/05/2013 § Leave a comment
During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of visiting with Whitney Bickers, the proprietress of Myrtle, a delightful boutique snuggled on a corner of Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. Featuring independent female designers and an excellent selection of vintage clothing, as well as accessories, books and other assorted gifty items, this adorable little shop feels more like a clubhouse than mere retail experience, completely due to the amount of personal attention Whitney provides her customers. Shopping at Myrtle is akin to spending a leisurely time with a trusted friend, trying out all sorts of interesting designers and original pieces you may have never heard of before — almost like your personal, inside track to style.
Whitney and Myrtle first appeared on my radar via mutual friends Samantha Pleet and Lizzie Garrett Mettler, and while it may have taken awhile for us to connect in the non-internet world, I’m so glad we did. Aside from being one of the loveliest people ever (ever!), her path to opening Myrtle is certainly an inspiration. While working in the entertainment industry on the production side, Whitney came to the realization that what she was really dreaming of was having a store of her own. With no formal background in retail, but armed with some good advice, a tiny bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, Whitney took a leap and opened in 2011. In the years since, this one-woman show has continued to evolve, expanding to e-commerce and one of my very favorite Instagram feeds, where Whitney tries on new store arrivals in the massive mirror you can see above, giving internet fans of Myrtle an early head’s up at stock that hasn’t made it to the webstore just yet — but the best part is that you can tell how much fun she’s having. And of course, when she wanted to turn the camera on me during our visit, I immediately insisted on a double mirror portrait of our own…
2213 Sunset Boulevard || Los Angeles, CA 90026 || (213) 413-0004
20/12/2012 § 2 Comments
I previously mentioned my love of Studio Nicholson, an elegantly tailored womenswear line by British designer Nick Wakeman, but upon viewing her F/W 2012, it confirmed again that Wakeman creates the sort of timelessly chic, menswear-inspired stuff my sartorial dreams are made of — and I had to share it with you. F/W immediately called to my mind a modern Katharine Hepburn-like sensibility — probably helped a bit by the gorgeous turtlenecks — and whenever a designer manages to do that for me, I know I’m home.
High points in this collection include that gorgeous alpaca Bruno topcoat above, the aforementioned Rocco turtleneck sweater, and that perfectly pleated and cropped wool Aida pant. And as I am a bit tardy in bringing you the news of F/W — forgive me! — you’ll be happy to discover that the collection is currently 30% off. So get while the getting is good.
For further detail, be sure to visit Studio Nicholson.
17/08/2012 § 1 Comment
I’m not sure what rabbit hole lead me to discover British designer Nick Wakeman’s amazing line, but I thank my lucky stars that I fell down it. Because it’s like it was made just for me.
Studio Nicholson is “…inspired by her love of menswear design whilst incorporating subtle female trend hooks each season. Nick, a former menswear designer has always been inspired by the assured and classic style of the sartorial European man’s wardrobe. Each season Nick catches the heart of that man’s sense of dress and creates an effortless, confident and uncomplicated wardrobe for women who require a practical yet classy uniform.”
Few things to note here:
1) inspired by classic menswear,
2) embraces seasonal female trend elements,
3) advocate of the uniform,
4) her name is Nick? Utterly cool.
Do hop over to Studio Nicholson, post haste.
22/05/2012 § 5 Comments
I’m off to Boston for a few days on business, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share this set of photos I discovered in the Life Archive. They were taken in 1949 at the original Filene’s Basement, then called the “Automatic Bargain Basement” for the automatic schedule of its discount percentages (pegged to the number of days the item had been on sale). Created in 1909 in the basement of Boston’s flagship Filene’s department store, Filene’s Basement was eventually spun off as its own entity and outlived the department store until it too became defunct in 2011. Fun fact: it’s actually where the term “bargain basement” originated.
Sadly the gorgeous original flagship store at Downtown Crossing in Boston, built in 1912 and where these photos were taken, was largely demolished in 2007 after Filene’s went out of business. Because only the building’s facade was landmarked, developers were free to gut the interiors of the building, which also dated back to 1912. When those developers lost funding, the building was just left gutted — a huge, gaping hole with the facade looming like the ghost of sales past. (I haven’t been to Downtown Crossing lately to see if anything has changed at the site — has anyone?)
In these photos, Life photographer George Silk captured the annual $11 suit and topcoat sale at Filene’s Basement. Just like today’s sample sales, customers started forming a line for the 8:30am sale at 6:30am, and made a mad dash as soon as the doors were flung open. In less than three hours, 5,000 garments were sold. In the article, entitled “Improper Bostonians” (which you can read here), Life delightedly informs us that a 200-pound woman fainted and had to be carried away, a blind man was nearly trampled and a man posed as a salesman and swiped someone’s $11!
Nice to see sample sales haven’t really changed all that much in over
60 years, even if the customers do look a little more refined!
Taken by George Silk for Life Magazine, via the Life Archive.
13/12/2011 § 5 Comments
Weekly on Sundays, the street Defensa in the neighborhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires becomes a bustling marketplace where one can purchase almost anything. Automobiles are prohibited, vendors set their stalls in the streets and enterprising young people rove the crowds carrying boxes of homemade empanadas for sale. However, the most impressive attractions of the San Telmo market are the amazing antique shops and there are two in particular I wanted to share with you.
Gabriel del Campo was a rather surreal experience. There were so many interesting and immaculate items — from dolls to furniture to fur rugs to an extensive collection of luggage and trunks — and they were staged so beautifully, it felt almost like a museum. Albeit the kind of museum I wanted to live in. And while the exchange rate is currently quite favorable, the shop is well aware of the high quality and value of their items.
For example, a diminutive woman with an accent that sounded like she was from Hong Kong was noisily admiring a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk that was almost as tall as she was. When she asked the price, “18,000” was the answer. “Pesos?” she asked, which would have been a little over $4,000. “No, no. American dollars.”
For those of us who are not on Ralph Lauren’s scouting team and find ourselves without their unlimited funds, rest assured that Gabriel del Campo is an inherently satisfying exercise in antique inspiration and it is definitely worth a look around. Who knows, you might get lucky...
On the other hand, the tiny and adorable shop Antigüo Balcón, was a completely different — but much more lovely — experience. Run by owner Abel Neira for over 20 years, the shop is a dizzying jumble of all sorts of odds and ends and hidden treasures. Mr. Neira seems to somewhat specialize in a few types of items — namely cameras, musical instruments, fans and telephones — but truly, there is a little bit of everything crammed into this tiny space.
Mr. Neira was a delight to speak with. As he pointed out small treasures my untrained eye might have missed, we chatted about my trip and the best places to go in the city — quite like visiting an old friend with an amazing collection. At Antigüo Balcón, unlike at Gabriel del Campo, you can find amazing things that won’t require a second mortgage — or a first one for that matter — and you will consider your time with Mr. Neira as an added bonus.
Related: Field Notes: Buenos Aires, Argentina