Creatures of Comfort

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2007, 12:00am

Where? On the hip Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The district features a variety of upmarket restaurants, boutiques and well-known establishments such as comedy club the Improv, the Bodhi Tree bookstore and the Elixir teahouse.

Who? Store owner Jade Lai grew up in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, giving her a worldly, eclectic sense of style. The first-time retailer is a graduate of LA's Otis College of Art and Design and travelled through Europe and China, including Tibet, on a quest to capture a global wardrobe to showcase in her store.

Fashion finds: classic, minimalist styles including the likes of Comme des Garcons and Dries Van Noten as well as collections with more affordable price tags from younger designers. The only shop in LA to stock London-based designers Michelle Lowe-Holder and Paris Essex, Creatures of Comfort's offerings contrast with the usual casual and skimpy styles favoured by the city's inhabitants. They include elegant dresses by Vena Cava, Mary Ping's patch-pocket satin tanks and utilitarian shirtdresses by local designer Rowena Sartin. The store also sells jewellery from Scott Wilson and Brian Crumley, colourful shoes by Maloles and Repetto, and Linda Farrow Vintage sunglasses.

The vibe: like the boutique's collections, the interior is minimalist with subtle touches. Walls are white with grey trim and are brightened up with yellow curtains and clothes racks. Boxy low-lying wooden shelves house jewellery and shoes.

The crowd: elegant LA girls who want to look sexy without showing too much skin. Fashion-conscious starlet Mischa Barton is a regular but Lai is adamant about keeping the crowd non-trendy as a statement against the stereotypes of California fashion.

Extras: shopping can be thirsty work. Staff at Creatures of Comfort serve white wine - all you have to do is ask.

Creatures of Comfort is at 7971 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California, United States, tel: 1 323 655 7855;