Since the late Fred Hayman, lovingly referred to as “the father of Rodeo Drive,” opened the first high-end boutique, Giorgio Beverly Hills, in 1961, the three-block palm-tree lined strip of Rodeo Drive has become renowned as one of the most iconic and influential shopping destinations in the world. And although there have been ups—the height of 1980s luxury buying and a star turn in 1990s “Pretty Woman,” for example—as well as downs—the difficulties of the recession followed by the emergence of e-commerce culture—Rodeo Drive has managed to retain its allure.
“I remember going there as a kid when I was living in Canada and thinking it was the most luxurious street in the world,” says stylist Leslie Fremar, whose roster of A-list clients includes actresses Julianne Moore, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Connelly. And these days—with a spate of high-profile renovations and openings—it seems like luxury brands are continuing to invest in Rodeo Drive in a major way. “I think it’s important to experience shopping firsthand and see the design, merchandising and architecture of the store,” Fremar says. “It all comes to play with the brand. I don’t think you get that same experience online or anywhere else.” And, with its prime location a few blocks away from the Montage Beverly Hills, it’s easy for guests to experience the glamour of Rodeo Drive themselves. Here, discover our guide to the top new openings and renovations in recent years.
Rather than renovate its existing boutique, creative director Tomas Maier chose an entirely different location for the site of its new Beverly Hills maison, which opened in May last year. The 4,828-square-foot space pays tribute to California architecture, with neutral, earthy tones and Spanish revival-style arches. Of course, the storied Italian luxury brand’s products are the highlight of the shop—with handbags, leather goods, luggage and eyewear on the first floor, and clothing, shoes, jewelry and fragrances on the second. (320 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-858-6533; bottegaveneta.com)
Last May, the iconic Venezuelan designer quietly closed her Melrose Place boutique in favor of a discreet second-floor atelier just off of Rodeo Drive. Devised by Santa Monica-based architect David Montalba, the 4,000-square-foot boutique showcases Herrera’s famed women’s clothing, dresses and accessories, including a dedicated section for her spectacular bridal gowns. (226 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-276-8900; carolinaherrera.com)
The cult fashion label opened its first Beverly Hills boutique on Rodeo Drive last July, under new creative director Demna Gvasalia. Housing the full women’s and men’s collections, as well as accessories and eyewear, the 1,883-square-foot boutique consists of three interconnecting spaces marked by stark, geometric interiors featuring high-gloss rosewood walls, concrete floors and a striking emerald green mirrored-glass display counter. (353 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-854-0557; balenciaga.com)
The Swiss brand opened its first U.S. flagship on Rodeo Drive in February 2015, designed in partnership with David Chipperfield Architects. A luxe red marble facade leads into the two-story boutique, which features men’s and women’s clothing, leather goods, shoes, a VIP room and rooftop lounge. (340 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-247-1012; bally.com)
The legendary French fashion brand reopened its flagship in January 2015 after a yearlong renovation by groundbreaking architect Peter Marino. Marked by its striking stainless steel facade, the three-story space features blond wood floors, rich leather accents and bold art installations. While the ground floor is devoted to Vuitton’s signature handbags and luggage—which can be personalized on-site—Fremar is partial to the shoe selection, located at the top of the store’s dramatic central staircase. (295 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-859-0457; louisvuitton.com)
Following an extensive makeover in 2014 that included the addition of glitzy materials like dark rosewood, marble, ribbed glass and polished gold—as well as a two-story LED wall—the 22,000-square-foot space has been reimagined once again for 2016 under new creative director Alessandro Michele. Now, the ground floor features Gucci DIY, an exclusive service that offers clients the opportunity to customize anything from handbags to bomber jackets and loafers, while the store’s second floor holds the brand’s popular children’s line. (347 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-278-3451; gucci.com)
After a seven-month shutter and relocation to Wilshire Boulevard, the Italian luxury label returned to Rodeo Drive with a fresh look in September 2015. Designed by famed New York-based architect William Sofield, the 10,000-square-foot boutique delivers an old Hollywood, art deco feel, courtesy of glamorous surfaces like silver travertine, rose-colored Etruscan marble, curving silver metal and mirrored glass. Intimate rooms showcase different products, from shoes and handbags to leather goods and ready-to-wear. (357 N. Rodeo Drive, 310-273-9990; ferragamo.com)
Tiffany & Co.
The celebrated jewelry brand is just completing a massive renovation that has been slowly unveiled over the last few years. The impressive three-story boutique has been reimagined as a romantic Gilded Age-era mansion, with a dramatic marble staircase, rich walnut paneling, velvet drapes and the West Coast’s only dedicated Tiffany & Co. watch salon. (210 N. Rodeo Drive; 310-273-8880; tiffany.com)
By Amanda Eberstein