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In a surprise move, New York City-dwellers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen chose sunny Los Angeles as the location for their first-ever Elizabeth and James brick-and-mortar outpost. Opening today at The Grove, the L.A. flagship store is more than just a home for chic pieces from the twins’ contemporary label; its thoughtfully decorated interior, designed with the help of David Montalba of Montalba Architects, gives shoppers a personalized Elizabeth and James experience via the Olsen-curated selection of vintage California- and Japanese-inspired furniture and accessories.
In addition to jewelry, fragrance and the fall 2016 ready-to-wear collection — which includes tailored twill gaucho pants and garment-dyed crewneck sweatshirts — the 1,200-square-foot shop houses a handful of vintage tees and kimonos selected from the beloved L.A. vintage shop Spanish Moss. Customers also have exclusive access the brand’s Eloise embossed croc tote ($495), as well its matching pouch, wallet and keychain. Lightweight (and SoCal weather-friendly) 100 percent cashmere scarves ($195) are also exclusive to the store.
ZEN: Inside Elizabeth and James L.A. flagship at the store. (Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth and James)
The same brick walls and wooden floors that gave former tenant Johnny Was its earthy, boho feel, were given new life with fresh coats of white paint, filling the space with a bright, clean vibe while allowing the organic texture and wood grain to shine through.
Marble slabs and pale wood fixtures affixed with stainless steel hardware display a collection of handmade Japanese paper notebooks, pottery, sage bundles and soaps (all for sale) as well as vintage decorative items evocative of the space’s unique blend of California-inspired Americana (a vintage copy of Kerouac’s Big Sur, a guide to Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic California works) and ‘60s Japanese culture (black-and-white vintage ink sketches of a Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, an authentic Japanese curtain).
LOOKING IN: Exterior of Elizabeth and James L.A. flagship store. (Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth and James)
“Mary-Kate and I have always viewed Elizabeth and James as a lifestyle brand and are excited to finally share our vision for the ‘world of Elizabeth and James,’” said Ashley.
Indeed, the modern arty decor (coffee table books on Picasso, Brancusi and Noguchi are sprinkled about) looks as if it could have been plucked straight from an Elizabeth and James mood board, as do the L.A.-inspired pieces from local flea and design showrooms Orange, Galerie Half and Gibson. The holistic vision, extending to the store furnishings and curated items, mirrors the approach the Olsens took to the first store for their higher-end brand, The Row, which opened in spring 2014 on Melrose Place.
Added Mary-Kate, “Storytelling is important to us and was the foundation for our design vision. We curated the space to create a welcoming environment for our customer.”
OLD IS NEW AGAIN: A vintage kimono from Spanish Moss at Elizabeth and James L.A. flagship store. (Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth and James)
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