Abbot Kinney fashion shopping scene loses several stores

Abbot Kinney fashion shopping scene loses several stores
Sales associate Lucy Bull fixes a display with an embroidered runway boot by Ann Demeulemeester as store owner Lisa Bush checks inventory at III Luxury Collective, on Main Street in Venice. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Lately, there's been a bit of a style exodus from Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

Pamela Barish, Mona Moore, LFrank, Koko Venice and Minnie T's have all packed it up and left Abbot Kinney, leaving a hole for the fashion forward. The handful of shops, all independently owned, are considered emblematic of the individual, creative and unique flavor of earlier days on the street.


Three of them banded together and opened in early February around the corner on Main Street in the space formerly occupied by the vintage decorative arts shop Obsolete, which relocated to Culver City. Pamela Barish, a fashion designer with her own line; Mona Moore, which carries high-end shoes and accessories; and LFrank, owned by jewelry designer Liseanne Frankfurt, complement one another as part of what they've named the III Luxury Collective.

Barish, who was considered a pioneer on Abbot Kinney, opened her shop in 2003 and became a sought-out destination. She noted that she had loved every second on Abbot Kinney, but had been discussing a move with the others for a few years before the right place finally became available. "We have a very European sensibility," she said. "We all have a very similar clientele, and we offer a very old-world shopping experience."

Mona Moore, owned by Lisa Bush, opened on Abbot Kinney in 2009 and instantly became a popular go-to for the shoe-obsessed. Carrying brands including Margiela, Haider Ackermann, Robert Clergerie and Chloé, it too was a destination.

Frankfurt likened the new location of LFrank to a shopping district. She said that her clientele has followed. "People are excited about the new spaces and there has been a lot of excitement about the move," she said.

Parking has been a bonus for everyone, including Koko Venice owner Marianne Kooimans, who designs her own line of clothing and shoes and in April moved farther north, to Main Street in Santa Monica. She is excited about a street that she maintains is far more caring.

"There is parking for shoppers, the landlord is kind and there is a real mix — all the things that create a positive experience for everyone," she said. She said that although Abbot Kinney had been good to her, she had looked forward to a shift. "I noticed my regular customers started to get annoyed with the crowds of tourists, drinks in hand, looking for a place to party and be seen," she said.

Minnie T's, a 13-year veteran on Abbot Kinney, moved to Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica in August, taking her 100-year-old dormer windows with her. (Vince is slated to move into the vacated space on Abbot Kinney this summer.)

"Minnie T's serves a unique customer who is sophisticated and bohemian with a creative sensibility," said owner Barbara Phillips. "I loved Abbot Kinney and it was heartbreaking to leave, but my client wasn't there anymore."

George Francisco, co-chairman of the business committee for the Venice Neighborhood Council, said, "It's always a loss for Abbot Kinney when businesses decide to move, but in this case most remained in Venice, which is a positive. And realistically, it's all part of the cycle of a busy, commerce-driven area."


On the move in Venice:

Pamela Barish, 224 Main St., Venice (310) 314-4490

Mona Moore, 222 Main St., Venice, (310) 452-4070

LFrank Jewelry, 226 Main St., Venice, (310) 452-0771

Koko-Marianne Kooimans, 2703 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 392-7770

Minnie T's, 1624 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 664-3600