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Tokidoki opens first L.A. boutique on Saturday

December 11, 2009 |  2:42 pm
Tokidoki Tokidoki, a cosmopolitan collaboration built on Japanese, Italian and Angeleno inspiration, is opening its first Los Angeles boutique five years after it was conceived of here in the City of Angels.

The collection of accessories and collectibles (in the vein of Japan's Hello Kitty) had its beginning when Angeleno Ivan Arnold discovered Italian artist Simone Legno's Tokidoki website. The illustrations there, influenced by Japanese anime cartoon and manga comic book art, inspired Arnold to fly the artist to Los Angeles to discuss a commercial collaboration.

Arnold, Legno and Arnold's wife, Pooneh Mohajer-Arnold (co-founder of Hard Candy cosmetics),  launched Tokidoki the brand, incorporating Legno's designs on graphic T- shirts, accessories and cutesy vinyl dolls.

In 2005, Tokidoki hit it big with an accessory collaboration with LeSportsac that was rumored to have outsold the bag maker's collaboration with Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B.

On Saturday, Tokidoki -- which is Japanese for "sometimes" -- will open a boutique on Melrose Avenue, following shops in Milan and New York's SoHo. Legno is scheduled to greet fans on opening day from noon until 4 p.m., and the first 100 shoppers will be offered a Sprinkles for Tokidoki cupcake. The 750-square-foot Melrose store will combine -- as would be expected -- Italian and Japanese design influences, which translates into rustic wood fixtures (Italian) and glossy white lacquer walls (Japanese).

For the most part, the Los Angeles store will showcase limited-edition gifts and accessories such as the Tokidoki homage to Karl Lagerfeld: a $190 mini-Karl 10-inch vinyl figurine, which sold out at Paris' Colette. A Karl Lagerfeld for Tokidoki collection will launch in spring with a line of T-shirts and tank tops.

"I am very flattered that I became a Tokidoki," Lagerfeld said in a statement. "I always loved them, and I am happy to be one of them."

The boutique will also carry the Tokidoki x Hello Kitty collection, which was designed for the beloved feline character's 35th anniversary this year and includes a watch ($78) and suitcase ($250).

Tokidoki will feature special exclusive items for locals, including the new women's Savannah hat and shirts and Lion Pappa hat and shirt for men (apparel and accessories mostly range from $28 to $80).

"My artwork was very much influenced by the L.A. icons, lifestyle, street subcultures and glamour," Legno says. "Opening a store in L.A. is a dream come true for me."

7965 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 417-1450. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

-- Max Padilla


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