What’s Checking: Shopping in Hollywood’s Backyard
Consider Los Angeles’ Studio City enclave the backyard of the entertainment industry, said Fred Levine, the co-owner of the M.Fredric boutiques.
His company has run a Studio City store for more than 25 years. A lot of entertainment executives and celebrities have shopped at the location, but the frenzy that often accompanies a celebrity’s arrival never seems to pass through the district’s borders, according to Levine.
“It’s more low profile. It’s more of a community,” he said. The boutiques within Studio City reflect this characteristic of the area’s style.
People care about how they look in Studio City. Often, they want to make a statement with their style, but the look is casual, according to Levine.
12124 Ventura Blvd.
M.Fredric boutiques carved a niche in casual looks and denim since the company started its business in the 1980s, but summer styles on M.Fredric’s tables and racks have brought out a brighter look in the chain’s Studio City store. Among the recent top-selling items are maxi dresses with bright, floral patterns, said Angela Zeldin, the manager of the Studio City M.Fredric.
Los Angeles–headquartered Flynn Skye is one brand serving the demand for maxi dresses with florals. One of that brand’s pieces retails for $178. Olivaceous’s bright, summery dresses also have been popular, with one of its styles selling for $78.
The store has also long distinguished itself as a place to buy a stylish T-shirt. Tees and dresses from the Michael Stars brand have been trending well, with retail price points ranging from $78 to $98.
Denim is also a big deal at M.Fredric. Hudson Jeans with a high-waisted silhouette and flared ankles have been popular. Embellishments, such as studs on the denim and distressed fabric, have been popular looks. Retail price points range from $198 to $298.
Another perennial favorite is the Levi’s brand, Zeldin said. “I always try to have Levi’s in the window so people know that they are here,” she said. Higher temperatures create a demand for denim shorts, and shoppers have been buying Levi’s styles, especially designs from the 501 line, which retail for $59.
12930 Ventura Blvd.
Sy Devore was a clothier to Elvis Presley and bon vivants such as Dean Martin of the Rat Pack. The men’s boutique that bears his name has outfitted Studio City men since 1962. It opened in its current Ventura Boulevard location in 2000.
The boutique went for a new, brighter look in April when it removed old carpeting and replaced it with blond-wood flooring, said Danny Marsh, Sy Devore’s owner. While he made aesthetic changes to his store, Marsh said that the street has also been changing.
“It’s more corporate, less boutique,” he said of the merchants on Ventura. But the change comes at a time when Studio City residents are looking for clothing that shows increased individuality, he said.
Popular items include unconstructed blazers or jackets that have no lining or padding. An unconstructed blazer from Italian brand Circolo retails for $695. “It’s a finishing piece. It looks good as a blazer or as an outdoor jacket,” Marsh said.
The cargo pant has come back into fashion, according to Marsh. But it is not the giant, billowy cargo of the 1990s. The JW Brine brand’s stretch skinny cargo pant has been popular and retails for $365. It has side pockets but also a sleek look more in tune with contemporary fashions. The fabric feels like a sweatpant, Marsh said. Other popular looks include the Teleria Zed label’s skinny khaki pants made with a stretch fabric. It retails for $245.
12660 Ventura Blvd.
Gisele Tune opened her eponymous boutique in June 1997, and she considered herself something of a fashion pioneer. There were no other clothing stores on the stretch of Ventura Boulevard between Whitsett and Coldwater Canyon avenues.
Her gamble on this stretch of Ventura real estate worked out. There was enough business on the street that she could afford to hire three employees for her 1,000-square-foot shop. The boutique business has changed because of heavy competition from e-commerce titans such as Amazon.com, so she currently employs one other salesperson, though there’s still enough room in fashion to distinguish herself from other shops in the area.
It’s her job to sell clothing that is unique. “This is my passion,” she said of her store. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do. I like the challenge.”
Tune hopes to keep her store unique with lines such as Limit By Liz. The Los Angeles–headquartered brand takes vintage military jackets and details them with logos of prominent fashion houses. Jackets retail for $350. Tune said that the jackets frequently sell out and that she had to reorder them three times in May.
Other popular items include casual cotton pants by Israeli brand Bevy. The white pants retail for $175. Tune also sells jeans from the Los Angeles–headquartered brand Flying Monkey, whose pants retail for $75. Tune’s customers love them because of the price and style and the fact the denim is artfully distressed, Tune said. The Zadig & Voltaire brand’s Christy silk tank top has also been popular. Retail price points for the brand range from $198 to $220.