Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: West Hollywood

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

We're ending the week with the sad news that one of our favorite men's emporiums, West Hollywood's Alpha: Gear for Gents, a go-to place for clothing, gifts and accessories, intends to close its doors at 8654 Melrose Ave. on April 1.

"The reality of the numbers cannot be ignored," wrote owner Darren Gold in a letter emailed to friends and supporters of the store that opened in 2004 in a location just across the street. "The recession (predicated by the writers strike in Los Angeles) was the first stab in the heart of traditional retail.  Online sales, flash sales, pop-ups, and an increasingly aggressive promotional cycle have made the business model of independent retail even more difficult.  Post-recession, many of our best customers have changed their buying patterns; waiting for sales, shopping online, or simply not shopping."

Citing some of the retailers he admires who've gone a similar route ("Fred Segals’ Fun and Flair, Tracey Ross, Lisa Kline, and Hillary Rush") Gold said he decided to "cocoon and awake anew as a business ready to take on the digital world of 2012," by opting out of the bricks-and-mortar boutique.   

But Gold says that doesn't mean he's leaving the retail scene altogether, ending his announcement by noting that "the Alpha brand will continue in some form," and citing the success of apop-up shop at the Andaz Hotel. "I see the future for Alpha and myself in developing new retail concepts, pop-up stores, as well as consulting on a personal and retail level." (Gold always been on our short list for all things man-centric, from spotting of-the-moment trends to offering St. Nick some ways to "butch up" his look in our holiday overhaul of Santa Claus' weary wardrobe.) 

We'll have to see what that means in the long term, but in the short term it means an "Another Bites the Dust" sale (Gold's words, not ours) with prices discounted 60% off retail and higher starting Saturday (March 10). 

Alpha: Gear for Gents, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday until April 1, 2012 at 8654 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.


New menswear stores on South La Brea Avenue

Suit yourself: Men's custom clothes are a mouse-click away

HMX Group debuts new men's retail concept in Beverly Hills

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Alpha Gear for Gents storefront on Melrose Avenue. Owner Darren Gold is closing his store April 1. Credit: Emili Vesilind / For The  Times

Special holiday shopping destinations in the L.A. area

A Current Affair

Let’s face it; holiday shopping can be such a drag. What with all the Black Friday madness or even just braving the parking lot at your local mall over the next few weeks, it’s easy to see how the joy of giving can quickly dissipate when you can barely get in and out of a store without your blood pressure shooting through the roof.

In an attempt to stay sane and make the shopping experience peaceful and inspiring, we’ve sussed out several local shopping events, sales and pop-up shops that provide unique wares as well as a quaint and calm environment in comparison with the usual chain store spots.

A Current Affair: Pop-up vintage marketplace is happening Dec. 3 and 4 at the Cooper Design Space in downtown L.A. Over 30 vendors will be selling their vintage clothing and accessories, which range from cheap and cheerful items to pricier haute couture pieces.  Journalist and author Rose Apodaca has curated a selection of vintage that will be on display. She’ll also be signing copies of her recently released book, “Fred Hayman: The Extraordinary Difference: The Story of Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Glamour and the Showman Who Sold It All.”

KCRW DJ Marion Hodges will be spinning some soothing shopper friendly tunes. And if that doesn’t make your experience pleasant, perhaps a beverage from the open bar will.

A Current Affair: Pop-up vintage marketplace 6-10 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 3), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4) at the Cooper Design Space, 860 S. Los Angeles St. Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased at

Simply Vintageous Holiday pop-up shop is open through the entire month of December and features a collection of vintage and designer items displayed throughout four adjoining rooms. High-end vintage is housed in one while two other rooms have contemporary pieces from clothing and accessory designers like Eva Franco, Athena Jewelry and M. Andonia Handbags. The fourth room is a bargain bin of things starting at just $10.

Simply Vintageous Holiday: Pop-up shop opens Saturday at 11 a.m. Regular store hours are  11 a.m.–7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday,    Monday/Tuesday by appointment only.  8270 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. Visit for more information.


Geren Ford Holiday shopping party On Saturday there’s a holiday shopping party at the new Geren Ford Annex in Hollywood, where creative director and founder of the brand Geren Lockhart will be selling discounted items from her fall collection. Also joining in on the fun are designers and brands like Gregory Parkinson, Wren, Loden Dager, Bare, Vosges and the Wrapped, who will be selling everything from men’s and women’s clothes to wrapping supplies and chocolate.

It’s a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to peruse a great selection of stuff from local designers, all under one roof, and check out the newly opened Geren Ford Annex, the company’s headquarters and retail space stocked with the collection plus items from other like-minded designers.

Geren Ford Holiday Shopping party: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday at the Annex, 1034 Seward St. Los Angeles.

Jaguar Presents Holiday Shopping Celebration on the Avenues  The city of West Hollywood is getting into the holiday spirit with a shopping night on Wednesday (Dec. 7). It’s like Fashion’s Night Out holiday edition, with stores extending their hours, food trucks parked along the streets for shopper sustenance and several places offering discounts and gifts with purchase.

Participating retailers include Alberta Ferretti, Alpha, Arcade Boutique, Beckley, Blumera, BOA Gallery, Chocolate Sun, Faruy'Art 1969, J Gerard Design Studio, John Varvatos, Kitson Melrose, Makeup Mandy, Nicky Rising, Shalimar’s Apothecary of Scent, Soolip Paperie & Press, the Fashion Society, Undrest, Viola Park, Wanna Buy a Watch?

Holiday Shopping night:  6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Visit for a full list of events and retailers.

Decades 8th Annual Chanel Event starts on Dec. 10, which might lend itself more to doing a little personal shopping rather than shelling out the cash for a lavish gift. Either way, the highly anticipated event features Decades' largest selection of Chanel clothing and accessories to date, with an enticing array of modern and vintage Chanel handbags.

There’s an in-store event on the 10th and for those who can’t get to the boutique in person, the event continues online the next day (a Sunday), starting at 11 a.m. at

Decades 8th Annual Chanel Event: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 10. Decades, 8214 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles.

Holiday Sale with Gabriela Artigas The L.A-based jewelry designer will be showcasing and selling her delicate pieces alongside other local designers like Marie Turnor, Black Crane and Parabellum.

The sale takes place in Artigas’ new studio near the Beverly Center, but the environment here will be much less harried than the scene at the mall, Artigas will be serving champagne while shoppers stroll through the accessories.

Gabriela Artigas Holiday Sale: Noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at 314 N. Alfred St. Los Angeles.


Helms Design District Vintage Boutique holiday shopping event  This sale is something to look forward to for the large, open spaces and vast array of vintage clothing and accessories for both men and women. This year it's also added a seamstress who will be on hand at the sale to aid in altering garments or giving advice on how to repurpose something that needs tweaking.

Entry to the event is $5, but those who bring a charitable donation of either an unwrapped toy or a bag of nonperishable groceries will receive free entry. I’d call that a win-win.


Helms Design District Vintage Boutique holiday shopping event: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the LightSpace Studio at 8755 Washington Blvd., Culver City.

Happy shopping.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


Beyond the mall: Pop-ups, craft fairs and other holiday shopping

Independent L.A. boutique's holiday shopping deals

Adding a little sparkle to your holiday wardrobe

Photos, from top: A Current Affair vintage Marketplace. Credit: A Current Affair.

Clothing at the Geren Ford Annex, right; shoppers, left, at the Geren Ford Annex/Geren Ford.

Helms Design District vintage boutique, bottom /Helms Design District vintage boutique.

Fashion's Night Out 2011: WeHo gets logo makeover, party

Ruben Esparza designed artwork for FNO 2011

The style-centric, globe-spanning retail block party known as Fashion's Night Out is still seven weeks away (it's scheduled to take place on Thursday, Sept. 8), but local efforts are well under way.

Today comes word over the transom (metaphorically of course -- when was the last time anyone laid eyes on an actual transom?) that the city of West Hollywood has big plans on tap -- including new imagery that will appear on posters and all manner of event ephemera -- and an official after-party at the Mondrian’s Skybar.

That means instead of having to be really, really good-looking or well-connected with the guy at the door (one of those guys described his job to me once as being "a human screen" -- and he said it with no apparent sense of irony), all you'll need to do is make a purchase from one of the city's participating FNOWeHo2011logo retailers, a roster that already includes stores like Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin, H. Lorenzo, Alpha Gear for Gents, and John Varvatos. (We're told that some of the big name brands who feted Fashion's Night Out with a single New York City event last season have seen the wisdom of participating on the West Coast as well.)

While the city-run shuttle bus running among retail areas on Melrose Avenue, Robertson Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard isn't exactly new this year, the now-open 333-space, five-story library parking structure at San Vicente Boulevard and Melrose should help ease the city's notoriously tight parking for anyone wishing to avail themselves of the free rides.

This year's WeHo FNO logo (say that five times fast) will also be getting a splash of color -- as well as a wingman -- and/or wingwoman in the form of sketched figures designed by artist Ruben Esparza.

We expect the colorful characters will be allowed into Skybar -- purchase or no purchase.

-- Adam Tschorn

Images: West Hollywood's Fashion's Night Out plans include an official after-hours party, new artwork by Ruben Esparza (at top) and a logo makeover (bottom). Credit: Courtesy of West Hollywood. 


Beverly Center to reprise role as hub for Fashion's Night Out on Sept. 8

Fashion's Night Out: Beckley on Melrose

FNO NYC Recap: Mayhem across Manhattan

Get a free makeover and blowout at Beauty Collection's grand opening in West Hollywood

Image Malibu’s Beauty Collection moves east into West Hollywood’s Pavilions shopping center with a “get paparrazzi ready”-themed party on Saturday. It will dole out complimentary services, including blowouts, and 50% of purchases made at the event will be donated to the Beauty Bus foundation. You can also hobnob with the founders of beauty brands: Ole Henriksen, LaLicious’ Jessica Kernochan and Borba’s Scott-Vincent Borba.

Gratis services include makeovers by Stila, Smashbox, Jane Iredale cosmetics along with hair styling by Blow NY, Philip B and Lanza. You can model your new ‘do with a free headshot by photog Jim Steinfeldt. First 50 guests nab a beauty gift-bag worth $350. 

Entertainment -- DJs and go-go dancers -- is provided by the Abbey, along with complimentary beverage and nibbles by Pavilions.

8951 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite B, West Hollywood. (310) 858-8838. 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

-- Max Padilla

More shopping and events

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Weekend Update: Order Minx in; Jennifer Aniston fave hairstylist opens Malibu's Safire McMillan Canale, Wanda Soolip Wen schools gift-wrapping

Picture 4 Deals

Need a manicure but don't have the time to leave work, office or home? Or do you simply not want to deal with Saturday traffic? Through May 15, Manicures R Mobile is giving a 20% discount on a Minx applique manicure and pedicure (regular price $160). Ask for "Minx promo" when scheduling an appointment by phone, (310) 859-7379, or e-mail


If you admire Jennifer Aniston’s do, you should know that her hairstylist, Chris McMillan, is part of the trio launching Safire McMillan Canale salon in Malibu. Haircuts start at $100 for short hair to $150 for longhair. McMillan charges $600.

3835 Cross Creek Road, Malibu. (310) 456 9973. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.


On Saturday (April 17), Wanda Wen, founder of A Soolip Weeding, will sign copies of her book “The Art of the Gift Wrapping” at a cocktail reception at her namesake store while expert gift-wrappers  show how to wrap stylishly. Also at Soolip Paperie, there will be demonstrations throughout the day by letterpress printing artist Elizabeth Hubbell, calligraphist Aleksey Shirokov and other artisans giving tips on sewing, bookbinding and sustainable landscaping. E-mail or call (310) 360-0545 to attend the reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

8646 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (310) 360-0545. Workshops are 1 to 4 p.m.; book signing is 5 to 8 p.m. 

-- Max Padilla

Photo: Minx appliques. Credit: Minx

WeHo's Art & Design Walk features a jam-packed day two

Ang Day two of West Hollywood's annual Art & Design Walk shopping event kicks off Saturday morning, featuring new product launches, gallery shows, shopping discounts and food and entertainment hosted by individual showrooms located on Melrose Avenue, Beverly Boulevard and Robertson Boulevards -- west of La Cienega Boulevard.

The event committee changed the date of the walk this year -- from June to March, to avoid the summer heat and have it coincide with the Pacific Design Center's market week, West Week.

The schedule for Saturday, March 27, includes complimentary hair consultations at Marco Pelusi Hair Studio; free watch appraisals at Second Time Around Watch Company; all-day didgeridoo performances at Aboriginal Dreamtime Fine Art Gallery; a display of late-life paintings by Andy Warhol at the Guy Hepner art gallery, along with prints and paintings by Damien Hirst and Russell Young, Mr. Brainwash, David LaChapelle and Banksy; 15% off all merchandise at designer vintage store Sielian's Vintage Apparel (Sielian will be in the store from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. offering gratis complimentary styling sessions); free astrological charts at Crystalarium; a celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss at mens' boutique Alpha; and complimentary cupcakes and champagne at Coco De Mer's "Mad Hatter’s Tease Party."

And as a special treat, Steinway Piano Gallery will be hosting pianists Yana Resnick and Anna von Urbans, who will perform the works of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Barber and Albeniz.

For a complete list of events, visit the event's website.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: Angelina Jolie as depicted by artist Mr. Brainwash, on display at the Guy Hepner gallery. Credit: Guy Hepner

Victoria's Secret's Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Candice Swanepoel celebrate Swim '10 premiere at Trousdale

Victoria’s Secret celebrated the premiere of its Swim '10 collection video, starring bathing beauties Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Candice Swanepoel, with a fete at Brent Bolthouse and Darren Dzienciol's new nightclub Trousdale on the Sunset Strip.

A testosterone-heavy crowd -- Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Brand, Josh Lucas, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, Alex Pettyfer, Jeremy Piven, Henry Duarte and Craig Robinson -- came out to watch the clip and eye Victoria's Secret models Ambrosio, Kerr and Swanepoel. Nicole Richie dropped by (fiance Joel Madden manned turntables with brother Benji) along with Paris Hilton. Simi Valley's Kylie Bisutti, who won last year's Victoria’s Secret model search, also did a turn on the red carpet.  

-- Max Padilla

Q&A: RuPaul on eyelash curlers, shapewear, his TV show and new book

2010ru RuPaul must be America's most famous drag queen. He doles out advice for both sexes on makeup, hair, diet and wardrobe in “Workin It!: RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Style." The performer, who does drag only “when I’m being paid,” chatted with All the Rage about this and his exhausting makeover routine, which starts at 6 a.m., during the filming of LOGO’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race."

He's been in the news recently, after three South L.A. elementary school teachers were suspended and then reassigned for having their students display pictures of RuPaul and Dennis Rodman and O.J. Simpson in a Black History Month parade -- but he declined, through his representatives, to chat about that. 

On the other hand, he was more than happy to chat about some lifestyle tidbits:

What's an inexpensive product that can drastically change a woman's facial appearance?

For both men and women, an eyelash curler is a must. It gives your eye the appearance of being well-rested and wide open.

For lips, do you prefer gloss or color?

I prefer both, plus a lip liner.

What are your feelings about shapewear; the Spanx craze?

I believe you should use whatever you can to get the silhouette you desire: padding, shapewear or control-top pantyhose.

Continue reading »

Weekend Update: Chanteuse lingerie at Coco de Mer, Emily Grace collection at Fred Segal Santa Monica's Lifesize and Equinox V-Day offers

ChanteuseInvite Events

Tonight, Coco de Mer hosts “An Evening of Delightful Sins” to unveil Chanteuse lingerie. Cupcakes and champagne will be served while burlesque performer Leila Bazzani entertains. RSVP to
8618 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 652-0311. 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Tonight, Tavin boutique in Echo Park will preview lingerie from the 1930s and 1940s. Champagne and chocolate will be served, while music and slide shows entertain. There will be a 10% discount that evening only.

1543 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 482-5832. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Ongoing through Sunday, Ron Robinson at Fred Segal Melrose hosts daily events leading up to Valentine’s Day. Today (Feb. 11), preview the Body Conscience skin-care line. On Friday  (Feb. 12), check Bonnie Star jewelry, Sjal skincare and the Marquise informal modeling trunk show. On Saturday, try Osea massage oil, Alford & Hoff fragrance and W311 People organic makeup (book an appointment through Sunday and receive a gift with purchase).

8118 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 651-1935. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

On Sunday at Fred Segal Santa Monica, Ron Robinson's Lifesize kids presents the Emily Grace collection inspired by Emily Grace Reaves of the “Noie & Ems Show,” introduced on the Miley Cyrus fall tour. Free gift with Ooh! La La! Couture purchase (one dress donated to K.I.D.S. -- Kids in Distressed Situations -- for every dress sold along with $6 hair tinseling.  Complimentary refreshments will be served.

500 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 458-1160. 1p.m. to 3 p.m.

On Friday, Gail Jewelers at Corona del Mar Plaza (MacArthur and PCH) celebrates its grand opening with Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille tropical drinks and special prices on trinkets. RSVP to

844 Avocado Ave., Corona del Mar. (714) 979-1631. 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Ongoing through Sunday, Equinox Century City is offering Valentine’s Day promotions via gift card that can be redeemed at any time. Buy a $99 gift card for 50-minute treatments, including the Knead your Love deep-pressure massage or Solstice facial. Other specials include $290 gift packs of three treatments of either 50-minute massages (Truly, Madly, Deeply) or 50-minute facials (Love Triangle) or the Double Date featuring both a 50-minute facial and 50-minute massage ($190).

10220 Constellation Blvd. Century City. (310) 552-0420.

-- Max Padilla


For your honey, exotic fragrances from L'Oeil du Vert

PHOTOS: Great Valentine's Day gift ideas

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Photo: Chanteuse Collection. Courtesy Coco de Mer

Store opening: Found By in West Hollywood

This new vintage store opened recently, stocking goodies including dresses, blouses, jumpsuits, trousers, leathers and furs. Prices range from $40 for a scarf to $250 for a winter coat.

620 1/2 N. Doheny Drive., West Hollywood. (310) 888-2868. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

-- Max Padilla

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