Ooh La L.A.

A French store features all things SoCal


What fashion and design objects typify L.A. right now? For the Paris department store Le Bon Marché, the city is summed up by Bauer pottery, a Kitson tank T-shirt with five-point stars, and Asian-inspired children’s wear by the—huh?—Aspen designer Bonnie Young. “It’s not just a shopping experience, it’s an emotional experience,” says store representative Isabelle Picard of “Paris-Los Angeles,” an art show and shopping event that will run at Le Bon Marché from late August through mid-October. Located in the Saint-Germain neighborhood, Le Bon Marché, one of the world’s first and most elegant department stores, is almost as dedicated to art as it is to fashion. Contemporary installations rotate in a space designed by Gustave Eiffel; its giant skylights remind you that the establishment opened before the advent of incandescent lighting. The art element of “Paris-Los Angeles” on display in ten street-level windows will center on images of palm trees that Liz Goldwyn, the jewelry designer and filmmaker, conceptualized. An original song to be played inside and outside the building is being composed by musician-producer Money Mark. “It will be upbeat, like the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas,” Mark says. Although Paris seems as enamored of Angeleno artists as it is of UCLA and J Brand jeans—the Centre Pompidou mounted a mammoth show of postwar L.A. art three years ago—it will be goods, not grand ideas, that draw shoppers to the exhibition. The items that Le Bon Marché selected are a mix of the clichéd and the unexpected. Sunglasses come from L.A. Eyeworks, Oliver Peoples, and the lesser-known Barton Perreira. Uggs may have originated in Australia, but damned if they aren’t still a staple in Malibu, so they’re included, too. Le Bon Marché did its homework, sniffing out Dermalogica skin care products, Rockabye Baby CDs, and Joe Cariati glassware. With at least seven denim companies represented and plenty of hoodies, leggings, and Gothic rocker jewelry, Le Bon Marché’s reflection of the City of Angels is accurate—in some instances, painfully so.

Photograph by Le Bon Marché