Los Angeles is synonymous with glamour, has been the back drop to a gazillion iconic movies, been home to some of the greatest screen stars that ever lived and today provides a vintage Mecca packed with Mid-Century architecture, vintage shopping and venues hosting finger-clicking-cool Californian sounds. I’ve travelled extensively in the USA over the last five years, for both work and a whole load of pleasure. It’s without question that one of my favourite cities in the U.S of A is Los Angeles, where fabulous vintage shopping and adventures are never far away. Having visited the city frequently over the past five years, I wanted to share an updated ‘vintage city guide’ highlighting a few of my favourite places to eat, drink, dance and shop:
Market- Rose Bowl: The RoseBowl flea market, on the second Sunday of every month, is the size of numerous football (soccer) pitches – this is one amazing day out. There are entire fields devoted to vintage furniture and collectables, separate fields for clothing and accessories and specialist collectors that sell anything from old wireless sets, TVs, advertising billboards, signage, lighting fixtures – you name it!
A lot of the specialist dealers also sell at the Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectables Market. The prices on the market are super keen and stall holders are always up for a haggle. Amongst the specialist dealers are indie stall holders clearing out granny’s old closet where some of the real gems are found! I bought a 1950’s two-piece lace dress and bolero for $15, so there are some serious bargains to be had.
The parking situation is clearly marked and highly efficient and once through the turnstiles, the market is easy to navigate with ample washroom and eating facilities. If you’re an early bird, you can grab some of the best bits before the masses arrive or if, as for me, Sunday morning is a struggle at the best of times, arrive late and get everything at rock bottom prices! Either way you’re winning. Oh and if you visit in summer, wear a sunhat, parasol or head scarf – the sun can get pretty darn hot!
Shop- The Way We Wore: The Way We Wore is a vintage Mecca in Los Angeles. I had the great privilege of spending a very inspiring morning exploring the store and design resource archive and catching up with the fabulous owner Doris Raymond.
Doris is a fashion expert and has been selling vintage pieces since the 1970’s. Surviving the economic recession her passion, knowledge, energy and dedication continues to pay off. Chatting with Doris was so incredible, we sat inside her vintage lovers paradise and talked about life, vintage, fashion and travel.
Divided by decade for ultimate shopping ease, the range spans from Edwardian all the way to the 1980’s. The mezzanine area is devoted to ‘special’ pieces from couture to 1920’s heavily embellished, pristine flapper dresses. Dotted around the store are choice accessories including bags, hats, shoes and jewellery. Each piece is carefully selected by Doris, cleaned, restored and sold in the most exquisite condition. The level of care and quality of each piece was outstanding. Prices range from a couple of hundred dollars upward, the prices are reasonable taking into consideration the scrupulous level of sourcing, consideration and meticulous attention to detail used to get each garment to the rails.
Select pieces from The Way We Wore are featured regularly in high-end fashion publications from Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazar to The New York Times. Only select publications are privileged enough to borrow pieces from the range Doris explained. Whilst I was in the store the girls were busy preparing a rail of garments for Kate Moss to wear. Doris has a number of Celebrity Clients who appreciate the importance of a show-stopping frock, a couple of of her well-known clients include Barbara Streisland, Christina Aquilera, Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Lady Gaga, the bedazzling list goes on, phew!
To read my full Q&A with Doris the owner check out the post HERE.
Eat + Party- Viva Cantina: Viva Cantina Mexican Restaurant nestled next to the Los Angeles Equestrian Centre plays host to some of California’s greatest live bands from 15piece big bands, Jazz matinées, Rockabilly to Doo Wop. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, you can sit and eat or take to the dance floor when the band kicks in. Tucked away aside the Equestrian Centre Viva Cantina could be easily missed from the road and is a real find for any lover of live music and good food. 900 Riverside Drive Burbank, CA 91506
Drink- The Cicada Club: The Cicada Club if you, like I, ever yearn to step back in time to the golden age of Hollywood glamour, then this is the place to do it! The Cicada Club is a cocktail of jovial spirit, legitimate vintage attire, perfectly restored Art Deco interior, swingin’ music, food and awesome dancing.
Quite often I go to ‘vintage’ events and feel let down by the-guy-that-couldn’t-bare-to-part-with-his-favourite-jeans-or-unwashed-hair – but you won’t find him at The Cicada. The crowd dress to the nines, dance like wildfire and drape themselves over the pristine dreamlike-interior like nowhere else I have ever experienced.
Don’t be put off if you’re not partial to shakin’ a leg – the Cicada also serves up a sit down meal with reasonably priced menu and has a plethora of spots for some fine people-watching. The live music is excellent – you can hear the live radio broadcasts online to sample the music on offer!
A few things to know: there is a free coat check; drinks range from $9 to $12; there is a cover of $10 unless you’re eating dinner and valet parking is $7 – this saves you the trouble of paying at a more expensive lot and having to look for other parking, which can sometimes be shady in downtown LA at night.
Dance- Rusty Rhythm Club: Rusty Frank hosts regular dance classes at Rusty’s Rhythm Club every week starting out the evening with a dance class then ending the night in with a bang showcasing some of L.A’s finest musicians from DooWop to Swing. Rusty Frank is a Tap Dancer and Lindy Hopper, producer, choreographer, writer, and dance preservationist who knows how to throw a party! In 2008, Rusty received the highest honour possible in the Swing Dance World when she was inducted into “The California Swing Dance Hall of Fame”. Since 2001. Rusty’s weekly Wednesday swing dance in Playa Del Rey is one of the few clubs in California featuring an evening of dancing and live bands every week! 8025 West Manchester Avenue Playa Del Rey, CA 90293