TRAVEL - LA MY WAY
I get asked frequently from my followers about tips on traveling to my favourite destinations locally and abroad. And mainly asked about shopping advice! I get it... sometimes it's difficult to know where to go in a city you aren't familiar with.
So my first guide is about Los Angles. As LA is like my ‘home away from home’. Here are my personal tips on the top spots to eat, sleep, shop, and people watch.
From Sydney, my favourite way to get there is via the Qantas A380. It departs at 10.30am and lands in LA at 6.20am. It means you miss the crazy crowds in customs and you then have a full day. To beat the jet lag, when you land, be on LA time. Try and make it to 7pm before you go to sleep.
My connection with Los Angeles?
Being a [fashion] buyer for most of my career I would spend 3 months a year travelling all over the world sourcing new brands and researching trends. LA was the city I would spend the most time and has become one of my favourite places. The climate and vibe is very similar to Sydney except it’s much more glamourous. And there is something about the beach vs the hills I became addicted to. It’s possibly the worst place to go on a holiday or be a tourist due to the spread-out nature of the location – the best thing to do there is shop, eat and hang out. I have learnt to love it and all its LA-ness.
How does LA compare with Sydney?
I find the trends and the brands from LA are very in sync with Australia except when True Religion was a thing – it’s a little too bling for Aussie girls. We love showing skin, are health obsessed and there are similarities with the laid-back vibe.
What's the first thing I do on arrival?
Pick up a hire car from Avis – you can’t do LA without a car.
Where do I like to stay?
My favourite is The Beverly Hills Hotel – it’s everything you can image and more. Rock-n- roll-meets-rapper-meets-Hollywood-glam. It would have to be on my top 5 favourite hotels in the world list. If you can treat yourself to even one night ....do it!
The Peninsula Beverly Hills is the best if you want to stay somewhere elegant and expensive. Very good people watching!
Mr C Hotel I really like as it’s elegant, simple and lovely. The rooms are really light and I love how you can get Cipriani’s as room service. I like it for the privacy, the local vibe and it has a good energy.
The Standard Hotel is a cheap and very cool place to stay in LA. (Its about $270 per night which for LA is good!). The vibe is great and will give you that LA experience. However I prefer the Hollywood hotel on Sunset Blvd, than the Downtown one. I also love the location as it's right near all the shopping you will need to do.
My typical LA uniform?
Denim shorts, as it’s always warm in LA, even in winter. You have to have a designer handbag or you’ll be the only person walking the streets without one – the bigger the better! Angelenos are obsessed with our style here in Sydney and love our casual approach to dressing, so I wear Australian brands.
'Craigs' if you want to see a Kardashian – head here, it’s actually very cool.
'Freds' on the top floor of Barneys.
'The Polo Lounge' in the Beverly Hills Hotel does the best cobb salad, martinis and is amazing people watching (but there is a dress code, or they won't let you in). Plus the pool side restaurant is a must! People watching is next level.
I was going to 'Urth Caffé' on Melrose before it became famous in Entourage, and I still love it.
'Mauro's Restaurant' by Fred Segal on Melrose Place. The food is healthy and normal - (not like normal US food where everything comes with fries).
The place to mingle with the LA crowd?
Cafe Midi is next to a fave store American Rag. The cafe looks a little touristy but they make the best salads and crab cakes. I have seen so many major celebrities there – though kind of undercover as if you wouldn’t notice them (ie no make up, local vibe). A few weeks ago I sat next to Jane Fonda and asked her to pass me the salt.
Next door is Aussie store The Local which stocks only Australian designers and my fav Ksubi denim.
There are some of the coolest night clubs and bars which I am not an expert on! SORRY. Plus the cool list changes weekly so best to ask locals when you get there.
Los Angeles must-buys?
Mickey Mouse ears from DisneyLand (or just go into the huge Disney store in Santa Monica if you need to pretend), a Star Map, denim (most of the best American denim brands come out of LA) – try Fred Segal on Melrose as they have a great range; luggage as you will need it for all the shopping you will do!
Favourite spots to shop?
It’s impossible to name just one shop, so here’s my list...
1. Indigo Seas: I really have to hold back at this store, there are such amazing unique pieces
2. Barneys. Make sure you eat upstairs at Freds and valet your car as watching the scene unfold while you wait for you car is the best! The pop outside and walk up to Rodeo Drive for the most opulent designer shopping you could dream of!
3. I love the Lumber Yard shopping mall in Malibu as it’s really private and has a great local vibe.
4. The Grove is also easy and has everything in one place.
5. Maxfield has so much inspiration from things you can afford, to things you really can’t afford.
6. Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is a nice street for shopping – kind of hippy meets cool vibe.
7. What Goes Around Comes Around in Beverly Hills for wonderful vintage! Ask to see the private shopping area out the back – this is where the VIP treasures are!
8. The Rose Bowl markets in Pasadena. Not really LA but worth a visit! And the people watching is the best part.
9. Melrose Place - no not where the TV show was filmed....amazing strip of shopping. Chloe, Isabel Marant and the NEW Balmain store just opened here too. Very very good people and celebrity watching. Take your wallet!
10. YOU TELL ME! MESSAGE me your 10th favourite LA shopping location or store.
Jetting off to La-La-Land? Don't forget to nab a copy of the the LUXE Guide to Los Angeles...