In greater Los Angeles, where shopping is serious business, Rodeo Drive is alive with the sound of construction. Prada opened an Epicenter in July. In another testament to Rodeo Drive’s preeminence as a luxury stronghold, Louis Vuitton on Wednesday unveiled its supersized flagship. Other neighborhoods are seeing action. The Grove, a large, open-air mall, is bringing new life to Third Street, while on Robertson Boulevard, new fashion tenants are muscling out older furniture stores.

This story first appeared in the October 7, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

    Average rent per square foot: $300  
    Luxury rules on this highly trafficked tourist street, which has undergone an $18 million renovation that widened sidewalks, improved lighting and replaced aging ficus trees with leafy palms. Etro and Michael Kors have recently taken up residence and Roberto Cavalli is on the way. Meanwhile in July, Prada’s newly renovated Epicenter, designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, opened to much fanfare. A renovated and vastly expanded Louis Vuitton opened on Wednesday. Dolce & Gabbana also is planning a facelift.
    Average rent per square foot: $120
    South Robertson in exclusive Beverly Hills adds the trendiness of Melrose Avenue. The Kitson boutique is a favorite haunt of girls such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Other stores, including Lisa Kline, Curve and Vionnet are on the thoroughfare, along with legendary power lunch spot The Ivy. Older furniture stores are being replaced by boutiques such as Swedish newcomer WE. On the boulevard, near The Ivy, you’ll find Hogan, agnès b., Hararri, MAC and Reebok’s Rbk concept store with a private screening room and VIP lounge.
    Average rent per square foot: $120
    Shoppers and tourists galore head to this open-air street mall in Santa Monica, which is blocked to traffic, for a whiff of the ocean and roster of retailers that includes Urban Outfitters, Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Banana Republic, Levi’s, Anthropologie and American Eagle Outfitters. Unique boutiques include Hanna Hartnell Studio, Hype, Mudra, One and Pink Ice. No visit to the area is complete without a trip to Fred Segal’s house of miniboutiques, located just off Fifth Street.

    Average rent per square foot: $108
    The hip quotient is high on Los Angeles’ Beverly Boulevard, where style-seekers flock to boutiques such as Beige for the latest finds from L.A. designers such as Michelle Mason and Louis Verdad. Suss Design’s hand-knit creations are popular with Hollywood A-listers. Richard Tyler’s Beverly Boulevard salon sells his red-carpet gowns, and Naked, at the intersection of Martel Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, features Hussein Chalayan, Mandarina Duck and Seraph. Fifi & Romeo sells luxewear for women and their pooches and L.A. Eyeworks offers iconic eyewear.
    Average rent per square foot: $84
    Shoppers who want the charm of Santa Monica without the tourists of the Third Street Promenade visit Montana Avenue between Ninth and 15th Streets for cult beauty brands such as Kiehl’s and Dermalogica, and boutiques like the knitwear haven Margaret O’Leary, the Michael Stars T-shirt emporium and Lucy, for stylish gymwear. Jennifer Nicholson, the designing daughter of actor Jack, opened Mademoiselle Pearl to showcase her designs and those of John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Martine Sitbon and others.
    Average rent per square foot: $72
    Sunset Plaza, an open-air center in West Hollywood, was built in the Thirties. It offers up plenty of opportunities for people-watching at outdoor cafes and restaurants such as Clafoutis and Le Dome. Catherine Malandrino and Just Cavalli are the latest shops to open, joining H. Lorenzo, Nicole Miller, BCBG, Hervé Léger and Laura Urbinati. Tracey Ross’ eponymous boutique is like a clubhouse for Hollywood wives and actresses who come for the Jimmy Choo shoes and designs by Marc Jacobs, DSquared, Chloé and Matthew Williamson.
    Average rent per square foot: $48
    Melrose Avenue offers an eclectic range of luxury and funky fashion, especially between La Cienega and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, where high-end brands have congregated. Melrose Avenue is the longtime home of Fred Segal, which maintains a loyal fashion following by staying a few steps ahead of the curve. The neighborhood also boasts Agent Provocateur, Miu Miu, Miss Sixty and NOM (Naissance on Melrose). Marc Jacobs will soon be the new kid on the block. 

    Average rent per square foot: $48
    Rents are escalating in this eclectic urban area, which is attracting even more consumers thanks to the wildly popular Grove, an open-air shopping center at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles with a roster of mall favorites such as Gap and Pottery Barn, and anchored by Nordstrom. The word is that rents have nearly doubled in the past few years as boutiques west of The Grove such as Paul Frank, Lulu Guinness, Sigerson Morrison and Satine have leased property.
  9. LA BREA
    Average rent per square foot: $36
    For many, La Brea’s vintage shopping scene is a small slice of heaven. The neighborhoods surrounding La Brea are filled with some of the city’s prettiest refurbished Twenties and Thirties apartment buildings. The large Orthodox Jewish community gives the neighborhood its flavor. Nestled between the used clothing and furniture stores are Stüssy, Union, American Rag Cie, and Oxygen, a women’s and men’s boutique. Proposals are under way to revitalize the area.
    Average rent per square foot: $30
    Retail space may be affordable in L.A.’s Los Feliz district, but it won’t stay that way for long. Los Feliz and neighboring Silverlake, which gained notoriety in the film “Swingers,” is popular with a young crowd that likes the artsy vibe of the independent cafes, boutiques and vintage shops. X-Large, which claims Mike D. of the Beastie Boys as one of its investors, is a haunt for the hip-hop and skateboarding set. Atmosphere offers fun fashion including Fred Perry, Ella Moss and Juicy Couture. There’s even a line of Baby Juicy starter sweat sets.