Shopping: New digs for a vintage and contemporary fashion boutique
The cavernous 3,300-square-foot space -- which was recently revamped as part of a block-wide renovation of storefronts across from the American Rag Cie store -- was inspired by the Art Nouveau-cum-rocker look of late-1960s London superstore Biba.
Homages to the legendary retailer include floors inlaid with a black-striped design and squares of burnt orange onyx; honey-hued carved wood display pieces; Lucite shelving; plenty of mirrors (Biba was silly with them); and huge glass-and-steel vintage accessory cases festooned with birds and flora that were originally created for the late, great I.Magnin store in Beverly Hills.
“When we opened in New York, the industrial, concrete-floor-type store felt really new,” said Gerard Maione, who founded WGACA with college friend Seth Weisser 18 years ago. “But since then, it’s become really saturated and homogenized. We wanted to do something different, and Art Nouveau is where I get my inspiration from in general.”
The store stocks all of WGACA’s clothing and accessories categories, which include eponymous women’s and men’s lines, high-end vintage (from the Victorian era through the 1990s) and new apparel and accessories from outside brands including Wrangler and Alchemy Jewelry.
“It’s about the mix,” Maione noted. “You get a cool vintage piece, you get your staple jean. That’s the way people dress.”
Prices for the WGACA label range from just under $100 to around $800 for leather or specialty pieces, with tops hovering around $100 and dresses typically in the $200s. The shop also features a 1,200-piece collection of vinyl records (which can be played on a vintage GE console), vintage books (with subjects including fashion, rock 'n' roll, architecture and erotica -- "all our favorite stuff,” Maione said), retro rock magazines including early Rolling Stones, framed art and a clutch of decorative objects including vintage perfume bottles.
“In our New York store, I’ll get calls asking if someone can buy one of the decorative [items],” said Maione. “And in this store, it’s all for sale.”
The boutique also boasts a roomy VIP area in back, with glam green velvet chairs and racks of evening wear edited for the red carpet. The area has a separate entrance for stylists, celebrities and “special clients,” said Maione, whose personal perfectionism is matched by his boyish enthusiasm for the new venture.
“This new space is about having everything really to perfection in terms of how things are displayed,” he explained. “But it’s also [about] having real accessibility. This isn’t a museum with things all around that you can’t touch.”
Amen to that.
159 La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 933-0250. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. WhatGoesAroundNYC.com
The Helms Design District Vintage Boutique
Saturday: Featuring some of Los Angeles’ best vintage clothing and jewelry dealers, the Helms Design District Vintage Boutique is part pop-up shop, part vintage expo -- featuring classic, designer and repurposed women’s vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories and rare men’s vintage from vendors including Checkered Apron, Timeless Vixen, Miss Kory Lynn, Vintage Blue Moon, Little Treasures, Rockstar Vintage Couture, Maxine Goldberg, Reneé Vintage Designs and Clever Vintage Clothing (which is hosting the show).
Lightspace Studio, 8755 Washington Blvd., Culver City. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets to the event are $5, but 100 free tickets will be available at HelmsVintage.eventbrite.com
Thursday through Sept. 2: Luxury interior-design showroom Jean de Merry celebrates its 10th anniversary with a group collaboration that will showcase the work of actors, fashion designers and other creative types -- each of whom designed a piece of furniture to be sold at Jean de Merry, with 10% of its proceeds going toward a charity of the artist’s choice. Actress Katherine Heigl, model Karolina Kurkova and fashion labels Joe’s Jeans and Gregory Parkinson are among the high-profile collaborators. The pieces will be revealed at a private cocktail reception Wednesday night but will be available for public viewing starting Thursday.
8417 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. (323) 461-1100. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. JeanDeMerry.com
June 12: Consumer trade show Thread hosts a one-day shopping event featuring discounted clothes and accessories from 100 independent and local designers. This year’s show will also boast a pop-up nail salon, photo booth, wellness lounge and -- for hubbies and boyfriends -- a bona fide man cave.
The Cooper Design Space, 860 S. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (general admission starts at 12 p.m.). Tickets are $5 for general entry; $25 ticket gets you in an hour early. ThreadShow.com
Lululemon Athletica’s Vino & Vinyasa
Through Aug. 25: Yoga-wear brand Lululemon Athletica hosts its summer yoga series, Vino & Vinyasa, a weekly, hourlong all-levels yoga class followed with gratis wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. (949) 644-9642. 6 to 7 p.m. every Thursday. Lululemon.com
-- Emili Vesilind
Photo: What Goes Around Comes Around on La Brea Avenue. Credit: What Goes Around Comes Around.