City Guide Los Angeles

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Los Angeles

Issue 03/2014

losangeles

Flashing camera bulbs and famous faces. Endless sunshine and bling-bling fashion. An obsession with physical perfection and Lamborghinis. There is hardly another city that manages to capture our imaginations like Los Angeles does. And the funny thing about it: the clichés are substantiated at every turn!

The swanky aura of L.A. folk can sometimes be slightly off-putting. But upon closer inspection there is usually a twinkling eye to accompany it. Even if the Californian lifestyle sometimes seems to be drowning itself in glamour and kitsch, no one here takes themselves too seriously – except for the traffic police, that is.

On the contrary, Los Angeles has another decidedly unexpected side to it, diametrically opposed to the usual clichés. It’s as if the metropolis, with its almost four million inhabitants, wants to prove to the world that it isn’t just a frivolous glamour girl, but also a bit of a rural, small-town beauty too. Farmers’ markets, crafts shops, suburban garden idylls, hippies, neighbourhood gossip: all of that is also Los Angeles. And possibly – if the hipsters who hang out at unimportant-looking junctions between somewhere and nowhere are anything to go by – this new L.A. could well be the L.A. of the future.
An example of this development is the Silver Lake Junction, where, like two vapour trails crossing in the sky after miles of parallel travel, the legendary Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Boulevard finally merge. A cool café, a pretty bistro, a great fashion store, a one-of-a-kind barware shop and an ecological juice bar. No more than a handful of places, but they attract a steady stream of lively folk to the area. Walk a couple of hundred yards in any direction you choose and all you’ll see is residential areas slumbering in the sun. And the same goes for the other hotspots of the city, which covers roughly 1300 square kilometres. Los Feliz, Echo Park,Downtown and the Arts District are all of a manageable size and have a cosy small-town community feel, like everyone knows each other. Who would have guessed?

When it comes to fashion the denim industry in L.A. does, of course, still play the leading role: 7 for all Mankind, Guess, Hudson, Citizens of Humanity and Adriano Goldschmied all have their roots here. And for a good reason: everyone in L.A. likes to dress casually. Jeans and flip-flops are de rigeur – due of course to the Californian sun, which defines much of the locals’ wardrobes. Even most of the local labels that deal in higher fashion do without winter collections. What they can’t do without, however, is the epithet: ‘Made in the US’. The proximity to When it comes to fashion the denim industry in L.A. does, of course, still play the leading role: 7 for all Mankind, Guess, Hudson, Citizens of Humanity and Adriano Goldschmied all have their roots here. And for a good reason: everyone in L.A. likes to dress casually. Jeans and flip-flops are de rigeur – due of course to the Californian sun, which defines much of the locals’ wardrobes. Even most of the local labels that deal in higher fashion do without winter collections. What they can’t do without, however, is the epithet: ‘Made in the US’. The proximity to Mexico and its traditional highly skilled craftsmen make it easy for southern Californian brands to create elaborately produced products. And with DIY looks being so popular at the moment, this is a definite home-game advantage.

The contrast between the glamour of L.A. that we see in the gossip columns and the cosy neighbourhoods of the DIY movements is only one of countless facets of this remarkable megacity. It would have been impossible for J'N'C editor-in-chief Ilona Marx and photographer Rainer Rudolf to cover even a fraction of these. But their guide will certainly give you a good head start for your own personal travel research on the City of Angels.

 

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