8 Spots to shop like a starlet in Los Angeles
For young actresses in Hollywood, getting photographed by the paparazzi while "on the shop" is practically a rite of passage. You know a performer has reached starlet status when the public becomes more interested in the label she's wearing than the next role she's playing. Love or hate the media frenzy, one thing's for sure: these young trendsetters have impeccable taste.
Here's where to go in Los Angeles for starlet-approved fashions (and a brush with paparazzi to boot).
American Rag CIE
American Rag is a veritable department store of LA cool, with sections for new clothes, vintage clothes, and accessories, along with a furniture and housewares boutique called Maison Midi, plus the extraordinary World Denim Bar. The well-stocked “bar” runs the gamut from casual throwbacks (vintage ‘60s Levi’s 501s) to of-the-moment trendy (Joe’s, Current/Elliot). This mix of contemporary and retro makes American Rag a top destination for young Hollywood trendsetters like Rachel Bilson and Dianna Agron.
Whether you want to take a fun family vacation or a girl’s weekend away, you can’t go wrong when you visit Los Angeles.
The chichi environs of Beverly Hills have been a hallowed shopping ground for young actresses since glamorous "Old Hollywood" starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich were fresh-faced screen stars. Along Rodeo Drive and adjacent streets in the "Golden Triangle," high-end luxury boutiques and heavyweight design houses from Prada to Jimmy Choo to Gucci are all represented. Fashions here tend to be less trendy and more haute couture than those you'll spot in more youth-oriented neighborhoods like Robertson Boulevard. On the other hand, the outpost of Barneys New York is shaking things up a bit with its open floor plan and stock of emerging designers (starlets like Lea Michele are regularly spotted here).
Malibu Country Mart
and Lumber Yard
This seaside pair of fashionably rustic shopping campuses with lovely garden courtyards may seem like an idyll far from the maddening crowd of Hollywood, but make no mistake: it's crawling with celebs. At the Lumber Mart you’ll find specialty designer boutiques (and paparazzi) imported from the more frenzied environs of Melrose and Robertson, like Maxfield and INTERMIX, plus laidback standbys like J.Crew and James Perse. The Country Mart is chockfull of well-known designer names as well, from Vince to 7 For All Mankind, and Madison stocks a clutch of fun labels. For a shopping break, grab a coffee and a softball-sized cupcake at Crumbs Bake Shop and see if you can spot Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan padding by.
Melrose Avenue between Fairfax and La Brea Avenues is a jumble of trendy dress stores side by side with punk shops hawking leather goods studded with spikes. The eclectic mix of new and vintage, girly and grungy wares attracts hipsters, "it" girls, and Hollywood stylists alike. West of Fairfax, the avenue has become designer flagship central, culminating in ever-so-posh Melrose Place. You can hoof it from Alexander McQueen to Marc Jacobs, or you can visit one-stop-label-shop spots like Fred Segal and Maxfield. The former is a collection of fabulously-edited boutiques where the jeans and frocks (though not the prices) are Cali casual; the latter is an imposing concrete space where starlets root through the racks of fresh-from-runway couture amid eccentric curios.
This shopping "village" on Robertson between Wilshire Boulevard and Melrose Avenue is prime young Hollywood territory. Starlets du jour (think Miley Cyrus and the Olsen twins) flit in and out of chic, cutting-edge boutiques like Tory Burch, Alice + Olivia, and Kitson, while photographers with telephoto lenses position themselves at the ready; established couture designers like Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana also have outposts here. At lunch, starlets hold court on the patio at The Ivy restaurant, nibbling salads as cameras snap all around them.
The Silver Lake neighborhood, with its organic cafés and crafty independent shops, is hipster ground zero. Low-key starlets and indie queens (like Chloe Sevigny and Mena Suvari) favor this Eastside enclave for one-of-a-kind finds. Fashions run the gamut from local designer duds to vintage dresses. The focal point of the boho shopping district is known as “Sunset Junction,” located at the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards, where you can grab some designer espresso at Intelligentsia Coffee and sit elbow-to-elbow with hipsters and the occasional celeb.
Sidewalk cafés peddling delicate French pastries and strong Italian coffees. Designer boutiques crammed with European labels. A fashionable crowd of Europeans, jetsetters, and celebs. Are you somewhere on the Riviera? Nope, you’re at West Hollywood's Sunset Plaza, a leafy shopping area lined with boutiques and posh open-air eateries. And the labels that have set up shop here are just as famous as the marquee stars who patronize them: you’ll find the likes of Calypso, Nicole Miller, and Zadig & Voltaire.
Venice's beach boardwalk may be a carnival of curio merchants, henna tattoo artists, and string-bikini purveyors, but nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard is an entirely different story. This stretch of offbeat (yet upscale) niche boutiques and artsy lifestyle shops regularly attracts pretty young things like Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez for a boho-chic retail romp away from the tourist hordes. For distinctive designer fashions, Salt and Heist are favorites, while Principessa has a fun and fabulous collection of indie bags, shoes, and jewelry.