If actress Berry Berenson could shop on just one street in the Los Angeles area, she says she'd choose Melrose Avenue. Weekends she's been seen browsing through the boutiques with her husband, actor Tony Perkins. Other times she and her sons, Osgood and Elvis, cruise the street in her root-beer-color Chevy convertible.
Berenson, who works as a free-lance photographer, says she became familiar with the street's one-of-a-kind shops when she put together a picture essay about Melrose Avenue for an international news-photography agency.
In the process she learned where to find everything from sweat shirts to evening suits, from footwear to furniture. Now, she has her own list of favorite haunts. And the top 10 are listed here:
Melons, 8739 Melrose Ave., (213) 854-3474, is a women's clothing store that tops Berenson's best-shopping list. It features sportswear by contemporary designers with a penchant for Norma Kamali's most wearable designs. The store has a good selection of accessories as well, particularly belts, bags and socks.
Melons Shoes, 8750 Melrose Ave., (213) 854-7734, is just across the street from the clothing store. Classic pumps and sporty flats are two staples. But the store also carries funky footwear to go with aerobics wear and weekend clothes that Berenson believes is like none other in town.
Melons Kids, 8750 Melrose Ave., (213) 854-7734, is a new boutique within the Melons Shoes shop stocked with a supply of tiny clothes for tots and infants. The beaded T-shirts, hand-painted overalls, crocheted sweaters and bonnets are enough to make adults drool.
Steps Into Space, 7518 Melrose Ave., (213) 852-0070, started as a custom-shoe shop. But Lyn Adolphson, the owner, has since branched out. Now the store carries one-of-a-kind outfits for day and evening, including clothing by Ugo Blake, as well as jewelry designed by Adolphson and other Los Angeles artist/designers. Berenson says it's the store where she always finds "that one, strange thing."
Body Express, 7660 Melrose Ave., (213) 655-5572, is a fitness center that offers yoga and aerobics, stretch and alignment classes, prenatal and boxing programs. The first class starts at 6:30 a.m., the last ends at 9:30 p.m., every day of the week. Berenson says she goes to the stretch and alignment classes and sometimes has lunch at the health-food bar.
Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose Ave., (213)
651-4129, is a shopping city of sorts. A string of boutiques under one
roof includes individual stores for T-shirts and
sweat shirts, jeans, writing papers, household gadgets, kids' candies, lingerie, shoes and baggage. And there is an outdoor cafe. The atmosphere and fashion taste are playful, unisex and for the whole family. Berenson buys sweat shirts there for herself that her boys wear too.
Tiger Rose, 7378 Melrose Ave., (213) 658-8179, has hand-painted shirts by Los Angeles artists Atila, Jetty and Mike Sagara. But the real accent is on imported Japanese sportswear for work and weekends. It used to be that almost everything in the shop was a paisley print. But this season the look is floral prints. Berenson says she likes the shirts.
Cowboys & Poodles, 7379 Melrose Ave., (213) 653-3553, has just expanded its stock from never-been-worn '50s and '60s fashions to used '50s furniture and never-been-used tableware. The shop is designed to look like a '50s car wash. And among the Beatle boots for men and pointed-toe pumps for women, you might find the occasional Courreges dress or vintage Paco Rabanne earrings.
Les Enfants, 8332 Melrose Ave., (213) 651-0527, is a children's shop that carries sizes 0 to 8 for boys and girls. And most items are made of 100% cotton. Hand-painted T-shirts are a specialty; so are designer clothes from Italy and France. At Halloween the store carries fantasy costumes.
Vinyl Fetish, 7305 Melrose Ave., (213) 935-1300, is a record store with a good selection of current American and British rock music and a little case for jewelry of the spike-and-stud variety, where Berenson buys earrings and bracelets. The store also carries a selection of rock-star posters. "I buy the posters for my kids," Berenson says.