Friday, January 14, 2011

L.A. Confidential

On her days off as a model, visual artist and designer for her label Petit Lapin, Dana Boulos likes to discover L.A.’s hidden neighborhoods, interesting personalities and quirky dinning spots. This week she gives The Polyglot an inspiring tour of her city’s thriving fashion, music and art scene.Taking in the views:One of L.A.’s best kept secrets is the Barnsdall Art Park, which was donated to the city by the eccentric Aline Barnsdall in 1927. Beyond having one of the best views of the Hollywood sign, it’s also home to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, a theater and the Hollyhock House, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project.

A lesson in fashion history:Hollywood is awash in vintage clothing stores, many of them filled with gems that once lined the closets of well known T.V. and movie stars. The Way We Wore, at 334 S. La Brea Ave, is a treasure trove of vintage fashion. The store recently opened a by-appointment “inspiration library” that holds the private collection of Doris Raymond. For over a decade Raymond, who is often referred to as the "fairy godmother of fashion inspiration", has been sought out by Maison Martin Margiela and John Galliano, who come to reference her vast archive of 18th and 20th century garments.
My secret brunch:“Off Vine” at 6263 Leland Way, is probably the prettiest (and most unexpected) little restaurant in Hollywood, mostly because it doesn't feel Hollywood at all. Tucked away in a bright, century-old bungalow and surrounded by flowers, its large garden patio is the kind of place that persuades you to linger over a cup of organic tea and Eggs Benedict.

Sweet-tooth in Tehrangeles:Nicknamed “Tehrangeles,” Westwood Boulevard on the city’s west side, is home to L.A.’s Iranian Diaspora. At Mashti Malone's (1525 North La Brea Avenue) you will find a Hollywood ice-cream institution dedicated to unusual flavors. Mashti's concoctions include rosewater, saffron, pomegranate and faludeh, a rice-flavored sorbet. Expect to bump into everyone from Harley-riding bikers to celebrities buying by the bucket full.

Gallery hopping:The neighborhood of Culver City is home to the grandly colonnaded MGM studios, where “The Wizard of Oz” was filmed in the 1930s. Today along La Cienega, you’ll find cutting edge art galleries such as LAXart, Anna Helwing, Sixspace and Blum & Poe. On weekends, a hipster-bespectacled crowd comes for the art openings that spill out onto the sidewalk.

The neighborhood store:
The idea behind Mohawk General Store (4011 W. Sunset Blvd), is to supply basics to the neighborhoods arty inhabitants with a curated selection of clothing, furnishings and art. The result is a one-stop shop for modernist fans, where you can pick up a pair of A.P.C. jeans, Dream Collective’s crystal mountain cuff and a vintage Gio Ponti side-table all under one roof. Three-quarters of the store's goods are locally made, and many of the products are recycled, including Generic Man boots fabricated from recycled rain coats.

The eccentric librarian:
In Silverlake, you’ll find one of LA's hidden gems and the neighborhood's only independent art & design bookstore. Ivanhoe Books is located in the back-room of Lawson-Fenning, a furniture shop at 1618 Silverlake Boulevard, which specializes in modernist furniture and objects. The brainchild of British-transplant Lucy Spriggs, the quirky library carries a selection of old and new titles on fashion, photography and architecture. Amongst the latest releases are more unusual finds such as the “Evolution” by Pierre Cardin and a rare edition of the Ossie Clark diaries.

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