Ask anyone which street is the beating heart of luxury fashion in Los Angeles, and the answer is always the same: Rodeo Drive. While most guidebooks and style itineraries will include a visit to this venerable stretch of high-end stores as a “must see,” there is another swanky block that should get that designation, too. And that’s Melrose Place. This quiet, tree-lined street offers a distinctly different vibe. While Rodeo Drive easily lends itself to the leisurely art of window-shopping, Melrose Place is more subdued. Luxury storefronts are tucked away behind climbing vines and thoughtfully landscaped gardens; aromas of top-drawer perfume exhale from open doorways. Yes, it’s more hushed and lush, but make no mistake — it’s just as ritzy.
In the past few weeks, new stores have been popping up on (or near) Melrose Place with the speed of popcorn zapping away in a microwave. First was By Far, purveyor of nostalgia-laced shoes and bags. Then there was Wolf & Badger, the brick-and-mortar manifestation of the retailer’s online marketplace that stocks an array of independent designer wares. And of course, on June 7, the highly anticipated Adidas x Gucci arrived on the block, sending the place in a frenzy of activity. Two events, one on Friday for the celeb and another on Saturday for the general public, feted the arrival of this highly anticipated union. Here are some deets about each one of these newcomers and what to expect.
Hailing from Bulgaria, twin sisters Valentina Bezuhanova and Sabina Gyosheva, along with their lifelong friend Denitsa Bumbarova, started the brand back in 2016. The philosophy was to create shoes that were not only comfortable enough for running ‘round town all day, but also stylish, versatile and eco-friendly. Made with deadstock fabrics, the brand’s lineup of shoes and ’90s-inspired shoulder bags quickly ballooned in popularity, and last week, they finally touched down in Los Angeles.
Designed by DE-YAN, the multidisciplinary design studio responsible for dreaming up electrifying exhibits for industry giants like Louis Vuitton and Fenty, the interior is awash in pale creams and whites. It’s a light-filled oasis of calm — imperial green marble and travertine stone flooring, curved textured walls and sunshine-yellow beams. Playful restraint is the brand’s métier, and here is where this is most evident.
By Far’s block heels and handbags are perched on white-plaster pedestals across the space, and showcased, like artwork, on subtle shelf displays. In the VIP room tucked off to the side, you’ll find even more goodies. In contrast to the rest of the store, this little hideaway bursts in tangerine-orange, showing off the brand’s more colorful lexicon. “Initially, we created a shoe line that was basic, soft, and extremely comfortable,” the founders said in a 2019 interview with COOLs. “Now, we’re going crazy with colors and textures […]”
Wolf & Badger
Whenever I’m in a fashion rut, Wolf & Badger’s online retailer is where I go for a dose of inspiration. The shop is the brainchild of brothers George and Henry Graham, who launched the marketplace back in 2010 and earned numerous accolades as one of Britain’s best boutiques at the time. Since then, the brand opened its flagship store on Dover Street in Mayfair as well as an outpost in New York City. And now, it’s growing its brick-and-mortar footprint in — you guessed it! — Los Angeles.
You’ll find the storefront near luxury consignment The RealReal’s glass-walled showroom. Stepping inside feels like seeing a favorite celebrity in real life. Here they are in the flesh: the brands I’ve ogled through my screen. Inside the meticulously curated store, you’ll spy labels like ECRU, NARY and Julia Allert as well as a well-edited selection of homeware and jewelry. But the store offers so much more. There’s a nook dripping with plants, and another chock-full of funky prints and posters, and ceiling-height shelves well-stocked with a rainbow of stationery. And you bet you’ll find plenty of those body candles we’ve been seeing everywhere on our socials lately.
In short, it’s sort of a one-stop shop for scooping up gratifying wares you didn’t think you needed, and introducing yourself to some lesser-known labels. Final thought: Although Wolf & Badger’s assortment of garb in Los Angeles isn’t nearly as impressive as what you’ll likely find online (the website carries over 1,000 designers from 56 countries), there’s something to be said about satiating our post-pandemic desire to frolic in the real world.
Adidas x Gucci
It has truly been one of the most highly anticipated collaborations, a melding of two brands, each iconic in their own way. First, adidas — the sportswear giant that needs no introduction. And Gucci, another industry powerhouse, one that’s been soaring to new heights under the direction of Italian genius Alessandro Michele. Adidas may not be Gucci’s first activewear union (the luxury house teamed up with North Face just a year ago), but it is its most cheerful.
You only need to peek into the pop-up’s ivy-covered shopfront to experience this joie de vivre. The inside is kitted out with bold, trefoil wallpaper and dizzying, kaleidoscopic colors — in other words, catnip for content creators. As for the collection itself, it’s prep-sport meets retro. Michele leaned heavily on 80s nostalgia, tapping into his own memories of the brand (he’s an ardent collector of adidas gazelle sneakers). This translated to vibrant joggers, sweats and shorts emblazoned with the brands’ hybridized logos.
Yes, there are tons of gym-to-street staples, but you’ll also find après-workout pieces that you would never want to break a sweat in (though I would argue that even the sportiest of adidas x Gucci items are not reeaalllyyy for high-intensity cardio. Like, perfectly tailored jacquard shirt and matching shorts and skirt featuring the lateral three stripes, trefoil-embroidered knitwear, and so much more. In terms of accessories: shoulder and duffle bags finished with a green-and-red web, bucket hats and clogs featuring a trefoil leather patch, and of course, gussied up adidas gazelle sneakers. Overall, the collection is fun and upbeat and perfect for letting your 80s spirit run amok.