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The jumpstart for Greg Chait’s cult-followed Elder Statesman line began with the fascination over a gift of a single brown blanket. But, don’t expect that 60-gauge rectangle to be displayed at his posh new Huntley Drive Cali-topia digs. It’s not that it wasn’t a labor of love, though. To prep for his space’s debut on Saturday, he’s done what he knows best: digging his own hands and toes in every aspect of the business. “The last three weeks I’ve been sleeping at my factory in Culver city … happily though,” he said. After entering the Blue Whale-adjacent, sun-splashed bungalow, it’s clear the devil has been in the details, and the result is a place you’d gladly camp out after maxing your plastic. It’s minimalist, yet simultaneously kaleidoscopic with neon sweaters and enormo-elephants dotting bronze and Alder wood displays.
Since 2007, the Ksubi alum and back-in-the-day assistant to Whitney Houston has upped the Elder Statesman’s buying tendencies from 30 kilos (sounds explicit, doesn’t it?) of yarn to 3,000, added 39 employees, and landed his luxe-custom cashmere in 70 stores globally. Yeah, the man can’t be getting much shuteye. When the doors open, Chait is just as curious to see whom walks in as the rest of us: “I have 16-year-old kids in head-to-toe Carol Christian Poell and Upper Eastside 80-year-old grandmothers in Chanel and Hermès who can wear the same sweater for totally different reasons.” The common thread? “They all seem to be very self-confident,” he quipped. In our humble opinions, nothing amps that same feel-good factor like an escape to an immaculate space — and, of course a fab new cozy-knit uniform.
What was once a “f–ked up house with astroturf” has been completely rebuilt into a 3,200 square-foot (equal parts indoor and out) bronze-roofed homage to the word “custom.” Think of the biggest, tackiest mall you’ve ever entered, then conjure the most poised opposite — that’s the vibe here. Even the succulents that lace the property were harvested from Chait’s contractor in Ojai. His pals at Commune design firm (of The Ace Hotel and Irene Neuwirth fame) added their expert finishes, which include a geometric rose-gold mirror that straddles two walls, nautical circular skylights, and giant rotating doors leading to a picturesque courtyard. Because he believes in “a little bit of family everywhere,” a drawing from the designer’s grandmother hangs above pieces from décor gurus JF Chen and Lee Stanton. Basically, there’s the immediate sense that the level of curation here is down to a science. And, it is indeed. Chait said, “I had a very clear direction of how I wanted it to feel, look, smell — everything.” Yep, you read that right. He purposely planted sage and rosemary in breezeways for a perfumed whiff while you shop.
As for the goods, it’s the expected high-quality essentials with a whacked twist plus pieces outside of his conventional orbit like shades and denim. Think beanies, throws, a bin of beautifully quilted stuffed animals, and a rack full of covetable hand-spun, hand-woven blazers to impress any lunch or dinner date. Other labels may be popping in soon, but only time will tell as it’s all one ever-evolving case study of a shop. “As humans we’re dynamic and I believe the space should be, too,” he said. “I could be in Japan, find some great items, have them shipped, and have an entirely new interior by the next week.”
This is hard to pinpoint because everything is so seamlessly interwoven (pardon the pun). Simply capturing the vibe of the whole scene is worth the trip. That’s something Chait takes pride in: “I always want people to walk away feeling good — whether it’s because they have bags full of stuff or they just had a nice experience. The Elder Statesman is about a way of doing things.”
Anything one plucks has wow-factor, but if you ask us, a certain aforementioned jacket has anyone chic’s name written all over it.
The Elder Statesman, 607 Huntley Dr., West Hollywood; elder-statesman.com
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Taraji P. Henson