los angeles shopping guide

west hollywood


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3.1 Phillip Lim

The designer behind this overwhelmingly successful collection was 31 when he first started his line in 2005; now he can boast three gorgeous stand-alone boutiques. The Los Angeles shop was the third to open (there are others in New York and Tokyo), but it's arguably the best-looking, with painted foam walls and cool slate floors. An understated elegance is the abiding theme behind the clothes too, from lace-edged camisoles to pintucked blouses. There are also pieces from the organic Go Green Go collection.
631 N. Robertson Blvd., 310-289-0888, 31philliplim.com

A.P.C.

There are only three locations of this much-loved French retailer in the States. The outpost in West Hollywood—just off bustling Melrose—feels like a general store, with cement floors and simple iron fixtures. It's an appropriate backdrop for the wildly chic, straightforward wares, which are cut in utilitarian shapes (streamlined printed smocks, perfectly draped trench coats).
619 N. Croft Ave., 323-297-0414, apc.fr

Alexander McQueen

This 2008 addition to West Hollywood looks like it was carved from a single piece of white material. It's an inspired and streamlined setting for the highly structured silhouettes, though we're particularly taken with his forward-thinking accessories.
8379 Melrose Ave., 323-782-4983, alexandermcqueen.com

Balenciaga

There was a ton of hype when Balenciaga opened in early 2008, and the excitement was entirely justified. The space is huge, supremely cool (it's dotted with asteroid-like tables and has an exposed wood-beam ceiling), and packed with teetering stilettos and zipper-festooned handbags.
8670 Melrose Ave., 310-854-0557, balenciaga.com

BCBG Max Azria

The Beverly Hills branch is BCBG Max Azria's official flagship, but we like the glam new Melrose location best: It has piles of long dresses, along with more casual tops and countless bags and shoes.
8400 Melrose Ave., 323-782-0238, bcbg.com; plus other locations

Beckley

At celebrated L.A. restaurateur Melissa Richardson's first foray into retail, a fairyland theme prevails. Rebecca Minkoff bags rest on oversize crickets; a silver tree is dotted with Rupert Sanderson heels; and soaring sheets of metal with laser cutouts of flowers snake through the rooms, separating the eveningwear (Zac Posen gowns) from the casual selects (Paul & Joe tops).
8620 Melrose Ave., 310-652-3500

Bird

The three tiny floors here are like staggered balconies (a staircase winds around the open center)—which, appropriately enough, makes this spot feel like a birdcage. The inventory has a cool magpie sensibility, too: There are Gary Graham dresses in soft peaches, cotton tops from Beatrez, and Servane Gaxotte necklace pendants of metal dolls in one-of-a-kind outfits.
8428 Melrose Pl., 323-651-9920, birdla.com

Catherine Malandrino

Lime green walls and cascades of pendant lamps set an opulent mood at this French designer's Hollywood space. Malandrino is known for a louche yet elegant aesthetic, which shows up on multitiered chiffon dresses and silk tunics.
8644 W. Sunset Blvd., 310-360-1037, catherinemalandrino.com

Chanel

While the fabled Beverly Hills outpost of Chanel carries its complete collection of clothing, the Robertson offshoot, which opened in 2008, is based on an entirely different premise. Espousing a gallery-like approach, the store's interior shifts frequently to match a constantly rotating, carefully curated array of goods, with an emphasis on handbags, jewelry, and shoes.
125 N. Robertson Blvd., 310-278-5505, chanel.com

Costume National

Unconventional but fuss-free menswear-based shapes are Costume National mainstays, and they're all housed in this slick, uncluttered shop. We particularly love the ankle booties and slouchy clutches that are as chic as they are low-key.
8920 Melrose Ave., 310-273-0100
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