We’re Missing L.A. Month Already.

If you didn’t catch our entire month dedicated to an American fashion city that gets no cred, there were interviews with West Coasters so cool we wish they lived on our side of the country, super-quick, to-the-point neighborhood guides, outfits that make us feel like locals, a roundup of the big names who have made the place a spot to watch—and, of course, editions and stories from amazing Angeleno designers Society for Rational Dress, Sophie Monet, RTH, TOMTOM, and Mctega. Basically, what I’m saying is June might be over, but it’s not too late to get in on the fun. —erica

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The Insider: Alexis Hyde of Hyde or Die on Why L.A. is Not the City of “Fake Boobs and Fake Hair”

Talk to anyone in the L.A. fashion community about their inspirations, and you’re guaranteed to hear about the city’s ah-mazing art scene. So, we decided to take you straight to the source and chat with Alexis Hyde, who is the newly installed studio manager for a local art star and the brains behind the blog Hyde or Die. Here, she gives us the skinny on left-coast names to know and the best compliment you can give an L.A. lady. —nathalie

Q: How long have you lived in L.A.? And why did you move there?

A: Oh, my goodness—five and a half years now. I love L.A. I love it so much. I’m sitting outside, the sun is shining, I’m pretending to get a tan, and I’m surrounded by plants. I’m a huge weenie when it comes to extreme temperatures. I can’t handle the cold. I can’t handle the hot. I like temperate. So I decided on L.A.

Q: What makes the art world in L.A. so special?

A: We just don’t have the same barriers to break through as in other places. It’s more open-minded because it’s just now starting to be a hub of contemporary art—so there isn’t a set pattern of what people are expecting to see when they walk into a show.

Q: Who are your favorite L.A. artists?

A: Three classics are Ed Ruscha, John Baldesarri, and Robert Irwin. Those are the ones that you can’t not love if you’re interested in contemporary art. Then the younger generation: I would say Sterling Ruby, Tim Hawklinson, Amanda Ross-Ho, and Elad Lassry.

Q: How would you describe L.A. style?

A: Because you can drive from Venice, where it’s 55 degrees, to the Valley, where it’s 90 degrees, everyone dresses in crazy light layers and scarves, even in the summer. One of my biggest compliments was when I was in Palm Springs with my mom and this guy in a gallery was like, “You’re not from here, are you? You’re from L.A.” And I was like: “You can tell!!!!!!”

Q: So do you think people generally get what the city is all about, or are there still misconceptions about it?

A: Unless you’re working at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, you’re not confronted by fake boobs and fake hair.

Want more L.A. month stories? They’re right here!

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Six Lines That Have Made Los Angeles a True Fashion Mecca

We hope that following our L.A. month—our last edition from Mctega is coming tomorrow morning!—is making you realize that even though Los Angeles isn’t touted as a fashion capital, the city plays a vital role in that world (um, hello, entertainment industry and red carpets) and is a breeding ground for a ridiculous amount of sartorial talent. Below, some major names who launched their lines in—and have remained loyal to—L.A. —jiayi
 

Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who taught themselves the ins-and-outs of clothes-making by dissecting a Chanel dress and who started designing from their parents’ kitchen table in Pasadena.

 

Scott Sternberg, who left his agent job to start Band of Outsiders and credits his line’s edge to living outside of the New York fashion bubble.

 

Wren's Melissa Coker. Fun fact: She named her line after Jenny Wren, a dressmaker for dolls, from Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friends.


Merrit Elliott and Emily Current, who lend their talent and last names to their popular denim line Current/Elliott. The girls initially bonded over bell-bottoms while at UCLA.

 

This super-agent to the stylists Margaret Maldonado created L’Agence, full of lots of good pieces for her clients to call-in. (And, oh hey, the guys at International Design Group work with her.)

 

Rick Owens. OK, so he moved to Paris finally, but when you think of Rick Owens, you think L.A.

It’s still L.A. month here at Of a Kind! Right this way for more.

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5 Places in…Mid-City West

Because we’re New Yorkers, we walk—even in L.A. And, thankfully, you can do that in this part of town without looking like an utter lunatic. (Ok, we might even make our way over to Tenoversix and Maxfield in West Hollywood without moving the car, too.) —erica

1) Satine: This is where we discovered one of our favorite L.A. designers, Kelly Bergin—the warm, airy boutique carried her first collection.
2) Joan’s on Third: Get a bunch of little salads. Or the turkey meatloaf. Or those mini baguette sandwiches. And whatever way you go with the food, try your hardest to score a table outside.
3) Douglas Fir: This might just be my favorite men’s store in the country: It carries lines like Noodle Park, Baron Wells, and Folk that don’t get half the love they deserve.
4) The Reformation: For some reason, we find more at this brand’s West Coast outpost than at its NYC shop—the stock’s less broody goth and more chill desert-dweller.
3) Milk: The inventory can be overwhelming, but there are always designers we haven’t seen IRL anywhere else.

More on L.A. month—and our favorite destinations—here.

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Of a Kind

Erica and I are pretty unequivocal about our favorite section of L.A.: Santa Monica. We’re not even beachy girls, but there’s something about walking along the sand all the way up to Venice that makes for the perfect getaway from the hustle of the city. (For the record, this is also how I feel about uptown/Central Park). So here’s my oceanside outfit, appropriately based in black, because it’s true what they say about being able to spot New Yorkers in Los Angeles by the color (or lack thereof) of their wardrobes. —claire

+ Acne sandals
+ Steven Alan hat
Norma Kamali swimsuit
+ Ace & Jig dress (made for Of a Kind)
Dannijo friendship bracelets

It’s L.A. month. More on that here.

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The Insider: Garrett Leight of A. Kinney Court on Why He Loves His “Dork City”

Garrett Leight, who opened the Venice Beach shop A. Kinney Court in 2009, comes by his knack for crafting cult glasses honestly: His dad, Larry Leight, founded Oliver Peoples in the eighties. Enthusiastic left-coasters flock to his store to purchase specs from his namesake line—which just launched this season—as well as other way cool new and vintage frames sourced from around the world. Here, Garrett chats about his biggest inspirations: his father and his hometown. —nathalie

Q: What gets you excited about L.A.?

A: I make sunglasses, and the weather here is probably some of the best weather in the world. The California lifestyle—the beach/surf mentality—is a great inspiration for eyewear. It’s also a dork city. There are lots of authors and musicians, and I like to design based on a lot of characters who have lived here, like Charles Bukowski, John Fante, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Q: Who are some L.A. designers you love?  

A: James Perse, because he does such a great job of representing what this state is all about. And I’d be remiss not to say my father, Larry Leight. I constantly refer to him as the Picasso of eyeglass-making. Watching him work is just incredible.

Q: What defines the customer at your Venice store?

A: They have original style. They don’t want common things. They make up their own minds. They pick things I wouldn’t even pick for them, and I’m totally blown away by how good it looks on them.

Want more L.A. month stories? Read them over here!

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Of a Kind

This shapely—or, as the designer would say, apple-bottomed—cat Tomato is the TOMTOM designer Elena Coleman Howell’s muse. Obviously you’re going to want to read more about that over here. I mean, duh. —erica

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Elena’s Easiest Pasta Sauce Ever

When she’s done making jewelry, she makes dinner.


Elena, demonstrating the joys of starch and butter.

To create the jewelry for her line TOMTOM, Elena Coleman Howell employs high-tech design programs, 3-D printers, and water jets that cut through metal. But at the end of the day, Elena takes comfort in Italian food—the making of which is more of an art than a science. “I am an unabashed Italophile. I studied Italian language for two years in college—so I know enough to get by after two glasses of wine,” she says. “I love pasta. When the South Beach Diet came out, I told everyone I was on the North Beach Diet: All carbs, all the time.” Here’s the sauce she makes—from her bible, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcela Hazan—that pairs especially well with architectural tortellini, made on a Marcato Atlas pasta maker.


Before!


After!

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes* or 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juices
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt
1 to 1 ½ pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table

Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with the pasta.

*If using fresh tomatoes, blanch first by plunging the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them, and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them and cut them into chunks.

Don’t miss out on the ring Elena cooked up for us. There are just 25!

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3 Places In…Silver Lake

We were in L.A. mere months ago, and we’ve heard of a dozen new reasons to head back to this neighborhood since then. Until we have the chance to coast-hop again, here are the three supremely awesome Silver Lake spots we endorse fully. —erica

1) Lamill: You’ve never had a latte this fancy. No, really—they make their bean-flecked vanilla syrup in house.
2) Mohawk General Store: Between the Samma bracelets, Marie Turnor sack bags, Saltbox swim trunks—well, we don’t know where to look.
3) Vivier and Bentley: Ok, so we haven’t seen this space since it actually opened for business, but Clare Vivier’s leather goods and Katherine Bentley’s jewelry are too fantastic for their combined forces to not deliver something mind-blowing.

More on L.A. month—and the city’s ‘hoods—here.

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Elena Howell’s L.A. Mid-Century Tour

Her jewelry line and The Big Lebowski have more in common than you’d guess.

Before Elena Coleman Howell started making clean-lined jewelry under the name TOMTOM, she was all about creating buildings, working as an architect for the firm Marmol Radziner and Associates. “They were the architects famous for restoring such mid-century gems as Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs and another Neutra home in the Hollywood Hills belonging to this guy Tom Ford,” she notes. Her own affection for the mid-century look came from her hometown—and a movie you probably didn’t pay money to see. “Although I grew up in Los Angeles, the epicenter of mid-century modern architecture, my obsession with the style didn’t begin until 2001 when I saw the film The Anniversary Party. The movie is about actors playing actors, on ecstasy, with Jennifer Jason Leigh crying a lot,” the (straight-up hilarious) designer explains. “But what really captured my attention was this beautiful, light-filled home in the Hollywood Hills where all of the drama unfolded—a mid-century modern home by Neutra.” Here, the local places she suggests you hit up for inspiration and era-appropriate furnishings.


Sheats-Goldstein Residence

Check Out These Homes:
Schindler House and Eames House: “Most of the mid-century homes in L.A. are lived-in, making them impossible to tour. These two are open to the public and worth checking out.”
Sheats-Goldstein Residence: “In grad school, a few friends and I somehow finagled a private tour of John Lautner’s property, which has made appearances in such films as The Big Lebowski. This house is amazing. I try to make my jewelry look like it. If you can’t get a tour, this video is a close second.”


Dinnerware by Heath

Shop at These Spots:
Heath Ceramics: “My husband and I registered for their dishware for our wedding. I will never regret forgoing china for this.”
The Rose Bowl Flea Market: “The second Sunday of every month, score mid-century furniture gems on the cheap.”
Danish Modern: “It’s not inexpensive, but you can find gorgeously restored mid-century furnishings—and you don’t have to wake up early on a Sunday to get the best pieces.”

Make sure you don’t miss out on the architectural ring Elena created for Of a Kind.

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