On a recent business trip I had the fortunate (and rare) encounter to have a few brief minutes to walk around between meetings. My first opportunity took me between Robertson Boulevard. I have to admit it’s been a while since I have made it to this area of LA…and at first I was disheartened…Robertson Boulevard, my how you have changed! While my beloved Chanel store still stands with its beautiful open air courtyard, it is flanked by endless “available” storefronts. The good news is that a short walk down Melrose, produced pockets of wonderful new retail and restaurants. And in true West Hollywood style, they vary from the refined design district with beautiful modern California architecture and storefronts, to the lush Marc Jacobs and Bookmarc’s buildings at Melrose Avenue, to the individual gritty and artful boutiques which remind us of the individual spirit and art that is inherently LA. And thankfully after cruising up Roberston Boulevard, I now instantly felt “in LA”. I had lunch in this area at a great little restaurant called Au Fudge – where fresh food meets creativity and if you are up for it, craft. The style is old meets new, white space met with brilliant accents that brought a refined touch to this little artsy niche, area of LA.

The following day took me along Abbot Kinney and Venice Boulevard….again, the richness of individuality, the crafted nature of the storefronts, interiors and boutiques, juxtaposed with a few refined restaurants reinforced the creative and laid-back side that LA has to offer. It’s refreshing to see both start-up boutiques as well as more established brands embrace a more laissez-faire attitude. When one thinks of LA, the formality and luxury definitely come to mind, but these artful pockets remind one instantly of the free spirit and creative entrepreneurship that exists here as well…how refreshing!