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We've said it time and time again, and we'll say it one more time for good measure: any serious roundup of LA shopping can't be taken seriously by failing to mention stores non-native stores like Barneys and Opening Ceremony. This category recognizes exceptional "chains". A few are home-grown and indigenous, like Fred Segal and Madison. Then there's Creatures of Comfort, a store that started in LA and recently opened a wildly-well-received New York outpost. Do you duty and vote! From the top three vote-getters, we'll select a winner who'll be announced at a fancy gala in New York next week.
Opening Ceremony. The store itself is unusual, having been the office of a casting company, in a previous life. The store, as a concept, has been a hot incubator of talent, and they've launched amazing collections with brands like Rodarte, Jean Paul Gaultier, and many others. The coolest store on La Cienega, hands down.
Madison. This home-grown chain capsulizes California cool with designers like Raquel Allegra, Jen's Pirate Booty, Three Dots, and more. They regularly debut new talent, and they've got a pretty luxe shoe department. Plus, they do those awesome 80% off blowouts. How can you go wrong?
Barneys New York on Wilshire. We know it's not a home-grown store, but Barneys New York offers almost everything you could ever want in a luxury shopping experience. Their higher-end merchandise focuses on hipper, more interesting lines like Isabel Toledo, L'Wren Scott, and Maria Cornejo, while Co-op is a famous incubator of brands like Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, and the next generation of Alexander Wangs and Rag & Boneses.
Fred Segal. This small city-wide chain perfectly nails the store-within-a-store concept, and carries a mind-bogglingly broad array of merchandise, from $200 Free City sweats to evening gowns. They throw massive parties on a regular basis, and have one of the city's best sales.
Creatures of Comfort. This store has an quiet awesomeness that can be easy to miss on your first visit or two. They don't exactly stock one big marquis designer, though LA gals were going crazy for all of their Isabel Marant, since CoC was one of the first places in the city to sell the line. But with avant garde yet accessible up and coming talent, and a shoe selection full of gems from Repetto, Common Projects, Rachel Comey and LD Tuttle, it's definitely one of our better treasures.