Gloria Noto is one to watch. The makeup artist and founder of Noto Botanics has been offering gender-fluid skin care and cosmetics using vegan, natural and organic ingredients in L.A. since 2016. One of her most popular oils is the Deep Serum (using grapeseed, rosehip seed and grapefruit oil, among others).
“I created this serum because I couldn’t find a serum oil that worked well not only for brightening skin and giving me a youthful glow, but also one that worked well at helping acne and breakouts,” said Noto, who opened a stylish shop in L.A.’s Highland Park neighborhood earlier this year. “At the time I had severe acne and very uneven skin. Formulating this oil has truly changed my skin on a cellular level.”
The serum is also sold at $34 for a 1-oz. bottle. Available at notobotanics.com.
Founded in 2003 by husband-wife duo Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, Poketo is a lifestyle brand showcasing art and handcrafted design.
“We found ourselves losing our bookmarker and thereby losing where we left off,” said Myung of creating this particular item. “With these cute brass bookmarkers, we knew that we wouldn’t lose the bookmarkers, thereby always finding where we left off.”
Pre-pandemic, the two often hosted artist pop-ups, workshops, events and exhibitions in their retail spaces in downtown L.A. and Little Tokyo. Available at poketo.com.
“The fragrance is deliciously dark and boozy, a kind of liqueur laced with sweet aromatic notes of anise, whisky, resins and leather,” said Linda Sivrican, lead perfumer and founder of Capsule Parfumerie.
Along with the studio, Sivrican runs Orris Perfumery, a shop on Melrose Avenue where her fragrances are sold. She offers several collections including Capsule Parfums, which is an ode to the richness and diversity of L.A. Its Legion scent is inspired by the hidden speakeasies of the city’s downtown.
Everything is handmade in small batches. Available at capsuleparfumerie.com.
All of Esther Jeong’s goods are handmade in L.A. Inspired by traditional Korean pottery, she creates mugs, bowls and plates — including this design made while envisioning chef Becky Reams’ “perfect fried egg” that topped the artist’s favorite breakfast bowl at Lately in Chinatown (now closed due to the pandemic).
“The sunny orange yolk always brightened up my day,” said Jeong. “I ended up putting the sunny yolk on my banchan dishes during the beginning of the pandemic when I was required to work from home. I had always made these small hand-formed plates to hold banchan, meaning Korean side dishes, [to] portion off little snacks and even hold my jewelry. Turning them into sunny side up dishes brightened up the overwhelming dreariness I felt this spring.”
Available at estherjeong.com.
The Elder Statesman
The Elder Statesman’s Greg Chait has been creating luxury cashmere ready-to-wear in L.A. since 2007. His designs — colorful and often incorporating tie-dye — reflect the cool, relaxed style of the West Coast. Along with apparel for both men and women, Chait offers kids, home and accessories like gloves, socks, scarves and caps in colors like turquoise and neon pink.
This hand-embroidered eye mask is a limited-edition release for the holidays. It’s made with 100 percent cashmere, while the lining and strap use 100 percent silk. Available at elder-statesman.com.
Compartés was founded in L.A. by Italian couple Mr. and Mrs. Compartés in 1950, attracting high-profile fans who reportedly included Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. The chocolaterie is now run by chocolatier Jonathan Grahm, chief executive officer and creative director of Compartés.
“This year has been our busiest holiday season ever, and we are working 24/7 to handcraft these delicious chocolates and chocolate bars for everyone to enjoy,” said Grahm. “I love all the chocolate bars. Since I design them, some have pictures of my dogs, photos that I have collaged together and drawings I have made in my art studio. Each and every one is an individual work of art.”
He offers over 60 bar variations, as well as boxed chocolates (including a $59.95 holiday collection of 20 truffles in flavors like apple pie, gingerbread and pumpkin). Available at compartes.com.
“The dickie-inspired neck warmer is one of the bestsellers in our fall 2020 collection,” said designer Mijeong Park.
Sold in one size, the cozy knit has been selling out but is currently restocked in two of its colors, navy and brown. “With the asymmetric shape and long tie, you can do versatile styling,” continued Park. It can be layered over a top, jacket or coat, she added.
The designer, who launched her namesake label in L.A. in 2015, donates a portion of online sales to art education in underserved neighborhoods in the city. Available at mijeongpark.com.
John Elliott x Kuumba International
L.A.’s John Elliott has been a longtime lover of Japan, where he often finds inspiration for his ready-to-wear collections. This holiday season, he offers something new: an acrylic incense tray made in collaboration with Kuumba International, the Tokyo-based lifestyle brand that specializes in the item.
Along with the glossy, yellow tray — made in Japan — Elliott has produced his own scent of incense called “Haight” in partnership with the Japanese maker (a pack of 15 sticks for $38).
Made using notes of green tea, eucalyptus and citrus, the fragrance is inspired by Golden Gate Park and the smoke shops of San Francisco, where Elliott would skateboard growing up in the Bay Area. The designer said the smell reminds him of “where everything started.” Available at johnelliott.com.
Stylists-turned-designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott offer cozy and relaxed ready-to-wear with their newest venture, The Great: soft T-shirts, knits, hoodies, joggers and accessories like beanies and blankets.
This bundle — created with the coronavirus pandemic in mind — is made to bring comfort to essentials this holiday season, as the world continues to adapt to a new normal, turning the page on 2020 and looking towards the year ahead.
“This set includes the softest embroidered cashmere socks, a chambray face mask, our wear-with-everything bandana and a hand-tied palo santo, all bundled in a sweet drawstring bag that makes for the perfect grab-and-go gift,” said the duo, who have a shop on Melrose Avenue, in a joint statement. Available at thisisthegreat.com.
“American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta”
Put away your pasta machine, said Chef Evan Funke, the name behind one of L.A.’s most beloved restaurants, Felix Trattoria in Venice.
With his debut cookbook, “American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta,” Funke shares the art of pasta making, traditional Italian techniques and his recipes, from tagliatelle to lasagna verde alla bolognese. The publication, out last year via Chronicle Books, won the 2020 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for best cookbook and is the 2020 James Beard Award winner for photography.
Los Angelenos: Felix Trattoria has been offering takeout and delivery during the pandemic. Follow @felixlosangeles on Instagram for the latest.