Monique Lhuillier is growing her mini-empire beyond the Chantilly lace, crepe de Chine and satin bridal gowns that made her famous. When the L.A. designer opens her 4,200-square-foot flagship Wednesday on Melrose Place, she will also unveil an expanded ready-to-wear line and a handbag collection including clutches made from ostrich, caiman and snake. And in December, she’ll add a collection of china, a collaboration with Royal Doulton.

The store’s interior features embossed wallpaper, dark ash wood furnishings, gray limestone floors and brushed stainless steel fixtures. The salon and reception room are furnished in a simple Midcentury Modern style, with vintage sculpture and pieces from Paul Evans, Edward Wormley and Milo Baughman, and period-style furnishings by Karl Springer and Donald Desky. The boutique “is very clean, but when you look closely, it’s all about the materials,” Lhuillier says. “They make it so luxurious.”

Such luxe comes with a hefty price tag. Ready-to-wear pieces are up to $14,000 for a cheetah print gown with floral tulle overlay; bridal gowns can reach $30,000. 8485 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, (323) 655-1088, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, www.moniquel



Welcome Hunters The owners of this Chinatown boutique, Jason Gillis and Robin Cervar, take a curatorial approach, featuring U.S. exclusives from avant-garde Scandinavian labels such Denmark’s Best Behavior (inventor of the “Turnaround” top, which can be worn as a dress, scarf, top or poncho) and Iceland’s Mundi, which makes hoodie ponchos with eyeholes. Other edgy pieces include gray silk-and-cashmere dresses from Danish designer Jenny Hellström ($235) and funky lab coats covered in orange and green butterflies ($285). 454B Jung Jing Road, Los Angeles, (213) 687-9905, noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Benefit Cosmetics Two ex-models, Jean and Jane Ford, founded Benefit Cosmetics more than 30 years ago, but the San Francisco company really took off when an exotic dancer in the Mission District requested a custom tint for her upper body. Voilà! The wildly popular “Benetint” lip and cheek stain was born. Their first L.A-area store stocks not only the $28 tint but also the full collection of retro-inspired cosmetics. 1210A Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 458-6800, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. 5 p.m. Sundays.

Threadbare Valley girl Amanda Kain does the dirty work for vintage junkies, scouring warehouses and estate sales to find retro clothes for men and women. Most items are from the ‘50s and ‘60s and are about $40. Older, mint-condition items can be higher -- such as a $300 flapper dress. Look for Kain’s favorites: silk ‘60s column dresses, oversized tunics and Art Deco belts. Kain also sells modern labels including Madison Marcus, Fresh Karma and her namesake cashmere T-shirt line. 22037 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 712-9221, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


Apothia + Givaudan 1007 Fashion Fragrance Premiere Saturday: Mingle, sniff and dab at Apothia, the in-store beauty boutique at Fred Segal, which partners with the perfume house Givaudan to present the global fragrance trends and debut five custom fragrances. Fred Segal Melrose, 8118 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets are $50. 8:30 to 9 a.m. Continental breakfast at Mauro’s Cafe, 9 to 10 a.m.; fragrance presentation, 10 a.m. to noon, shopping with perfumers. For tickets, go to

Vintage Fashion Roadshow II Wednesday: Hosted by Doris Raymond, owner of the vintage boutique the Way We Wore, Fashion Group International’s Vintage Fashion Roadshow II is a play on the “Antiques Roadshow” TV show. Here, “Project Runway” contestant Nick Verreos moderates a panel of fashion professionals -- including editor Elizabeth Stewart and costume designer Arianne Phillips, and attendees can get one item appraised. The Way We Wore, 334 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. Admission, $55 ($35 for FGI members); admission with one appraisal, $80 ($60 for members). 6:30 p.m., cocktails; 7 p.m. panel discussion; 8 p.m., live appraisals. For RSVP information, call (323) 687-4131.

Macy’s Annual Community Shopping Day Saturday: Donate $5 to Hillsides, a Pasadena charity for children in foster care, and receive a ticket to Macy’s Annual Community Shopping Day, where you can take 10% to 20% off merchandise and pre-shop at a discount. For tickets, call Carrie Espinoza at (323) 254-2274, Ext. 254, or e-mail,

Free Natural Makeovers Wednesday and Friday: Select Whole Foods stores offer makeovers by Mineral Fusion, maker of talc-free pressed powder, bronzer and lipstick. Wednesday: Whole Foods Market 740 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, (805) 777-4730, 4 to 7 p.m. Friday: Whole Foods Market Westwood, 1050 S. Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, 1 to 4 p.m. (310) 824-0858. To sign up for a makeover in Thousand Oaks, e-mail elyse.ditzel; for Westwood, heidi.engel@whole


Carolina Herrera bridal Thursday to Oct. 17: Preview the latest bridal confections from Carolina Herrera at Saks Fifth Avenue, 9600 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 887-5509, by appointment only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury Today though Jan. 6: See an original Gucci “Bouvier” handbag (inspired by Jackie O.), along with 149 other items from varying walks of life. Orange County’s Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday; to 8 p.m. Thursday.


Shoptoberfest Today and Monday: Everything is 50% off at Harmony Lane on Beverly Drive, including LaROK dresses and jackets and looks from Plenty, Voom, Vita, T-Bags, Tracy Reese and Ernest Sewn Jeans. 189 S. Beverly Drive, (310) 777-8888. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bottega Veneta Today: This ultra-luxury brand’s outlet marks down its fall ’06 handbags by as much as 30%. “Icon” bags are $679, down from $969. Bags crafted from exotic skins are excluded from the sale, but the label’s ready-to-wear is half off. 36500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, (951) 849-0348. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m Sunday through Thursday; to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.