It’s no secret Los Angeles is nirvana among vintage fans. It’s why John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquière or mini legions of minions from Ralph Lauren or Victoria’s Secret can be found picking through the city’s second-hand boutiques or costume warehouses.
Or why I’ve squired more than a few major designing/stylist pals in from New York or London to the backrooms of, say, Lily et Cie and Golyester, to early Sunday morning flea markets, or to dinner at Musso & Franks or Trader Vic’s.
Not so widely known about old school L.A. is where to rent the best 1959 Caddy for the day (Beverly Hillls Rent-A-Car), to see puppets (The Bob Barker Marionette Theater) or to behold one of the grandest manses on the west coast, second only to Hearst Castle up north (Greystone).
Jennifer Brandt Taylor reveals all in Vintage LA (Harper Collins), her definitive guide to all things vintage in Los Angeles, which hit shelves this week.
Young as Jennifer may be, she’s no ingénue to the vintage scene, old Hollywood or even publishing. In junior high she started a Xeroxed fanzine called Pesky Meddling Girls, which eventually counted 300 subscribers including David Bowie and Anna Sui, Warner Bros. and Disney, because of the glimpse it offered into the stylish adventures of this fabulously kooky broad-in-training. Anna got Jennifer to design a couple of collaged T-shirts for her collections, and Jennifer was soon a teen columnist with ELLEgirl. Soon after, at age 19, she released her first book, a girl empowerment lifestyle guide called Life is a Movie Starring You.
Just around then is when I first met the divine Miss Jennifer. She was living in North Hollywood with her parents and younger, equally as cool sister, Lizzie. Actually, mom and pops are pretty amazing, too, and imbued the gals with their sense of vintage flair, can-do-anything attitude, enormous creativity and pure unadulterated joy.
We’d lost touch, and by the time we caught up recently in New York, Jennifer had tied the knot with a man who’s truly her soul mate, Nic Taylor. They met at the publisher (he’s an art director). Although an L.A. girl ’till she kicks it, she relocated to the crunchy apple last year and is hard at work on Vintage NY, slated for a holiday 2009 release. During their week in L.A., they managed to squeeze in a chat for La Vie en Rose, in between training their very new pug, Ali Baba, and book signings. The last and best is this Saturday, June 28, from 3-6 p.m. at the Ron Robinson shop at Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. Dress up in your glitziest vintage for a chance to win a book and other grand prizes.
La Vie en Rose: This really is a love letter to L.A.
Jennifer Brandt Taylor: Absolutely. I have nothing bad to say about L.A. It’s colorful, and fun and it’s hard to leave. I love old Hollywood history so much that it would be impossible not to love the city.
LVER: Outsiders see L.A. as a bastion of modernity or at least youth that is constantly tearing down its past. This is true in a way, but you proved in your book there is so much of the past still as alive as ever. What was the biggest challenge of doing such a book?
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