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All the Rage

Category: Palm Springs

Alpha: Gear for Gents to pop up in Palm Springs

Palm Springs
Even though West Hollywood men's boutique Alpha: Gear for Gents  hasn't officially closed its doors yet (the bricks-and-mortar side of the business was set to shutter April 1, a date that was later pushed until this weekend), owner Darren Gold has already found a new -- albeit temporary -- place to showcase his wares: Palm Springs.

Alpha will be among a handful of pop-up stores that will be part of new retail incubator space Raymond Lawrence opening at 830 North Palm Canyon Drive on April 19 -- just in time to catch the crowds headed to the area for the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

"Think Fred Segal Center in the desert with Alpha as one of the store-in-stores," said Gold, who announced last month that he was closing his standalone store but at the same time vowed the Alpha brand would continue in some form.

Gold said his Palm Springs outpost would be just under 300 square feet (by comparison, his current Alpha Gear for Gents LogoMelrose Avenue space is roughly 1,000 square feet) and have a tight focus on men's shoes, clothes, grooming products and accessories like sunglasses and jewelry.

"I’m committed there for six months," Gold said. "But if it works, it could end up being more of a store-in-store  -- on an ongoing basis -- instead of a temporary pop-up."

Other businesses and brands in the retail mix, which will be clustered in a former Design Within Reach store in Palm Springs' Uptown Design District, include apparel labels Crate of California, LASC and Made 2 Measure Fashion, home furnishing outfitters Art Style Innovation, Soup Home and Slip, and a grab bag that includes everything from a newsstand (Fit to Print) to a real estate broker (the Paul Kaplan Modern Real Estate Group). (Raymond Lawrence is the brainchild of co-founders Larry Abel and Raymond McCallister.)

Raymond Lawrence will host a grand opening event, benefiting the AIDS Assistance Program, on April 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., just as the Trina Turk boutique across the street is throwing a bash to celebrate that brand's 10th anniversary -- and the crowds roll through town en route to Coachella's second weekend. 

"Coachella definitely put the whole desert more on the map with fashion people," says Gold. "It's like Sundance -- the word 'Sundance' now means so much more than just those few days. Everyone from L.A. and everywhere else will be out there to see what's happening."

"I talked to someone yesterday who said she's going out there and not even going to the festival at all. There are so many things going on around it now -– the houses and the parties -– that you can go there and do all that other branded stuff without even setting foot in the actual festival. ...The whole Coachella thing is insane." 


Coachella essentials

Details, Kaleidoscope to help men shop Coachella style

Alpha: Gear for Gents boutique to close its doors April 1

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs in 2003. A retail incubator called Raymond Lawrence is set to open at 830 N. Palm Canyon Drive on April 19. Credit: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times.

Mod Pop Shop livens up Palm Springs Modernism Week with swingin' parties, events


Palm Springs-based vintage dealer Marc Joseph has always lamented the fact that during the city's annual Palm Springs Modernism Week, the fun pretty much stops when the sun sets.

Which is why this year he created the Mod Pop Shop -- a boutique-cum-nightlife spot that celebrates all things Midcentury Modern, with a different themed event happening during each of the 10 nights of Modernism Week (of which we're currently in the midst).

Each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the space is a retail shop, featuring vintage designer clothing, midcentury furnishings and Modernist art from local artists. But come nightfall, the Mod Pop Shop is party central, with themes as varied as ballroom dancing, burlesque, luau, classic cars, Audrey Hepburn and the Rat Pack. Festivities start at 8 p.m. and wind down at midnight.

Admission to the store during daytime hours is free, but tickets for nighttime events are either $10 or $20, depending on the theme (your first swanky cocktail is included in the price).

So far, the shop has feted the Rat Pack with lounge singers and classic cocktails; vintage fashion, with a runway show curated by Joseph; and classic cars with a fondue party.

Wednesday's theme is Burlesque! and will boast a night of burlesque dancers, drinking "and debauchery." Thursday is Jewels on the Beach Luau, featuring a Hawaiian luau with a trunk show of designer vintage jewelry and a book signing with jewelry expert Matt Burkholz.

Friday is the Goin’ to a Go-Go dance party with go-go girls and boys; Saturday will be the Night of 100 Audreys, featuring an Audrey Hepburn look-a-like contest (women and men welcome); and rounding out the fun on Sunday will be a good, old-fashioned Disco Dance Party.

Mod Pop Shop, 901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: A Modernist-inspired painting by Tina Schmidt, carried at the Mod Pop Shop.

Braniff babes coming to Palm Springs Modernism Week

Plans are shaping up for the once-yearly celebration of martinis and all things midcentury, 2011's Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs Feb. 17-27. What I'm most excited about (besides the house tours and design lectures) is an exhibition of vintage Braniff airline uniforms that will be on view at the Riviera Hotel Feb. 23-25.

"If You've Got It, Flaunt It: The Braniff Collection" will include more than 80 uniform designs for Braniff Airlines, which brought fashion to the skies like never before (and certainly never since).

Designers such as Halston and Emilio Pucci created hot pants, leggings, go-go boots and bubble hats that made Braniff air hostesses the hottest trolley dollies in the sky. There were even in-flight runway shows, during which the hostesses would walk up and down the aisles modeling different looks.

For more information on the event, see the Modernism Week website

-- Booth Moore


Get ready for the Palm Springs Mod Squad

About this time in the winter season, everyone in the world starts thinking about the desert oasis that is Palm Springs. Now's the time to plan your trip to the annual Palm Springs Modernism Week,Feb. 12-21, which is actually a 10-day celebration of all things midcentury modern.

Naturally, the ultrachic Ace Hotel & Swim Club will be the hub of activity for the festival, which includes lectures, symposiums, architecture tours, films and martini parties, as well as the actual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, Feb. 13-14 at the Convention Center.

This year, there will be a special tribute to architect Albert Frey (he's getting a Walk of Fame star in downtown Palm Springs), a slide presentation of vintage Americana by pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix, double decker bus home tours, a vintage fashion show, and a book signing with the artist Shag.Rage_gogo

In addition, on Feb. 20, "Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner" opens at the Palm Springs Art Museum. (First organized by the Hammer Museum in L.A., the exhibition runs through May 23.)  

Things wind up on Feb. 21 with a self-driven celebrity home tour that includes stops at the swank pads of Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore and Elizabeth Taylor. 

If that's not excuse enough for a road trip, the Ace will also host an Airstream trailer show with T-shirts from Vintage Roadside for sale. (The apparel company specializes in amazing vintage graphics from mom-and-pop businesses from the 1930s to the 1960s.) 

If you're still in a spending mood, the long-awaited Community Shop is now open at the Ace. Design collective Commune collaborated with Alma Allen and Nancy Pearce on the store design and merchandise selection. Everything is made by American artisans and craftsmen, including Heath Ceramics, Kathryn Bentley, Tanya Aguiniga, Free City, Greybull Nation, Robert Lewis, April Napier, Steve Halterman, Claire Vivier, Atwater Pottery, Nomadic Trading Co., Beatrice Valenzuela, Alma Allen and Commune.

And, of course, there's always Trina Turk's desert outpost to check out, and the designer's favorite vintage jewelry resources Bon Vivant, Route 66 and Estate Sale Co. And don't forget drinks and dancing on the postage stamp-sized dance floor at the deliciously retro Casablanca piano bar at Melvyn's.

Log on to the Modernism Week website for details and ticket sales for individual events. And start polishing those go-go boots.

-- Booth Moore

Top photo courtesy of Steve Jones; bottom photo courtesy of Mike Tauber.


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