Guests at next week's Los Angeles International Textile Show can find inspiration outside the exhibition hall. Here is a sampling of things to do and see during the three-day run.

Blue Velvet

Downtown Los Angeles' growing nightlife scene has a new hot spot.

Blue Velvet, opened in November by real estate developer Bret Mosher and managing partner Robert Harstein, offers contemporary American cuisine and drinks in an eco-conscious building made of renewable wood and bio-composite wall panels with views of the district's skyscraper-lined horizon.

The poolside restaurant and lounge, nestled inside a retro-modern apartment complex called The Flat, features a lounge menu that attracts both suits from nearby offices and hipsters who prefer the artsy vibe of the sprawling metropolitan's East Side. Specialties include braised short ribs dipped in a cauldron of blue cheese and mashed potatoes, as well as a seasonal menu of delicacies such as a crispy yogurt appetizer served with a spinach almond puree and curried golden raisins, and a loin of venison served atop gnocchi, apples, creamed chard and bacon onion puree with violet mustard jus. Some 1,000 bottles from the wine list are displayed in one of the two lounges.

Blue Velvet, 750 South Garland Avenue, Los Angeles; 213-239-0061.


The boutique 06+ is found only by those curious enough to inquire about the nondescript door at the back of a hip sneaker shop in downtown Los Angeles. Those who venture through the entrance discover 23-foot-high ceilings and cracked white tile walls encasing avant-garde designer sportswear and accessories, including Martin Margiela's black wool and cotton Henley top with white stitching that also can be worn as a dress, and Japan-based Toga's hand-sewn frock pieced together from panels of silk and cotton in two shades of white.

The shop is the fourth retail venture in Southern California for Tak Kato, 06+'s Japanese co-owner and creative director. After opening the limited edition sneaker shop called Blends that occupies the space in front of 06+, as well as two other footwear stores, in Costa Mesa and San Diego, Kato unveiled his latest enterprise in July. Kato said he chose the downtown space for the neighborhood's distinctive 100-year-old buildings and contemporary art galleries."High fashion is not for older people only," said Kato, who designed women's and men's wear in Los Angeles under the Venus in Furs label. "Younger, hip kids are coming up to the market and are now used to paying $300 to $400 for denim."

Kato says he wants to go back to basics with high-end fabrics such as wool and cashmere, although this preference may not last long. "Wool and cashmere are great, but in wind or rain, they don't hold," Kato said. "I'm looking for high tech mixed with natural — the new fabric that feels good but is still durable."

06+, 125 West Fourth Street, Los Angeles; 213-626-6606. Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

"Andrea Zittel: Critical Space"

Like many women, artist Andrea Zittel yearned to find the dream dress, the one that drapes every body, mood and occasion with beauty and perfection. Zittel, who splits her time between Los Angeles and the desert terrain of nearby Joshua Tree, has shunned department stores and boutiques and turned to her artistic background to find the ultimate uniform.

That search is highlighted in a survey show titled "Andrea Zittel: Critical Space" at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Displayed in rooms set up to resemble a boutique, the exhibit showcases Zittel's 15-year-long quest for the ideal article of clothing.

"She began making the clothing out of necessity," said Brooke Hodge, the exhibition's co-curator. "At the time, she was a struggling artist working at an art gallery and wasn't quite sure if she had the appropriate wardrobe."

The exhibit begins with the A-Z Six Month Uniforms series that Zittel created over a three-year period starting in 1991. The identical multifunctional dresses in black and white were intended to be worn every day, for every occasion, for six consecutive months until she created a new seasonal outfit. In 1995, Zittel switched to attire made of rectangular strips of woven cloth for the A-Z Personal Panels Uniforms collection. Four years later, she condensed her medium to crochet for the Single Strand Uniforms portfolio, and in 2002, she fashioned felted raw wool into the Fiber Form Uniforms group."Andrea Zittel: Critical Space," The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (through May 14), 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles; 213-633-5330.

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