In a town that takes its dependency interventions like a rite of passage and its malls like a temple of worship, it’s only fitting that L.A. be the launching pad for The Brand Pharmacy, a temporary refuge for “retail therapy” going on now through December 9, with relief coming in the form of vacuum-packed bullet-proof corsages and gold-plated vibrators.
These and other luxe products for design junkies are cleverly displayed (and for sale, natch) in an environment that’s part low-brow drugstore (basic white display furnishings that conjure CVS), part clinical (the hospital curtains to the medical bracelets provided for “prescriptions,” er, gifts). The mad doctors behind it: Citizen:Citizen, Jimmyjane and All Purpose, which emptied out the contents of its men’s shop off Third Street (near the Beverly Center, wouldn't you know it) for this project.
Among the many pop-up shops popping up everywhere now—and in SoCal alone, this currently ranges from the Louis Vuitton shop inside the Murakami exhibit at MOCA to the surf-tinged Temporary Contemporary at OC’s Generic Youth boutique—The Brand Pharmacy is among the most high concept and cleverly executed. Obsessively thought-out details include the prescription bottle, fully inscribed, which served as the invitation.
Yes, in the end it is a store. Yet it’s one filled with provocative, beautiful products that even outside of this shopfront raises questions about consumerism and culture in all its manifestations: sex and pop art via comic artist Jamie Hewlett’s collaboration with Jimmyjane; religion in Fredrickson Stallard’s cross-shaped brushes for Citizen; and even disposable fashion in the very non-throwaway, convertible, custom-made shirts branded Filius that All Purpose designer Alessandro Tomassetti launched with this event.
If nothing else, it beats going to the mall for your Christmas shopping. Let the healing begin.
The Brand Pharmacy, 144 S. Flores St., Los Angeles; 323-866-1828.
Editor Disclosure: A+R sells select products from Citizen:Citizen.
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