Where to go in California, according to handbag entrepreneur and Los Angeles resident Clare Vivier.
Aside from one post-college stint working in a streetwear store, Minnesota native Clare Vivier had no experience in the fashion industry when she moved to Los Angeles in 2001. But that didn’t stop her from designing and launching her own line of handbags. “It felt like anything was possible here,” reflects Vivier, who has since built Clare V., her Paris-inspired accessories line, into a powerhouse brand with seven shops spread between California and New York. Here’s how the longtime East L.A. resident makes the most of her adopted state.
Where to Eat
“I like to stay local. We like a place called Ostrich Farm in Echo Park. It’s very fresh New American food; try the seafood tostada. I also love Marvin in Mid-City. They have really delicious pastas, whole branzino fish, and crepes and a drink list with lots of French and Italian wines. I always order the ratatouille. And the pizza at Bestia downtown is the best—I like the one with house-made spicy nduja. My favorite place for pastries is Proof. It’s a bakery/coffee shop in Atwater Village and one of the reasons I moved our office—just to be closer to it. Their chocolate-chip cookies and quiche are great, and the croissants are perfectly crispy on the outside, with a nice flakiness and butteriness on the inside.”
“I love Mohawk General Store. It has a great collection of women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories. They carry all the lines I want to see, including Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Rachel Comey, and Ulla Johnson. For vintage, I like Luxe De Ville in Echo Park. It's been there almost 20 years and it’s consistently amazing; I can always find unusual statement pieces or something fancy if I’m going to an event. The owner, Oscar, likes to embellish a lot of his pieces; I got a black vintage blazer and he put a giant sequined jaguar patch on the back of it. It’s very ’80s looking, but the juxtaposition works.
“Jewelry is having a moment in Los Angeles right now. Jessica Winzelberg makes large statement pieces with colorful, beautiful, natural stones, which she polishes till smooth. Kathryn Bentley has a beautiful store in Silverlake called Dream Collective where she carries her own jewelry line—very classic, handmade gem work, sometimes adorned with gold and diamonds—plus great local potters like Bari Ziperstein of BZippy & Co. She works with fun geometric shapes and bright colors, like cobalt blue and pink. I also like her flower bud vases with lady hands wrapped around them; the fingernails are bright and pointy. I'm a big fan of Rami Kim, too. She’s a Korean-American ceramicist whose best-selling pieces are face pots. There’s such great energy here; between design, fashion, interiors, and art, there’s a lot going on in California’s creative world right now.”
Where to Stay
“Hotel Covell is a really cute, small hotel on the East Side. Each room feels like a tiny, well-designed apartment. And it’s right above Bar Covell, a nice place to grab a drink at night. L.A. is heavily influenced by the entertainment world, but the East Side is a little more grounded. A lot of people have jobs in Hollywood, but they don’t want to live in that bubble.”
“We’re really lucky to have so many great public museums in Los Angeles like MOCA and LACMA. There’s also been a rise in private, family-owned museums: The Broad, the Marciano Foundation, the two Getty museums. I go to LACMA the most. It’s the biggest museum in Los Angeles and the most visitor-friendly. It’s easy to get to, easy to park, and there’s a great restaurant there (Ray’s and Stark Bar) and concerts at night. They’re very community-oriented—like they want people there all the time.”
How to Get Outdoors
“The Upper Las Virgenes Canyon is a beautiful wilderness hike and very, very remote. It’s only an hour from Los Angeles, but if you need to stay in the city, you can always hike in Elysian or Griffith Park. They’re very wild and beautiful, with a lot of trails throughout. The Malibu Creek State Park is also really remote and lovely. And if you have a family, it’s easy to go camping—or “glamping”—at El Capitan Canyon, right next to Santa Barbara. They have nice canvas tents and cabins for rent. Another cool area I’d recommend is Lotusland in Montecito; it’s the garden of this woman [Madame Ganna Walska who was married a million times. It’s just a majestic space.”
“I recently ran a relay at the Big Sur Marathon and fell in love with the area. My best meal was lunch at Big Sur Bakery. You feel like you’re eating in this remote place, yet you sit down to the most sophisticated meal. Everything was delicious: the chicken salad melt sandwich, the panzanella salad, the pastries, the wine. We also had a fantastic dinner at Deetjen’s, with a grilled calamari salad and spicy seafood paella. I also recommend having a drink on the lovely patio at Ventana Big Sur, a really dreamy resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“We love staying at the 29 Palms Inn [in Twentynine Palms] near Joshua Tree National Park. They have adorable bungalows and a nice restaurant, and it’s close enough to Joshua Tree to do a hiking day trip. The landscape there is so unique; the giant round rocks make you feel like you’re in a Tex Avery cartoon. They’re fun to climb and to hike through. And it’s so quiet, it’s a great time for reflection.”