A new crop of brick and mortar shops has quietly opened in Venice, along the unlikely stretch of Lincoln Boulevard between Palms and Venice boulevards that most commuters speed by en route to Marina del Rey or LAX. An alternative to the increasingly commercial Abbot Kinney Boulevard retail strip, these artfully curated boutiques are almost designed to be missed — doubling as hipster destinations for those in the know. All of these boutiques place an emphasis on local designers or California sources — a welcome return to the authenticity and eclecticism that hit at the core of Venice's original design vibe.
The sister store of San Francisco-based General Store, the brand's second retail outpost features a well-edited mix of new and vintage finds, including clothing, books, food, furniture and household accessories. The difference is that this time owners Mason St. Peter and Serena Mitnik-Miller have teamed up with local tastemakers Hannah Henderson and John Moore of the Pop Studio retail branding and marketing agency in Culver City to give the shop a unique local flavor.
General Store's aim is to focus on "a handmade, high-quality, local and small run ethos," Henderson says. "We find our wares wherever we can but definitely with an emphasis on local craftspeople. And we gravitate towards things that are both beautiful and useful."
Notable Los Angeles-based goods include minimalist 14-karat gold bar earrings by Kathleen Whitaker, hand-stitched leather shoes with recycled rubber soles by Beatrice Valenzuela, hand-dyed indigo blankets by Lookout & Wonderland, TW Workshop ceramics by Tracy Wilkinson and cereal from Granola Project.
1801 Lincoln Blvd., (310) 751-6393, http://www.visitgeneralstore.com
Tradesmen Los Angeles
Gap veterans Ruben Leal and Doug Behner, who both worked in the company's visual merchandising division in San Francisco, relocated to set up their own men's shop in Venice. With a focus on quality, made-in-the-USA brands that they personally love and wear, the boutique resembles a casually dapper guy's dream closet.
Menswear and gear stocked at the shop include local brand M.Nii's '50s-style surf shorts, reissue workwear shirts by Los Angeles-based label Five Brother, the Portland Collection from Pendleton Woolen Mills, waxed cotton rucksacks with leather and brass detailing by Archival Clothing of Oregon and Tellason's handcrafted selvage denim jeans from San Francisco. There are also select colognes, grooming products and room fragrances.
"We want to bring soul, a personal touch, back to the [shopping] experience," Leal says.
1807 Lincoln Blvd., (424) 835-4397 http://www.facebook.com/TradesmenLos Angeles
Deus Ex Machina
There is no shortage of testosterone at the first U.S. location of Australian brand Deus Ex Machina, at the corner of Lincoln and Venice boulevards. The store resembles a gigantic L.A. man cave, filled with hand-glassed surfboards, the company's menswear collection and custom-built motorbikes favored by the likes of Orlando Bloom. Motorcycle exhaust mingles with the scent of strong cups of joe from Handsome Coffee Roasters. The shop's weekly "Sunday Mass" event adds tacos to the menu and features film screenings and more.
Deus Ex Machina's line includes essentials, such as logo tees, trucker caps, jeans, oiled canvas jackets and riding gloves. Also in the mix are felt hats handmade in Venice by Westbrook Maker, grooming products from Baxter of California, classic Red Wing work boots, sunglasses by Encinitas-based Raen Optics and timepieces by Newport Beach brand Tsovet.
1001 Venice Blvd., (888) 515-3387, us.deuscustoms.com/
Sacred Door/All for the Mountain
Local artist and designer Carly Margolis describes her sculptural jewelry line, All for the Mountain, as "ancient meets futuristic." A necklace from her Elevators collection "could be either an Aztec temple or a sci-fi relic," she says. The Elevators theme was inspired by the idea that every event "is an opportunity to rise up and elevate oneself spiritually," according to her website.
All of Margolis' work has a spiritual, New Age bent. Pieces from her Mothership collection, centered around a breast-like shape meant to evoke the power of motherhood, were featured in the fall-winter 2012 runway presentations of New York City fashion designer Mara Hoffman and renowned French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel.
Margolis is working on a series of paintings for the Ojai Rancho Inn. Some of her new artwork is done on silk, which she also plans to fashion into a line of muumuus.
Earlier this month, Margolis opened the space at the front of her studio as a gallery called the Sacred Door, dedicated to displaying local art and music on the first Saturday of every month.
On the third Sunday of the month, Margolis transforms the space into a pop-up "Venice Bazaar," where her own art and jewelry are sold, alongside vintage fashion and wares by California designers.
2118 Lincoln Blvd., (310) 396-4242, allforthemountain.tumblr.comCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times