Los Angeles has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around LA that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.
Image via Chariots on Fire
LA-based editor Elizabeth Varnell currently heads up the new digital sites of California lifestyle glossy C Magazine. From LA to San Francisco, the savvy style scribe really knows all the best the Golden State has to offer. Her previous editorial positions include executive editor of Angeleno magazine, style director of San Francisco magazine and EIC of The Men's Book. Given all her insider intel on Cali style we couldn't resist asking her to share her favorite hidden retail gem. Although she grew up in Pasadena hitting up vintage shops and the Rose Bowl flea market on the regular, Varnell now calls the Westside home so she pointed us to a treasure trove of gems in Venice.
Due to the striking similarity between shops today, I'm drawn to inventive spaces like Thirteen42½, the brick-and-mortar home of Ritsuko Yagi's Chariots on Fire in Venice. I first encountered her jewelry and zakka shop in San Francisco a few years ago and was delighted to see the shelves of midcentury furniture lined with baubles reinstalled in the Venice location last year. Yagi, who is also a talented graphic designer, has always sought out vintage pieces handcrafted by artisans she discovers on her extensive travels. There are elegant oxidized rings for women and grid rings for men by Marianne Anderson, modern Whitby jet earrings and rings by Jacqueline Cullen, and geometric Op art necklaces by Marion Vidal. Stay awhile and Yagi will tell you about the designers and the techniques they use to handcraft each piece of jewelry. Also, don't miss Julie Elliott's In Fiore solid perfumes as well as textiles by Dosa's Christina Kim. Both make thoughtful hostess gifts.