Nicolas, next door

Times Staff Writer

Coming off the most sensational runway show of the fall season, Nicolas Ghesquiere is at last opening a Balenciaga store in Los Angeles, only the second in the U.S. Expect all the sculptured “Star Trek” meets garden party frocks, haute gladiator sandals and floral print bags from the spring collection, currently being modeled in ads by actress Jennifer Connelly. (Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett are also fans of the label, especially for the red carpet.)

The location is just east of San Vicente Boulevard on Melrose Avenue, adding to a booming designer retail area that includes Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and soon Alexander McQueen.

The sleek boutique was created by Ghesquiere in collaboration with French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, fusing contemporary architecture with natural elements. Barring delays, the store will open Monday. Look for a profile of Ghesquiere in next week’s Image.


Balenciaga, 8670 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (310) 854-0557.


Steven Alan Fourteen years after opening his first Manhattan storefront,storefront Steven Alan is heading west. Don’t let the Robertson Boulevard address fool you; this shop carries classics too subdued for Paris’ and Lindsay’s tastes -- staples such as Alan’s button-down Boyfriend Shirt ($158) and East West apron dress ($255), both in crisp cotton. The boys will be spring-shower ready in a waxed cotton slicker ($395). 638 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 854-1814. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Kitson LA Outlet Never one to miss a trend, the Kitson crew has jumped on the pop-up bandwagon with a temporary space on the O.C. coast. Goods from La Rok, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Missoni and Betsey Johnson are 30% to 70% off. Clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children are on offer for the next few months. Then, the store expects to close. But fret not -- plans for a permanent, retail-priced O.C. outpost are in the works. The Bluffs Shopping Center, 1334 Bison Ave., Newport Beach. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Gogosha Optique With a personal collection of 80 pairs, Julia Gogosha-Clark knows her frames. Sick of the loud logos that clutter L.A. faces, she’s bringing six under-the-radar lines to Silver Lake. Limited-production eye candy includes neon pairs by London label Kirk Originals ($425 to $545) and resurrected 1960s sun styles from Oliver Goldsmith ($360). Good news for eyeglass snobs. 3208 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 660-1122. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; Monday and Tuesday by appointment.


Creatures of Comfort The online version of this Melrose Avenue boutique has all fall merchandise marked down 50% to 60%. Nine pages of deals include Karen Walker’s trendy blue star belt, $130, down from $229, and jelly sandals from Melissa -- a ridiculous steal at $18. Buy three or more items and get 70% off the entire order.

Switch Autumn dresses, pants, tops and accessories are as much as 80% off at this expertly edited boutique. Silk sailor tops by Gerren Ford, formerly $240, are now less than a Benjamin. Quirky patent wedge loafers from Dolce Vita were cute at $110 but are fantastic at $40. 238 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 860-1650. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tadashi at FIDM It’s wedding season, kid, and you need something to wear. Every other year, FIDM’s Scholarship Store receives a donation of new dresses from Tadashi. Pieces from the celeb-favorite can run $600, but FIDM is offering long and short styles in rainbow-brights for a mere $40. Generally, the goods are in mint condition, with a few items marked with slight imperfections. Store proceeds go to designers in need. 919 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 624-1200. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


Maxine Dillon trunk show and party Today: Budding designer Maxine Dillon is celebrating her spring and fall 2008 collections with a fiesta. Feast on tacos, sip mojitos and get down to some bumpin’ beats while perusing this season’s offerings of cool blue and beige silk dresses, tops and vests. Beware: Mexican food, liquor and fitting rooms don’t mix. Aero & Co. 8403 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. (323) 653-4651. 1 to 5 p.m.

Larchmont Village Sidewalk Sale Today: This quaint throwback is a nod to the sidewalk sales of yore. Goods from area stores including Spirituali, Noni, Pickett Fences, Kicks, Flicka and Larchmont Beauty are 50% to 75% off. Larchmont Boulevard between 1st Street and Beverly Boulevard., Los Angeles. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Splendor of Asia Friday through March 27: The works of Nobuaki Tomita and Eunsuk Yoon -- fashion royalty in their native Japan and Korea -- will be featured in a fashion show, workshop and corresponding exhibit. Korean Cultural Center, 5505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 936-7141. Opening reception and fashion show, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday; workshop, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; exhibit, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.