Get to Know LA's Most Stylish Shop Owners
These days, Los Angeles is giving cities known for their focus on fashion a run for their money. While we've always been known for being a spot to find rad, mint condition (and affordable!) vintage and brilliant "oh this old thing?" casual basics, LA's roster of spots to shop cool clothing and accessories continues to expand and diversify by the minute. As the retail scene continues to grow, we find ourselves inspired not only by previously unknown (to us) designers and styles of dressing, but also by the women behind these stores themselves. Thankfully some of LA's most stylish ladies are those who own shops where we get a chance to take home a piece of their curated collection, so we've taken the liberty of hitting up some especially stylish store owners to find out what clothing essentials make them feel indestructible, what items they can hardly keep in stock, and even their favorite place to take a lunch break — all sage advice from the city's best-dressed women.
Full name: Claudia Cassina
Zodiac Sign: Leo, roar!
Hometown: I am from a little town called Carobbio Degli Angeli, 40 minutes away from Milan, Italy.
Power outfit: I really like big, bold, loud shoes, the higher the better. I like colors, patterns, materials like silk, leather, velvet, fur. Let’s just say that when I can put all these things together without looking like one of Kirchner’s acid-visions, it makes me feel good, proud, powerful and sometimes, even sexy.
Fashion philosophy: Fashion to me is like another language and the more you know the grammar rules the deeper your aesthetic can go. In today’s society people dress up to be recognized in a certain group, I can see people walking around and without even asking I can guess what is their favorite book, movie, where they go out and what music they listen to. There’s nothing funnier to me than to disorient people: wearing a military beret (symbol of rigidity), with a silk embroidered white shirt (color that represents purity), some tartan pants (a pattern that belongs to the ancients aristocratic Scottish families) and maybe some 70’s inspired platform boots (icon of the sexual revolution). Semiotics is powerful!
Lunch break spot: I’m the type of girl who likes the “breakfast served all day” kind of place. I wish I could be happy and satisfied with a salad and a juice but I prefer a burger and fries instead (very Italian). I really like Sqirl on Virgil, Brite Spot on Sunset and of course Square One that is across from the store.
Current best-seller: The most loved is Vivetta but the best sold is The White Pepper. Unfortunately, the brand was shut down a couple of months ago, so basically the pieces I have in store are the last that you can find in the US.
First fashion memory: I’ve always been fascinated by fashion. My mom is a very stylish and elegant woman and my father was in a band and used to wear furs and leather (can you imagine in Italy in the 60’s what a statement to dress up that way was?). I think my very first approach to it that eventually led to the discovery of myself was when I was 17 or 18 years old. There was this club in Milan called Plastic (it still exists but now it’s very different), on Fridays the night was called London Loves and there was a DJ set by this strange guy, Dorian, who played vintage rock, indie rock, pop hits from the 90’s, Motley Crue and Blur and everybody was so stylish and in one way or another people were connected to the fashion industry (a late Warholian factory made of artists, musician, photographers, stylists, designers, etc). In that environment I started to investigate my aesthetic, my taste and in a way it made me what I am now.
What does your shop name mean? The name of the store comes from a song by Adam and the Ants, “Desperate But Not Serious.” I have been following that life mantra forever! I discovered the band in 2005 and when I first listened that particular song I felt that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling that way.
Biggest style crush: I have multiple crushes!! Starting from the beginning: Marie Antoinette, Marquise Luisa Casati, Wallis Simpson, Lolita, Diana Vreeland, Isabella Blow and Christina Ricci. My favorite designers of all time are Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rey Kawakubo, Martin Margiela, John Galliano, and of course Miuccia Prada.
Full name: Whitney Bickers
Hometown: Westerville, OH
Power outfit: A chambray wrap dress from Heinui's first collection
Fashion philosophy: Wear what makes you happy; if it has pockets, even better.
Lunch break spot: Sqirl
Current best-seller: Otherwild's The Future is Female shirts; they've always been popular but they've taken on a larger meaning since the election
First fashion memory: My grandmother letting me play with the hem of her silk slip to entertain me in church.
What does your shop name mean? Myrtle is my great-great-grandmother's name; she was still alive when I was born. It's also a kind of flower.
Biggest style crush: Famous: Diane Kruger; in my life: my friend Jessica.
Full name: Rana Shoar
Hometown: San Dimas, CA
Power outfit: Blue jeans, white shirt, over-sized black blazer, mules, statement earring and a red lip, of course.
Fashion philosophy: Keep it simple and don't be afraid to tailor everything.
Lunch break spot: It changes, but I've been on a poke kick for the last few weeks.
Current best-seller: 501's always
First fashion memory: I remember caring about my outfits even in Montessori school. Specifically, I remember begging my mom to buy me little red patent leather shoes that were a size too small because they didn't have my size.
What does your shop name mean? My mom has always been such an influence on me. I named the store after her zodiac sign, Virgo.
Biggest style crush: Not that I dress like her, but Solange's aesthetic — color and pattern-wise — is really inspirational to me.
Full name: Julia Gogosha
Hometown: Michigan. Metro-Detroit.
Power outfit: Structured forever pants (like Commes de Garcons or Vivienne Westwood) that I invest in every year or two. Lug sole loafers, chunky-heeled boots or metallic oxfords. Statement necklace. Big hair. Red lips. Killer frames.
Fashion philosophy: No one says it better than Iris Apfel: When you don't dress like everyone else, you don't think like everyone else. When I choose a forever piece, I can see myself wearing it for years — if not decades — to come. I like to dress in shapes and forms in a way that's complimentary and understanding of my body, but not a slave to it.
Lunch break spot: If I have time, Sqirl. Trois Familia — their chicken milanese! That and their malts and their limeade. So good. And poke from Ohana Poke.
Current best-seller: Ahlem. Also, little metals — that's the next trend. People are moving away from really chunky to frames that are light and open.
First fashion memory: When I was nine, I remember wearing this red and black oversized sweater with huge diagonal stripes and a band at the bottom. I wore it off the shoulder. I remember that really well.
What does your shop name mean? It's my last name!
Biggest style crush: A mix of Angelica Houston, Barbra Streisand (for beauty, not necessarily wardrobe) and a mix of my mom (the maximalist) and my dad (the minimalist).
Full name: Constance Natascha Baker
Shop: Weepah Way
Hometown: Los Angeles
Power outfit: Jeans, boots and a t-shirt paired with a red lip.
Fashion philosophy: Dress for yourself!
Lunch break spot: Amara Kitchen and Monte 52.
Current best-seller: Vintage denim, kimonos, and silk scarves.
First fashion memory: When I was three years old, my grandmother gave me a vintage Chinese embroidered pajama set with a mandarin collar and red piping. It’s the first memory I have of ever cherishing an article of clothing.
What does your shop name mean? Weepah Way pays homage to the street name I grew up on in Laurel Canyon. This is where I first discovered my love for thrifting and where my dreams of becoming a vintage shop owner began. It’s a time and a place that is near and dear to my heart.
Biggest style crush: Jane Birkin forever.
Full name: Olivia Lucia Perez
Hometown: Miami, FL
Power outfit: Tends to be a loose fitting dress and an oversized cardigan with a pair of boots in the winter or slides in the warmer months.
Fashion philosophy: Hmm, good question. I am not really sure what the philosophy behind my personal style is, but I usually lean toward feminine, and comfortable silhouettes.
Lunch break spot: I usually bring my own lunch since there isn't too much directly next to Nonna. But if I do decide to eat out, it's Kitchen Mouse, Amara Kitchen or Cacao Mexicatessen.
Current best-seller: The A Détacher Tiara Wrap Sweater in Honey
First fashion memory: Do you remember Dress 'N Dazzle? That was the first thing that just came to my mind! I used to have a red trunk full of that stuff. But also obviously, playing in my mother's closet and jewelry box. I actually think I had more fun looking in her jewelry box. My mother also had a trunk filled with a lot of her old sweaters that I used to love to try on. I think I still have some of them.
What does your shop name mean? Nonna means grandmother in Italian.
Biggest style crush: Sarah Linh-Tran