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Treasures downtown

January 20, 2008|Erin Weinger | Times Staff Writer

Once a highlight of vacations spent at Bubbe's Boca Raton condo, the flea market has come full circle. Today's inaugural South Park Flea Market is about to make the swap meet chic but also give savvy shoppers reason to head downtown on a Sunday.

"I love downtown," says founder Phillip Dane on picking the up-and-coming 'hood for his open-air venture. Dane earned his place among L.A. flea market royalty when he founded the Melrose Trading Post in 1991. Dane is no longer involved in that project, but his vision lives on as celebs such as Mandy Moore can still be found there searching for knickknacks on any given Sunday.

For South Park, the vendors had to undergo a Harvard-like admissions process before being awarded coveted booth space. "I got 800 applications, and so far I approved about 30." Dane is critical of the goods that will fill his new 10,000-square-foot space, which ultimately will house 450 vendors but today plays host to fewer than 100 purveyors of odds and ends. "I'm really picky." Unlike typical flea markets, South Park's dealers don't offer dollar-store wares.

Instead, Dane says shoppers can expect to find a vast selection of vintage furniture, clothing, accessories and jewelry -- lots and lots of jewelry. Prices vary by seller and are rarely set in stone, leaving the buyer with room at the bargaining table. Haggling headaches are eased by a plethora of available parking spaces, which may fill rapidly once a planned farmers market completes this department store-style bazaar. "It's the Fred Segal of flea markets. Only cheaper." Dane may be stretching it a bit, but we are excited for the urban treasure hunt anyway. Eighth Street and Grand Avenue, L.A. (866) 966-9495. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, starting today.


Sergio Rossi now open: The Italian cobbler has joined the ranks of Melrose Place's elite with the opening of a lounge-inspired boutique. On display are handbags and shoes for men and women from Rossi's whimsical Cruise collection. Creative director Edmundo Castillo's eel-skin peep-toe pumps are one of the richly hued options worth trying on, while the Hollywood Boulevard-style platforms complete with cherry-printed fabric are best left on the shelf. 8424 Melrose Place, West Hollywood. (323) 944-0864. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Philip Press Master Jewelers now open: If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then this two-story gem emporium is her childhood buddy, personal assistant and sister rolled into one. The platinum specialist has moved into a modern, 4,000-square-foot space next door to its original Sunset Plaza boutique. Couples about to drop a few paychecks on wedding baubles can calm their nerves in the luxurious bridal lounge. Meanwhile, unattached shoppers looking to spend disposable income will be happy to note that many pieces are less than $1,500. 8605 Sunset Plaza, Los Angeles. (310) 360-1180. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.


Monique Lhuillier Thursday through Saturday: Make an appointment to see why this FIDM grad gives Vera Wang a run for her money. Stylish brides-to-be are invited to preview Lhuillier's Fall 2008 collection of gowns in the comfort of her Melrose Place flagship. 8485 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. (323) 655-1088. By appointment: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.


Last Chance Boutique through Jan. 31: This hidden gem gets its collection of contemporary labels from stores on Sunset and Robertson boulevards and then offers them to shoppers at 50% to 80% off original prices. That means names such as BCBG and Tocca are a steal. And now that Last Chance has put out racks of goods starting at $15 and topping off at $50, shoppers can hit the fashion jackpot. Fall and winter pieces from Rebecca Taylor, Ruth and Free People are just a small sample of the brands that will be rotated into rack stock until the sale ends. 8712 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 287-2333. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Trina Turk Wednesday through Jan. 31: This California-based contemporary designer embodies midcentury fabulousness with her fun and quirky collections. Ladies hoping to add some of Turk's bubbly sophistication to their wardrobes are in luck; fall and holiday sportswear are being discounted to 60% off original prices. Dresses, pants, blouses and coats spanning four collections are included in the reduced bunch. Delman shoes and hats by Lola add price-cut polish from head to toe. 8008 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. (323) 651-1382. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. 891 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. (760) 416-2856. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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