Helmut Lang and Theory Moving to LA’s Brentwood
What's Checking: Brentwood
High-profile contemporary brands Helmut Lang and Theory will open stores in Los Angeles’ exclusive Brentwood enclave in Spring 2014.
The two companies will open in a new development called Brentwood Place at 13038 San Vicente Blvd., near the corner of San Vicente Boulevard and 26th St. Construction will start this week on the new building, said Daniel Blatteis, co-chairman of Blatteis & Schnur Inc., the developer of Brentwood Place. It is the first new project to be built in Brentwood in recent memory. Blatteis & Schnur constructed the district’s last new commercial building, Brentwood Town Center, which debuted in 1992.
The 9,500-square-foot Brentwood Place will be located adjacent to Brentwood Town Center and across an alley from Brentwood Country Mart, one of the most-popular retail centers in the neighborhood.
Theory will take two-thirds of the new space of Brentwood Place, Blatteis said. Helmut Lang will take the other third. They will be the only tenants of the new project. Theory did not answer requests for comment by press time.
Retailers are hungry for more space in Brentwood. The upscale neighborhood is home to many of LA’s best-known names in entertainment, sports and business, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rick Caruso and Steven Spielberg.
High-profile retailers Intermix and Scoop NYC moved into the neighborhood in 2012, and clothing brand Velvet moved in earlier this year.
Australian women’s brand Flannel opened a pop-up shop at 220 26th St. in September. Manager Kristen Garth said the brand would like to stay in Brentwood because the wealthy shoppers typically like to stay and shop in their neighborhood. When they do shop, they spend a lot of money. “They like to buy full wardrobes,” Garth said.
However, there is a ceiling on this growth story, said veteran commercial real estate broker Chuck Dembo of Dembo Realty. “There are a lot of moneyed people around there,” he said of Brentwood. “But there’s a lack of retail space.” The commercial strip of San Vicente and 26th St. only is comprised of a few blocks, and the retail spaces are small.
The lack of growth potential keeps down price. A square foot of commercial real estate costs $8 in Brentwood’s premier areas, the corner of San Vicente and 26th St., said Jay Luchs, executive vice president of Newmark Grubb Ellis Knight Frank. However, space in the highly popular—and more spacious—Abbot Kinney Boulevard retail district goes for $10 to $12.
Unionmade will open a boutique at The Grove retail center next year. The San Francisco–based boutique retailer made waves when it opened its first Southern California store at Brentwood Country Mart in 2011.
Co-owners Todd Barket and Carl Chiara wanted a neighborhood that was off the beaten track as well as a building with interesting architecture. They found Brentwood Country Mart, which was ready to take a leap from offering neighborhood shops to high-profile retail.
They’ve been pleased with the results. “It’s a balance of shoppers here,” Barket said. “It’s a lot of locals, a lot of Japanese and New Yorkers.”
Recently, Unionmade’s shoppers have been buying soft fleece such as Champion by Todd Snyder. “Todd restyled it all,” Barket said of the New York–based designer’s re-do of the classic athletic brand. “There’s vintage washes, but he kept it straightforward. He brought back the old logo, and he has done some crew necks with pockets. It’s an updated basic. It’s the easiest thing in the world to wear.” The sweatshirt retails for $130.
Khaki pants do great year round at Unionmade. A top seller is the Los Angeles–based Save Khaki United brand. It retails under $100. “It’s a straight, easy fit,” Barket said. “It’s democratic. It fits most body types.”
Another line of chino pants catching a lot of attention is Unis. The label is headquartered in New York, but some of the manufacturing is in Los Angeles. “Unis is slim,” Barket said of the chinos, which undergo special washes. Among the most popular Unis silhouettes is the “Gio,” Barket said. “It is tapered and slim. It’s for a younger guy, for sure,” he said. It retails for $198.
Patagonia’sclassic lightweight down vests have been popular at Unionmade. “It’s not super heavy. It’s winter outerwear for Los Angeles,” Barket said. “Gray and black tend to always be popular. There’s a really good jewel tones this year.” The vests retail for $169.
The oxford shirt is a classic silhouette for Brentwood’s men. One of the most popular brands is Gitman Vintage. “They always do a classic oxford in blue and white. That is a day-in and day-out bestseller,” Barket said. Boosting its popularity is that it is made in America and it is offered in novelty patterns. It retails for $185.
The Jenni Kayne fashion brand opened two boutiques in Santa Barbara’s exclusive Montecito district recently. The brand’s Brentwood Country Mart shop opened in March 2012, and it buzzes with activity. Kayne said the shop’s best-selling clothing item is simple and elegant.
“We’ve also been doing really great with the T-shirt collection we did with My Line,” she said of the collaboration with the T-shirt brand. “I think people appreciate pieces that are classic but still chic.”
The lightweight T-shirts are constructed from linen and cotton, and some of them have asymmetric hems to add some spice. The T-shirts retail for $85 to $95.
Australian brand Flannel has been making contemporary fashions since 2009, but it recently set up shop in America with a boutique at 1223 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in December 2012. Last month, the brand opened a pop-up boutique at 220 26th St., which is across the street from the Brentwood Country Mart.
The most-popular item there is the brand’s “Essential Long Dress.” The silk maxi dress retails for $560, said store manager Kristen Garth. “It is very flattering, and it suits all body types,” she said. “People love it because they can dress it up for events or make it casual for everyday wear.”
Intermix helped make Brentwood a retail hot spot when it moved into the Brentwood Country Mart in March 2012.
Recently, top-selling items at its 2,000-square-foot store include Helmut Lang blazers, Iro leather jackets and relaxed blouses from A.L.C.
One A.L.C. top that has been very popular is a sleeveless tank in a leopard print, which retails for $298. Another top-seller has been the Helmut Lang “Linear Drape” blazer, which retails for $650. Also popular is a sweater from Paris-based brand Iro that retails for $548.