"THIS STORE IS about following my instincts. Whenever I do that, magical things happen," promises Sharon Simonaire, owner of Oddiyana, an elegantly earthy store on Melrose filled with unique found objects from all over the world. "Furniture is the new fashion," she says. "And I feel the '90s is a coming-together time, so this store is my own geopolitical statement--a gathering place." And Simonaire has a knack for gathering. She is the preferred stylist for such taste makers as photographer Herb Ritts; she collected the just-right accouterments for his hit black-and-white Gap print ads and the tails (which she designed) for his Madonna mermaid (and mermen) video, "Cherish."
"I felt I needed something that expressed my own vision, since for so long I have been executing other people's ideas," Simonaire says. " Oddiyana is the Tibetan word meaning 'beyond the imagination,' and that's where I want this store to take me and everyone else." Her imagination has taken her all over--from Oklahoma, where she discovered a collection of American decorative Roosevelt pottery and a medicine woman who does native beading, to Africa, for handsome ancient wooden bowls. In Oddiyana, antique French furniture re-covered in colorful hand-woven Guatemalan fabric sits near collectible ceremonial textiles from Borneo. Chinese linens are strikingly juxtaposed against copper lamps by local artisan Claire Dishman. "One of my goals," Simonaire says, "is to help cultures expose their indigenous crafts--not just as they're done for tourists. I just want truly beautiful objects to survive."
Oddiyana, 4323 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 664-1826.