As I’ve mentioned previously, visiting A Bathing Ape stores is always a treat in itself. The stores showcase the talent of interior designer Masamichi Katayama and his company Wonderwall. The Los Angeles store just opened in April 2008, and while I knew there weren’t any recent releases that I wanted to buy, I decided to stop by for the first time and check out the store since I was spending the day in downtown L.A. anyway.
I couldn’t take any photos inside the store, so I grabbed this one from here
The retail space is typical Bape: sparse merchandise line the perimeter of the store while a revolving conveyor belt showcases sneakers. Compared to other stores, L.A.’s walls are pretty light on the classic Bape camo. Aside from blue camo in the seating area for sneakers and the blue camo behind the register, the store decor is entirely white. The L.A. store also pales in comparison to the grandeur of all the other ones I’ve been to (Taipei, Hong Kong, Aoyama, Harajuku), which have multiple floors and are more intricately designed. (Shibuya probably would be the best store of them all, but I only saw it from outside since I was 2 minutes late and it was closing.)
This from here
L.A.’s claim to fame, however, is undoubtedly a massive floor-to-ceiling glass display housing long sold-out merchandise from the history of A Bathing Ape. There are some very nice pieces in there that resellers now ask ridiculous amounts of money for, and I spent about ten minutes peering around the glass in awe.
As I expected, I didn’t want to buy anything in the store so I left for Beverly Hills. On a side note, while I love the brand, there is only a small percentage of Bape merchandise I would actually buy and wear myself. I’ve said that I like the flashy designs, but most of their clothing is way too loud for my tastes. Plus, I’m not into sneakers so most of the stuff they release doesn’t apply to me! In case you’re interested, BapeTalk and BapeTalk2 are good forums I follow to find out about the latest news and releases. Butinkuo’s blog is also an excellent resource (albeit in Mandarin) since he seems to buy everything!
But anyway, I headed to Beverly Hills, partly to check out some of the sales but mostly since I was having dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT. I’ve been to Beverly Hills’ famous Rodeo Drive shopping district quite a few times, but I’ve never walked through Via Rodeo, which is a small European-styled shopping center that’s secluded from the main street.
Surprisingly, the place was quite empty. There were hardly any tourists around here either. In fact, I probably looked the most like a tourist since I was going around taking photos.
Celebrities are known for shopping in Beverly Hills, but I can only recognize a few of the big stars. Chances are high that if I bumped into some hottie from a major TV show or movie, I would just walk right past her without thinking twice (there’s a lot of good looking people in this town, as you can imagine). While window shopping, I actually came across a swarm of paparazzi outside Barney’s, all armed with telephoto lenses trying to photograph some celebrity trying on shoes. The paparazzi attracted a crowd of onlookers, but no one could figure out who was the center of attention, nor was the paparazzi interested in telling us. I actually went inside Barney’s and took a look around, but as I said, I don’t know any celebrities.
Usually, the best part about visiting Beverly Hills is seeing all the hot sports cars, but aside from a single Audi R8 and a single Aston Martin V8 Vantage, this trip was a letdown. Fortunately, I had a special purpose for being in Beverly Hills, and that didn’t disappoint. Next time, I’ll talk about eating at CUT!