Jen Mankins became an influencer of style and taste with her free-spirited Brooklyn boutique, Bird. The clothing store was a fashion incubator for fledgling brands such as Rag & Bone and Isabel Marant, which today are juggernauts. In 2017, Ms. Mankins planted her flag in western Los Angeles County, opening her fifth Bird store — and first outpost outside of New York City — in Culver City. “I’m firmly a west side L.A. person,” she says. “It’s so quintessentially American. I want to see the beach and palm trees.”
When Ms. Jankins, 43, travels here for work, she rents a house in Venice, goes for walks on the beach and has breakfast at Gjusta every morning. “It’s like a commissary,” she says, “with baked goods, smoked fish, produce from local farmers, and everyone knows everyone. The tahini croissant is worth moving to L.A. for.” Here, Ms. Mankins shares her favorite places to shop in Los Angeles.
1. Tortoise General Store
The focus at this chic and spare shop is on Japanese artists, artisans and traditions, with wares that range from herb scissors to bookends. “It really is one-stop shopping,” Ms. Mankins says. “Any birthday, wedding or baby gift. I bought 90 percent of my Christmas presents there.” After 15 years on Abbott Kinney, the main shopping drag in Venice, the husband and wife team Taku and Keiko Shinimoto moved their brick and mortar operation to a series of storefronts in the Mar Vista neighborhood in 2018. Ms. Mankins especially likes the paper goods and textiles. “No one does them better than the Japanese.”
12701 Venice Boulevard; tortoiselife.com
2. Nickey Kehoe
“French market meets Brutalist,” is how Ms. Mankins describes this design studio and boutique. “It sets the tone for what I think of as Los Angeles.” The eclectic emporium in West Hollywood was founded by Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe, two designers who call themselves hunter-gatherers of good taste. The bright, high-ceilinged shop has a lived-in air and the international vibe — Peruvian rugs, antique French tools, colorful Portuguese plates — that comes from a lifetime of combing flea markets. The pair makes frequent sourcing trips abroad, shipping crates back to the United States, to mix with their own line of furniture. “I find things for my house,” Ms. Mankins says. “But also gifts — books to little ceramics.”
7221 Beverly Boulevard; nickeykehoe.com
In his fantastical trading post of a shop, René Holguin captures his own vision of the world. “The Dries Van Noten store in Paris is my favorite, but next is RTH,” Ms. Mankins says. “The spaces are beautifully decorated, chock-full, but every object is totally covetable.” Mr. Holguin, like Ms. Mankins, is a Texan. He grew up in El Paso, learning about leather from his father, who owned the Laramie Boot Co., then cut his teeth as a merchandiser in New York for brands including Ralph Lauren and J. Crew. In this intimate shop in a residential pocket of West Hollywood, there are giant hats and artisanal ceramics, some enormous, some tiny. There are everyday clothes like poplin shirt-dresses. “Some of the dresses I wear every single day in the summer.”
537 North La Cienega Boulevard; rthshop.com
4. Arcana: Books on the Arts
“It’s an art book mecca,” Ms. Mankins says of this sunny, open bookstore in Culver City. Arcana has a deep inventory of new, rare and out-of-print books and catalogs on cinema, photography, architecture … well, everything including the kitchen sink. The proprietors, Lee and Whitney Kaplan, have been in the business for 35 years and can help locate obscure titles (a Joseph Kosuth, say) with pre-internet zeal. Book signings, receptions and discussions regularly fill up the space, often featuring young photographers and creative types. “They’re really supportive,” Ms. Mankins says.
8675 Washington Blvd; arcanabooks.com
5. Rolling Greens
There are now three locations of this garden and home company, but Ms. Mankins likes the original nursery in Culver City, opened in 2001, that sits on two acres. “It’s one of the best plant stores I’ve ever been to, terraced up a steep hill, with a tropical hot house, one for orchids, tons of planters and a whole room of fake plants that are so good my husband and I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out if they were real.”
9528 Jefferson Boulevard; rghomeandgarden.com
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