Burning Torch caters to Venice Beach’s hipster crowd, turning out recycled, on-trend clothes and accessories for women. The collection is made from sustainable materials that are in step with the brand’s socially conscious philosophy. Shop for one-of-a-kind 1970’s sunglasses alongside Victorian fine jewelry–everything is for sale in the brand’s Abbot Kinney flagship store, from the vintage wall tapestries to the antique chairs.
Chariots on Fire
A former darling of San Francisco’s boutique circuit, Chariots on Fire recently relocated to Los Angeles after owner Ritz Yagi decided she needed a change of scenery. Yagi has already made a splash on the Boulevard, teaming up with super-cool label Tortoise for a sold-out jewelry collaboration. The store stocks a variety of artisanal gems, from solid perfumes and luxurious body balms, to hard to find jewelry from the likes of Marianne Anderson and Polly Wales.
With her skill at providing tomorrow’s fashion trends to today’s tastemakers, owner and buyer Nevena Borissova keeps Curve’s selection one step ahead. Celebrating over a decade of style in L.A. and recently opening up shop in Soho, the bicoastal boutiques deliver an eclectic mix of luxury and sportswear options, stocking everything from couture Viktor & Rolf jackets to popular 7 For All Mankind jeans. Since the selection tends toward the avant-garde and fashion-forward, it is helpful that the stores’ personnel act as stylists—showing you how to pair a Samantha Treacy boxy blouse with Bruno Pieters neutral cuffed shorts or Blur’s draped leather jacket with a 16-strand copper and crystal necklace by T. Ciya. Curve also offers a handful of special services such as trend forecasting, wardrobe maintenance and personal shopping.
Created on a whim by founder Erinn Berkson, Firefly is a one-stop shop for magical gifts for yourself and loved ones. There is something for everyone in this hodge-podge of a store that stocks cards and stationary next to delicate necklaces from a slew of California jewelers. For those with little ones, pop next door to Firefly Kids, which has a great selection of quirky little toys and togs.
Another famous Los Angeles fashion emporium that started out with one well-edited store that has spawned into seven boutiques. Don’t expect any real surprises, but the trove of big-name designers in a convenient one-stop shop continues to have a following.
Another LA classic, Maxfield includes a mix of men’s and women’s fashion (Rick Owens, Libertine and a touch of Chanel), books and cool things for your home, like ‘70s chess sets and beat-up Louis Vuitton steamer trunks. But it’s possible that the cases of vintage Hermès and Gucci leather goods, watches and jewelry are the most staggering things you’ll encounter on your L.A. shopping travels. Owner Tommy Perse is the father of T-shirt designer James, whose own store, James Perse, is across the street.
While you’re in the Melrose neighborhood, visit this funky conglomeration of men’s and women’s high and low. Labels include everything from Rodarte to Kate Moss’s Topshop Line and Grey Ant knits. It’s housed in what was once Charlie Chaplin’s dance school, now intentionally raw and unpolished. Men’s shirts are found in a room made of wall-to-wall Legos.
At the shocking pink Paul Smith store, the knighted London designer sells his English bone china, men’s and women’s collections, and oddities such as needlepoint throw pillows and vintage Rolexes remade with brightly enameled faces.
Tortoise General Store
Husband and wife Taku and Keiko Shinimoto opened this Japanese homewares and gift store back in 2003. Since then, many a customer has wandered in and fallen in love with the dozens of gorgeous ceramics, enamel kettles, minimalist flatware, and even cotton kimonos for baby, on offer.
This impeccably curated store took off after being featured in the New York Times' magazine and has been going strong since then. Located in the trendy Brentwood Country Mart, the high-concept gift store stocks minimalist, tasteful treasures. The wide offering ranges from organic body care products to gossamer cashmere scarves, ensuring that no visitor leaves empty-handed.