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Christina Hendricks, Miranda July Celebrate Acne Studios' New L.A. Store

The Swedish retailer's much-anticipated downtown L.A. shop is its first West Coast outpost.

MAD WOMEN: Christina Hendricks and Kiernan Shipka at Wednesday night's festivities.

After mega crowds explored the new Acne Studios store at 855 South Broadway -- in the art deco Eastern Columbia building – a lucky hundred or so trotted down the street to the not-yet-opened (early 2014) Ace Hotel in the historic 1927 United Artists theater to continue the store's downtown L.A. opening event.

Mary Pickford, who founded United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, was a real lover of ornate detail and the stone spires of Spanish castles, which are completely manifested in this old gem. The walls and ceiling of the enormous room where the dinner was served on two very long white-draped tables were entertainment enough -- with much of the heavily Swedish crowd staring up a lot – but Acne Studios founder Jonny Johansson and creative director Mikael Schiller didn't stop at that. There were cellists on one high balcony, a woman in a pink gown waving white feathers from another – and a bearded man in a pink gown waving white feathers down at the diners, too.

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Publicist extraordinaire Pierre Rougier and his West Coast right hand, Laurence Goldberg, were hovering over the seating, as Christina Hendricks and her stylist, Lawren Sample, were dead center of the room, near Kiernan Shipka. Actress Mena Suvari, Decades boutique co-owner Cameron Silver, Band of Outsiders' Scott Sternberg, Nasty Gal's Sophia Amoruso, the sister members of L.A.-based band Haim and Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li also were spotted at the stylish soiree. Another celeb presence was that of artist-filmmaker Miranda July, who told Johansson what a huge fan of the brand she is, and that she really wears it all the time. "Really," she repeated, a few times. The crowd of great-looking men and women obviously were heavily influenced by the brand too – almost no one strayed from a palette of black and white, and there was a sea of stiff tough-looking Acne leather moto jackets -- which is one of their signature pieces -- on both sexes.

Why all this baroque-style hoopla for a store opening? "L.A. is very important to us," Johansson told Pret-a-Reporter. "I've even brought my wife and children here to spend the holidays in Santa Monica, at the beach. We wanted to do it right, really celebrate, and we don't do anything that's not a hundred percent. We have many Swedish friends in Los Angeles, and we haven't seen them in ages."

As to the downtown location of the store – the burgeoning epicenter of L.A. cool – he was equally upbeat: "We have 35 stores in the world, and all of them have been successful – and that was all just going on our gut since we founded the company in the ’90s. Our clothes have a sharp aesthetic, and we wanted the store to have it too. Our friend is even running a Swedish cafe in the store," said Schiller.

 

DINE IN STYLE: Invited guests were welcomed to a fancy dinner held at the future Ace Hotel.

 

While Acne marks the first luxury retailer to build a solo downtown shop (not to mention a major flagship, with Acne's digs coming in at 5,000 square feet), the area is hardly a new stomping  ground for fashion. A three-minute drive to the neighborhood's arts district puts shoppers in the midst of Alchemy Works, the just-opened women's shop from Apolis Common Gallery owner Raan Parton, where $110 bottles of Rodin body oils mingle with pieces by Holmes & Yang (Apolis, with its pillow-soft men's cashmere and killer selection of fashion zines is two doors down). Skingraft, the sculptural leather goods purveyor who showed during New York Fashion Week in September is a stone's throw away. And Urban Outfitters, though not nearly as high-end but still a staple for starlets and stylists in need of a trusty trend piece -- just took over downtown's historic Rialto Theater on Broadway. Over at The Well, there's Clover Canyon and vintage Comme des Garcons to be found. 

"I think this will start all kinds of gravitation to this street – and the Ace opening will even up the visitations," Schiller added (natural skincare line Aesop also is hanging out a shingle nearby, and masterfully minimalist French label A.P.C. as well as New York's multi brand Oak are rumored to arrive soon.),"We're already getting an amazing response, so we'll just see what happens."

Acne Studios, Eastern Columbia Building, 855 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 243-0960, acnestudios.com

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