When Garrett Leight discovered 2-decade-old Oliver Peoples eyeglass frames in a retired preppy style in his mother Cindy's garage in Sacramento on Thanksgiving 2008, it was just the prompt he needed to open his own business.
Leight, the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight, had worked in the family business for a few years, first as an intern and then as a full-time employee. But finding the vintage frames led him to open A. Kinney Court in Venice to draw on a cache of dead-stock Oliver Peoples eyeglasses that had been squirreled away in storage units, including a one-off sculptural pair made in 1987 for Andy Warhol.
A. Kinney Court represents why Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a bright spot in Los Angeles' tough retail climate. Named for a neighboring courtyard, the boutique resides on a stretch from Venice Boulevard north to Westminster Avenue that features retailers -- including Mona Moore shoes, Tortoise housewares and Linus bikes -- that stock merchandise you're unlikely to find anywhere else in the city.
Along with dead-stock eyeglasses, A. Kinney carries new Oliver Peoples frames and others from KBL Eyewear, Thierry Lasry and Mykita, plus locally made shoes and apparel from Gourmet, Becca Moon and LnA.
Just a few years ago, Leight was more preoccupied with tennis than with hawking chic eyewear -- he had a full tennis scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- but eventually fashion pulled him back in. He joined the family optometry business after dabbling in footwear with Gourmet sneakers.
"Fashion has always been in my life," says the 25-year-old Venice resident. "I have a knack in that industry -- I can talk and do sales. I'm following my dad's footsteps. And my mom was a beast in sales and a great optician."
The 800-square-foot store boasts a modish "un-designed" look featuring molded plywood and unfinished wood fixtures -- though it was designed by Ilan Dei Studio, whose projects have included Oliver Peoples' sleek Madison Avenue flagship. Leight says the scheme is influenced by the beach's sand dunes and waves. Undulating plywood displays invoke Venice's skate parks.
Dead-stock Oliver Peoples frames on offer include the O'Malley ($355) and Finley ($325) plus the company's first three frames, circa 1987 and '88: the 501, 505 and 506, which were based on vintage horn-rimmed styles and can be customized with sunglass lenses. A. Kinney Court offers the option of made-in-America sunglass lenses that can be cut to order.
The store also carries new frames, which include $120 KBL metal aviators and $375 frames from Thierry Lasry.
If much of A. Kinney Court's stock is a family affair, the theme continues with LnA T-shirts designed by Garrett's cousin April Leight ($55-$150). Shoe designer Becca Moon, who also works in A. Kinney Court, sells her locally made boots($450-$650). Gourmet men's dress-up sneakers sell from $60 to $150.
"I love the people Abbott Kinney attracts, from 25-year-old actor-models to the older architects -- they let their art and style shine through," says Leight, who's often in the shop seven days a week.
1423 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 392-3400. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
V Vintage: This jewel-box vintage store has moved to a larger space in the same building it had been in and is now open to the public during regular shopping hours, instead of by appointment only. Owner Jill Garland features the canon: Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Lanvin, along with American designers such as Kenneth Jay Lane. Prices start at $95 for jewelry to $225 for clothing.
427 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 786-8277. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. After 3 p.m. and weekends are still by appointment.
Warren-Tricomi Ongoing through Feb. 28: The Melrose Avenue salon is introducing its Brazilian Blowout treatment for a $300 promotional price (regular price is $385), including maintenance shampoo and conditioner. The Brazilian Blowout is a 90-minute process that reduces curls and waves without harsh chemicals and frizz.
8327 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 651-4545. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Nelson J Ongoing through Jan. 31: The Beverly Hills salon offers a New Year's special featuring its Make Scents deep conditioning treatment, which is free with purchase of a haircut or color service (value $85, cannot be combined with other offers). The 15-minute low-heat flat-iron treatment is formulated from jojoba, açai and coconut oil and comes in six scents: coconut, rosemary-mint, mango, lemon grass, green tea and flora.
350 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 274-1553. 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Marc Edward Skincare Ongoing through Feb. 28: Valentine-themed deal lets you buy two facials (starting at $155) and get one free along with a complimentary skin analysis and an aromatherapy candle.
7985 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Daily by appointment. (213) 705-8899.