Church, One of L.A.’s Great Boutiques, Moves to New Location

Rodney Burns and David Malvaney have catered to the celebrated and chic for two decades, in varied incarnations and now on Beverly Boulevard

Most Hollywood folk, let’s face it, worship at the altar of fame and money. The longtime loyal customers of Church boutique, which opened originally in 2009, have a more singular kind of holy fervor. They venerate unique furniture, fashion and jewelry at this one-of-a-kind emporium, newly relocated in an expanded lighter and brighter location at Beverly Boulevard near Crescent Heights.

Many have extolled the sanctum and style of Church owners Rodney Burn and David Malvaney, two artistic types with years of retail experience, whose original boutique was filled with unique fashion pieces by young avant-garde designers. It was so radically eclectic than any other high-end store at the time — including both of their former retail employer, Maxfield. Devoted customers flocked en masse when he and Mulvaney relocated to Melrose into their 3600 square foot space. There they stayed until a few weeks ago.

“Our lease was up,” says Burns, tall and lanky in his traditional dirty blond dreads, stone-colored, worn-in (and probably expensive) sweatshirt with more necklaces than you can count. “And the foot traffic on Melrose isn’t what it was. Our walls were grey, there were few windows. It started to feel dark and heavy.”

The new space, which opened in early April, is bigger at 5000 sq. feet and with windows leading to a long narrow adjoining garden and industrial exposed beams, concentrates more on furnishings and home goods (lots of wood, white, and naturals).

“During the pandemic,” explains Malvaney, “we got a lot of calls for home décor and art.”

We’re seated at a 19th-century solid bronze table with a smoky gold leaf top. It’s matched with a leopard-covered bench.

“We source it from all over. Vintage dealers. Or they find us via word of mouth.”

The walls are covered with art pieces: vintage mirrors, and African masks from the Congo. Mannequins scattered about are attired in leather pants, fur vests, chainmail dresses, vintage silk kimonos, and black Indian chairs. In a room to the back are heads adorned with chainmail work 1920s-style headpieces (one is all pearls) by model/designer Sedona Legge, who appeared at the opening draped only in her own open-work chainmail dress and caused quite a sensation.

There are several glass jewelry cases in this environment, glittering art pieces in themselves. Many, are constructed in silver mixed with clear or black diamonds — like a diamond-encrusted shark tooth pendant — with an expensive punk sensibility.

“Jewelry is David’s forte,” says Burns. “People seek us out because we have unusual, hard to find, things. It’s a bit more rock n’ roll than other stores. We cater to a lot of music business people.”

To whit, Lenny Kravitz is seated across the room waiting for Burns, his longtime friend and stylist. Famed acolytes also include Barbra Streisand, Pink, Rihanna, Anderson Paak, Steven Tyler, Halle Berry Kylie and Kendall Jenner — and the Saudi Royal Family, because — why not?

Church co-owner Rodney Burns with stylist/designer Philip Bloch

The overall vibe? “We’re maximalists!” laughs Burns. Gazing around as a tessellated horn and mother-of-pearl credenza, an onyx bar car, an elephant bar (a sunken bar within an elephant-shaped table), Memphis-style sheepskin tusk chairs), that’s fairly obvious.

“I mean, look at me! I can’t stop! I shan’t stop! We really do seek out the strange. We’re on a quest to find the most unusual things because we know our clientele.”

Opening night featured folks of all ages, and all kinds of looks, but the throughline: eclectic, adorned, and stylized. These people who give their personal style a lot of attention could easily fit into the movie Babylon.

“We’re outside the box,” notes Burns. “But not too. We still want things to be accessible.” How do they keep from taking a lot of their one-of-a-kind stock to their individual homes? “It’s a daily struggle,” laughs Mulvaney.

There’s an overall feeling of magic in the air — appropriate for a place named Church. The jewelry, the candles, the clothes, the art, there’s the scent of exotic talisman about it.

Speaking of scent, both Burns and Mulvaney are obsessed with (and wearing) a new scent created by a Turkish friend called 7.

“It’s not in yet,” explains Burns. “And I’m almost out of my sample bottle. I call her every day! All she says is, ‘Soon, darling.’”

Neither has a clue what’s in it, but both smell amazing. Like smoky incense from an ancient Turkish temple. You can just imagine Lenny Kravitz wearing it (he probably already is). There’s also gardenia wafting from the concrete candles Mulvaney makes himself, attaching large crystals to the top of the weighty jar.

“We can’t keep them in stock,” he notes. “It’s our bread and butter. People buy them from all over the world, even without having smelled them.”

Maximalist minds think alike.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.