For the most fastidious of vintage fiends, the first stop is the legendary Resurrection on Melrose. Their impeccable holiday selection has something for everyone — try the vintage Gucci leather journal with a Gucci sterling silver-and-gold pen for dad (or one of your scribbling buddies), the Hermès jewelry box or YSL gold-chain belt for your womanfriend, or the Gucci umbrella with wooden handle for mom (or grandma). There’s also the Pucci, Gucci, and Hermès ties, and the circa 1985 Air Jordans your boyfriend will never take off. When in doubt, choose from the rare selection of fashion books on everyone from Westwood to Halston to Rudi Gernreich.
Your best bet for finding gifts you won’t see anywhere else is the enclave of Silverlake. The recently opened Zanzabelle — a vintage-inspired general store that specializes in ’50s collectible tchotchkes and memorabilia — is the perfect fix for those obsessed with nostalgia. The limited-edition ceramic bunnies by Japanese artist Momoyo Torimitsu, the pretty and whimsical plate sets, and melting snowman canisters by artist Marcel Dzama make for great kooky gifts. Afterward, stop in next door at Patty Faye’s adorable boutique. The tasty cream-and-gold Gauge sweaters there make a great gift for any fashion-forward woman, as do the wait-listed Twelfth Street slip dresses. There’s also the two-room beauty section that includes Erbaviva‘s mommy-to-be products, the entire Sugar Bath collection, and Mariebelle‘s line of chocolate products, which come already gift wrapped. Over by Sunset Junction, stop in at Secret Headquarters. Even if you’re not a comic book connoisseur, you won’t go wrong with the wide selection of Marvel, DC, and Fantagraphics comics that your nephew will love you for. If you really want to spoil him, go for the collector’s editions of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes or Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays.
The hands-down best Los Angeles shopping destination is the ever-growing Third Street. Easily the busiest shop around the holidays is OK, a bookstore/gift shop known for its exquisite selection of architecture, photography, and art books — the staff recommends Robert Polidori’s Havana as well as Ed Ruscha’s Then and Now. But its many specialty gift items, such as the vintage backgammon board and Commes des Garçons wallets, passport holders, and makeup bags in varying colors and sizes, make for the best surprises. The Luisa Cevese rubber bags and wallets next door at Noodle Stories are also long-time faves of Angeleno fashionistas. Next, head two blocks down to the newly opened Milk. This one-stop boutique boasts everything from Archipelago "destination" candles (try Havana, Shanghai, or Tuscany), Jurlique men’s travel-sized pack of grooming products, Patricia Underwood headbands, Geren Ford peacock feather-print lingerie, Made With Love By Shiri hand-crocheted berets with matching scarves (in the cutest color combos), Woo baby hipster tees, classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers (great for your retro boyfriend), a well-edited selection of coffee table books such as The Stanley Kubrick Archives (great for film aficionados) and The Complete Costume History (perfect for your stylist or designer friends) — both of which come impressively packaged. For jewelry, there’s Alexis Bittar Lucite bangles and ribbon and gold chain-link necklaces, Candace Ang brass chains with animal pendants (try the elephant for a ’60s feel), Pink Paisley oversized Edie Sedgwick-style earrings, and Bare precious-stone necklaces with matching earrings for a really spoiled woman. If all else fails, it’s hard to go wrong with any piece by Jill Stuart, Thailand-based designer Sretsis, Autumn Star, Catherine Malandrino, Derek Lam, or oversized cardigan-dresses by Karoo.
Finally, over in Marina del Rey, the new bikini Islands boutique makes the most shockingly flattering hemp bikinis customizable to your giftee’s most complementary hue and style. After all, what says LA more than a custom-made environmentally conscious bikini?
-Illaria Loren Urbanati
Candace Ang necklace
vintage Gucci umbrella
1985 Air Jordans
Commes des Garçons notebook wallets
Geren Ford lingerie
books at OK
comic books at Secret Headquarters
vintage books at Resurrection