Haute Shopping: The Best of Melrose Place

As Winona Ryder says in the classic Gen X drama, Reality Bites, “Melrose Place is a really good show.” As it happens, the late Aaron Spelling’s ’90s-era soap opera is actually based on an intimate, tree-lined corner of Los Angeles near West Hollywood, adjacent to La Cienega Boulevard. There, you’ll find some of the most of-the-moment fashion houses, along with a handful of carefully curated boutiques and restaurants. Now, get ready: it’s time to shop ‘til you drop. 

a.p.c.Photo Credit: A.P.C./GRATIANE DE MOUSTIER

Starting off, you’ll find A.P.C. (8420 Melrose Place), a ceramic brick and wood confection from the brand’s founder and creative director Jean Touitou and Paris-based architect Laurent Deroo. The central plot features a luxuriously planted garden of Californian natives framed by a 59-foot-wide window. Inside the visually arresting boutique, with 20-foot cathedral ceilings in some areas, shoppers will find the line’s full men’s and women’s collections, as well as denim, accessories and collaborations. French silversmith company Christofle (8424 Melrose Place) should be next on your list, featuring annual updates of its Melrose Place showroom. This year, you’ll find a perfect replica of a Parisian apartment with lush touches such as custom velvet surfaces, walls that feature a trompe l’oeil pattern and crown moldings synonymous with Haussmannian architecture, all of which showcase the brand’s signature items—flatware, hollowware, jewelry, and specialty and handmade pieces—absolutely elegantly. The atelier also features special items and whimsical touches unique to the Melrose location: from the position of the furniture to the music playlist, every element of the boutique has been curated.

The RowPhoto Credit: THE ROW

If you’re tuckered out (or simply in the mood for a sweet treat, stop at Compartes (8428 Melrose Place), a gourmet chocolatier that carries true ‘haute chocolate.’ Ingredients for the small batch, artisanal bars and truffles are sourced from local farmers’ markets and designed with such flair that you might not even want to eat them (but you will). Then, wash down your chocolate at the adorable neighborhood coffeehouse Alfred Coffee + Kitchen (8428 Melrose Place) and grab a cup of Stumptown’s finest before hitting The Row (8440 Melrose Place). This high-end haven is the first brick and mortar outpost of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s highly fêted fashion line. The 3,800 square foot space is dedicated to the brand’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections, along with a selection of fine and vintage jewelry, antique furniture and other specialty décor items. Upon entrance, glide down an intimate corridor flanked with overhead balconies and French doors. You’ll hit a pool, which coincides well with the Olsens’ mid-century modern home aesthetic. Furniture items selected by the designers from local vendors are found throughout the space, including a Prouvé dining table, Hans Hansen silverware and a Zanini de Zanine totem. The designers also continue their relationship with Manolo Blahnik, carrying a selection of their favorite styles. (The Row’s Melrose location is the only mono brand store in Los Angeles to carry these items).

Next, you might want to pause a beat before heading into the high-end Oscar de la Renta (8446 Melrose Place) store, built by ‘Architect to the Stars’ John Elgin Woolf as his residence in the 1940s. The updated design was inspired by the late de la Renta’s homes, which had lush gardens and a courtyard. Engaged ladies, this is your mecca: the boutique is the only Oscar de la Renta store in America that carries bridal. Next up is Chloé (8448 Melrose Place), the fabulous French fashion house founded by Gaby Aghion that has been touched by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney. You’ll find the brand’s feminine bohemian threads among elegant touches like skylights and laser-cut abstract panels.

violet greyPhoto Credit: VIOLET GREY

Then, make sure not to miss Violet Grey (8452 Melrose Place), a one-stop shop with white glove service for luxury beauty products big and small from Cassandra Grey, the wife of Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey that’s beloved by the finest of Hollywood starlets. If you’re a beauty junkie, Violet Grey is a must, especially given that, to garner a position on its shelves, each product must meet what Grey refers to as ‘The Violet Code.’ Beauty brands that make the cut include Dior, Tom Ford, Serge Lutens, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, La Mer, La Prairie, Jinsoon, Laura Mercie, Utowa and NARS, among others. For your next stop, Isabel Marant (8454 Melrose Place) carries the label’s stunning fashions in a 2,500 square foot boutique designed by Paris-based architect Franklin Azzi—with an urban cottage vibe, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden beams and an almost minimalistic aesthetic.

Finally, it’s break time! Shopping is exhausting (and appetite-increasing) work. Fig & Olive (8490 Melrose Place), located on the corner of the La Cienega and Melrose Place, is the perfect place to stop for lunch. The brand’s west coast flagship is an 8,000 square foot light-filled space reminiscent of a restaurant on the Mediterranean with double-height ceilings, a 50-foot tasting bar and communal table, two dining floors, an open kitchen and a patio enclosed with rosemary plants and walls of olive oil. Its menu is actually highlighted by the olive oils used, including those from the Riviera, coastal regions of southern France, Italy and Spain. You might be feeling a bit lethargic after lunch,  but be grateful that you’ve done the brunt of your Melrose Place shopping prior. You’ve only got four stops left, so cross the street and get your credit cards ready! It’s easy to get lost for hours in Marc Jacobs’ Bookmarc (8409 Melrose Place), which carries a carefully selected array of art and fashion books, as well as signed collectable items, limited-edition goods and book-centric accessories.

the apartment by the linePhoto Credit: THE APARTMENT BY THE LINE

Then, pop into Parisian clothing store Equipment (8459 Melrose Place) for a sampling of the brand’s ready-to-wear and a selection of shades from sunglasses designer Garrett Leight, the son of optical icon Oliver Peoples. Shoppers will find items exclusive to the Melrose boutique, including a curated selection of styles from the brand’s original Paris archives, which perfectly fits with the store’s gallery-like atmosphere. The Apartment by The Line (8463 Melrose Place) is meant to resemble a home away from home—making it easier, in theory, to purchase anything and everything, from home goods to beauty products and art. Make a private appointment with a VIP stylist to build a personalized wardrobe, get expert help buying the perfect gift, create a wedding or gift registry, and design, redesign or furnish your personal space. Last but certainly not least is Monique Lhuillier (8485 Melrose Place), a gorgeous atelier to buy that one-of-a-kind wedding dress, as well as fashion items, jewelry, fragrances and tableware. And, now, you sleep. Peace out Melrose Place—it’s been real!

*Melrose Place is also home to Bottega Veneta, Marni, Carolina Herrera and Alexander McQueen.