Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake is an essential part of the connective tissue that links downtown and Hollywood. Its rising profile has become meteoric in recent months, with a fresh influx of boutiques that might make some long-term residents and mom-and-pop business owners view the upscale newcomers with a welcoming yet understandably skeptical eye.
Its restaurant scene is changing too. Trois Familia, the casual French Mexican cross-cultural concept from marquee chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, immediately started packing in daytime crowds in what used to be strip mall staple Alegria.
More arrivals are on tap, such as Reservoir, a home accessories and women's fashion emporium from two New York City transplants in a 4,700-square-foot building designed by Studio Hus in collaboration with Jason Koharik. So far, however, European labels are coexisting with retail stalwarts, including Surplus Value Center supply center and the 99 Cents Only Store, and Tacos Delta continues to do a brisk business.
The ever-expanding range of goods along this undulating drag means good news for holiday shoppers who can come here and skip the mall. And while this story covers a long swath of Sunset, don't forget to venture a bit farther west to visit the Los Angeles County Store for its selection of locally made goods (4333 Sunset Blvd., 323-928-2781).
Hoover Street to Lucile Avenue
The word has long been out about the groovy cluster around Sunset Junction with neighborhood treasures Bar Keeper, Reform School and Dean Leather Accessories, combined with favorite hangouts Intelligentsia and Cafe Stella. On the north side of Sunset near Sanborn Avenue, Mohawk General Store (4011 Sunset Blvd., 323- 669-1601) brings its own design-forward savvy to the street. Here you'll find ready-to-wear labels that are typically more easily found in tonier ZIP Codes, such as Dries van Noten and Issey Miyake, plus Astier de Villatte candles and ceramic incense burners and other treats for the home. www.mohawkgeneralstore.com
LACAUSA (4015 Sunset Blvd., 323- 906-9956), a diagonal slip of a storefront between Mohawk General and its sibling store, Mohawk Man, is L.A. native women's wear designer Rebecca Grenell's first independent retail presence in what was formerly her brother Josh's studio for his Hero Crane clothing company. In addition to her LACAUSA line, Grenell has selected "a group of products that would tell a story." Look for L Rille Ceramics, African textiles and Grenell's mother's one-of-a-kind embroidered artworks. www.lacausaclothing.com
A short walk away at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Hoover Street, interior and landscape designer Isabelle Dahlin stocks a mix of new and vintage furnishings and home accents at deKor (4222 Santa Monica Blvd., 213-375-7627). "I love this neighborhood, and I like when people find me here," Dahlin said of her somewhat tucked-away spot that's accessed from the back via Hoover. She also runs a more extensive deKor outpost in Ojai. www.dekorla.com
Sunset Triangle Plaza/Maltman Avenue
Just east of the Junction, homesteading supply shop the King's Roost (3732 Sunset Blvd., 323-426-9769) has relocated from Los Feliz to roomier digs, complete with a fully equipped kitchen for DIY workshops. kingsroost.com
Higher-end brands occupy a row of spaces on Sunset near Maltman, where Italian import Retrosuperfuture (3531 Sunset Blvd., 323- 906-9188) showcases its contemporary specs. retrosuperfuture.com
French brand A.P.C. (3517 Sunset Blvd., 424-252-2761) and its Paris-based architect of choice, Laurent Deroo, makes a bold contemporary statement in this light-flooded shop. Founder Jean Touitou's casual chic clothing sits next to quilted blankets, pillows and stuffed animals made from surplus fabrics as part of a collaboration with designer Jessica Ogden.
Detroit pride is on display at Shinola (3515 Sunset Blvd., 323-473-5250), where the company's American-made watches and bikes are sold along with sleek, modern desk accessories and cushy dog beds. www.shinola.com
Mollusk Surf (3511 Sunset Blvd., 323-928-2735) is about hard-core gear dedicated to this California pastime, but you can bring ocean vibes into your home with gorgeous surfing photo books and throws that are useful both on sand and by the fireplace. mollusksurfshop.com
Micheltorena Street to Parkman Avenue
Barbara Bestor's welcoming design for Clare V.'s flagship store (3339 Sunset Blvd., 323-665-2476) helped cement the strip around Micheltorena as a happening micro-retail district. www.clarev.com
At Sweet William (1406 Micheltorena St., 323-741-8161), former Cookie magazine fashion editor and Ireland native Bronagh Staley presents a certain honed baby and youth aesthetic to help create the next generation of style icons. (She still maintains two Sweet William stores in New York City.) sweetwilliamltd.com
At Dream Collective (1404 Micheltorena St., 323-660-2000), jewelry designer Kathryn Bentley's beautiful creations are on display next to ceramics by the likes of locals Ben Medansky and Bari Ziperstein and the cushions Bentley designed to go with Shin Okuda's Waka Waka wood-frame seating. dreamcollective.com
En Soie (3333 Sunset Blvd., 323-662-0985) brings a polished and quiet European sophistication to the block, with ceramics from Poland and women's clothes and shoes. Fabric used for its silky-soft throw pillows correspond with that season's En Soie's clothing line. www.ensoie.com
On the south side of Sunset, just east of chef Kris Yenbamroong's popular Night + Market Song Thai restaurant, longtime businesses Daisy's Antiques (3214 Sunset Blvd., 323-665-8940) and Casa Victoria (3212 Sunset Blvd., 323-644-5590) are packed to the ceiling with antiques and furniture. daisysantiques.com and www.casavictoriala.com
Hemingway and Pickett (3208 Sunset Blvd., 323-660-4200) offers loads of unique options for enlivening any room, from Los Feliz-based artist Chris Turnham's accessibly priced prints of iconic neighborhood locations to practical single-Edison bulb lamps made in L.A. by Sopha B. Design. www.hemingwayandpickett.com
Danish Modern LA's (3028 Sunset Blvd., 323-893-5950) 4,000-square-foot-plus showroom is a wonderland for any fan of this decor genre. Co-owner Jessy Tzarax notes that the in-house team restores the pieces it sells, and in addition to the usual prized — and some obscure — Northern European names seen on the floor, vintage ceramics from the likes of David Cressey reflect Tzarax's commitment to honoring California's design heritage. www.danishmodernla.com