There’s little doubt in my mind that Labour and Wait is my favorite store on earth. There are a few stores in Tokyo that are a close second, but no one combines as unique of a concept with such good product and unparallelled visual merchandising. Those are some pretty bold statements I know, but after visiting the company’s new and improved London shop I reaffirmed my love of the quirky purveyor of English home goods and departed with a paper bag full of simple treasures.
The one shop that really stood out to me in Milan didn’t have any fine Italian tailoring in sight, it was all about the knives. Founded in 1929, G. Lorenzi is really like no other retail establishment I have ever been in, ever. The walls are lined with dark wooden display cases which are very neatly organized with an array of all things man. Knives, pipes, brushes, clippers, trimmers, shaving supplies, cologne, a huge selection of every possible type of scissors and basically every other little well made accoutrement you can think of. The obsessiveness of G. Lorenzi rivals some of the crazy stuff I have seen in Japan. And don’t get me wrong, the place is no C.O. Bigelow steroids, its roots are in knife sharpening and G. Lorenzi is above all famous for it’s cutlery. A logical pursuit given Italy’s obsession with food.
We just posted an update to the L.A. shopping map (that lives on the Maps & Intel page) to include some new openings (like Unionmade L.A.) and some old favorites that should have been on there long ago. Any suggestions, drop them in the comments and we will take them under consideration. Next on our list to update, New York shopping. More on that soon.
View Men’s Shopping in Los Angeles by ACL in a larger map
Tucked away in an alley in Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood (a very fashionable part of town I might add) is the newish Levi’s Vintage Clothing store — one of the few places in the world that you can get all eight archival variations of the Levi’s 501 and a huge selection of the other normally reclusive LVC goods. This Levi’s Vintage Clothing store in Tokyo closely resembles the Cinch store I checked out in London this past spring, though the store in Japan is much much bigger. It has been a little more than a year since Maurizio Donadi was brought in to help reorganize the Levi’s premium business and these new LVC retail outposts are a clear reflection of Maurizio’s vision. Before Donadi was in the picture, LVC was sort of stuck in limbo between the Levi’s labyrinth of different offerings and retail stores. These days the collection is much more accessible (in terms of consumers being able to find the product), but the goods still carry a significant price tag. Though, I should say it is an understandable price structure given all that goes into the development and production (made in USA, etc) of the product.
Recently I have been sort of enamored by the British brand Toast. To be honest I wasn’t too familiar with the company, but the more I look at it the more I like what I see. I especially enjoyed this orange anorak jacket which I am seriously considering buying. I also am fond of the variety of accessories that Toast has done for fall. The wonderful wool blankets from Canadian maker MacAusland’s Woolen Mills, the flannel “hottie” covers, the Dietz storm lanterns, the chunky knit socks and the awesome glassware (like the bedside flask that is pictured below). Granted the brand is mostly womens and I don’t know if a guy should be wandering around town with a flannel-covered hot water bottle, but I appreciate the aesthetic. That or I am just a sucker for an orange anorak. [Toast]
After my trip to the Rose Bowl flea I headed over to check out the recently relocated Mohawk General Store on Sunset Blvd in Silverlake. The shop is owned by Kevin Carney (who is also co-founder of Generic Man) and his wife Bo. The menswear and vintage stereos are Kevin’s responsibility the ladies clothing is handled by Bo and the furniture is courtesy of Amsterdam Modern. Mohawk creates a unique mix of European mid-century modern furniture and a strong selection of good menswear from brands like Post Overalls, Engineered Garments, Tellason, Baxter of California, Tanner Goods, Our Legacy, Eastland Shoe, Earnest Alexander, The Hill-Side, Gitman Bros. Vintage, Yuketen, Moscot and of course The Generic Man. I really wanted to buy a set of Dutch stacking chairs that are set up near the entrance, but I erred on the side of owning less chairs. Especially since I have been so successful on Craigslist recently. If you are in LA, check out Mohawk’s new space and maybe pick up some Dutch stacking school chairs or a pair of jeans; whatever you may need or want. [Mohawk General Store]
Portland, Maine is the perfect New England town. I sort of see it as a less crowded (and less crazy) version of Boston. All of that Yankee charm and none of the hassle. The town is especially attractive when you live in a place like New York (like me) and have to deal with the daily assault on your senses. What also makes Portland a viable home (in my mind) is its access to Barbour coats via the shop Barbour by David Wood. Because I don’t want to live in a town that doesn’t sell Barbour coats. I just don’t. Mail order be damned.
I’m only kidding about the availability of Barbour coats being a factor in where I live, but I’m not kidding about Barbour by David Wood being a great shop. The oilcloth-outpost is essentially a company store that stocks the full collection (something I have only seen on a few occasions), including the Barbour Beacon range designed by To Ki To. So if you are looking for a specific jacket you couldn’t find at other Barbour retailers, chances are Barbour by David Wood will have it. Now you know. Plus the staff is friendly and the shop’s location is about as perfect setting as any to buy outerwear for inclement weather. And Portland better watch out, I might get my Barbours together and migrate north. You’ve been warned. [Barbour by David Wood]