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Jeans with a mortgage

June 17, 2007

One look at the 3-centuries-old castle door flown in from Italy and the cockpit-turned-jeans bar salvaged from an airplane graveyard at the new Diesel flagship, and it's clear denim has entered another level. With his newest address on tony Melrose Place Italian jeans magnate Renzo Rosso is redefining the market once again.

L.A. is near and dear to Rosso. In 1978, he started selling his jeans down the street at Ron Herman on Melrose. He was brash from the start. "I was selling $100 denim when the most expensive was $59," he boasted on a recent visit. Diesel has since grown into a $1.5-billion lifestyle brand, with home wares next up. And Rosso, he of the curly mop of hair and double Rs inked on his tawny fingers, is on his way to creating his own luxury conglomerate, having invested in a stable of rebel-rousing brands including DSquared, Sophia Kokosalaki and Martin Margiela, who opens a boutique in nearby Beverly Hills in September.

"My vision for the future is to create a new kind of luxury for a new generation," he said. "It's not about established brands. It's more casual, more individual." But no less expensive. Flipping the price tag on a pair of jeans on the jeans bar, Rosso surprises even himself. "$665?" he remarked. "Wow." Wow indeed. 8401 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, (866) 479-8355. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon to 6 p.m. Sun.

OPENINGS

A.P.C. Wes Craven and Sofia Coppola are among the terminally cool style makers who've made a cult of the French brand A.P.C., which opened its first West Coast store this week -- and second in the U.S. after New York. On the most-coveted list is the denim -- created to be worn, unwashed, until it reaches a distinctly dirty patina. But they also love A.P.C.'s uber-preppy staples -- think high-end Abercrombie on Evian. The new Madras collection is here, but likely not for long. It's nearly sold out in New York and Paris. Get thyself there tout suite. 619 N. Croft Ave.; (323) 297-0414, www.apc.fr; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; noon to 6 p.m. Sun.

Feraud hits 90210 Former ski instructor Louis Feraud founded his label in Cannes in 1950, and it quickly epitomized La Dolce Vita when he began collaborating with Brigitte Bardot on her film wardrobe and personally, as with her wedding gown. The couture collection was shelved five years ago, but the Paris house is full steam now with jewelry, fur, lingerie and bikinis, all under the creative direction of Jean-Pierre Marty. 9534 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 858-0129, www.feraud.com; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon to 5 p.m. Sun.

Gas Bijoux fires up Gas Bijoux's costume jewelry and cotton-linen clothes attract the bootylicious. No wonder Shakira is a fan. Marseilles-born Andre Gas founded the French shop three decades ago, and this new boutique conjures a whiff of North Africa with breezy Nice-ready wares. Hot sellers include lacy medallion earrings with butterflies. 8012 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 651 9844, www.gasbijoux.fr; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon to 6 p.m. Sun.

Colette Jewelry Thursday: Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba adore Colette Steckel's hand-made jewelry inspired by Hispanic art and Parisian Impression. Drawn from her French-Mex heritage, she also debuts her kid's collection (mini gold and diamond tulips) in this first shop stateside. 8457 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, (323) 951-9148, www.colettejewelry.com; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

Publik Park playtime Shopping time is playtime for most grown-ups. At Publik Park, former hedge fund manager Tom Heckmann has created the ultimate playground complete with synthetic grass and tree and flower lamps. Also find an array of labels known for their youthful flair: Madison Marcus, Harajuku Lovers, Jenny Han, Junk Food, Buddhist Punk, Religion, Beach Bunny, Taylor & Hyde, Alara, and Converse by John Varvatos. 114 S. La Brea Ave. (323) 936-5331, www.publikparkclothing.com; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat.; noon to 6 p.m. Sun.

Avedon Leonardo di Caprio and Usher score their super smart get-ups at Avedon, home to the Belvest suit, hand-sewn and ringing in at a whopping seven grand. Newly relocated to Robertson Avenue, the minimally modern space (steel and glass fixtures, concrete floors) was designed by Thomas Schoos of trendy sushi eatery Koi fame. Maybe that's why there's a happy Buddha gazing down on shoppers. Find tons of exclusives too, like south of France's Europann line. 322 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (310) 888-1899, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; noon to 5 p.m. Sun.

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