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Luxe life in the Valley

If they wanted to shop in Beverly Hills, they'd live there. Good thing Neiman's has a new outpost.

September 14, 2008|Erin Weinger | Times Staff Writer

NEIMAN MARCUS launched its latest luxury storefront this month with a gala set amid flora, fauna, feathers and -- as all good parties go -- a few wild beasts. The "jungle" was deep in the heart of the Valley at Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park, where the well-heeled and curious came for a first look at the store's expansive 120,000 square feet.

The Dallas-based retailer's sixth California outpost joins the Beverly Hills flagship that was long the company's sole L.A. County presence. And shoppers who will no longer have to hop over the hill to buy a Balenciaga biker jacket welcomed the prospect with a showing of wild animal prints, blindingly flashy logos and head-turning couture creations befitting a locale far more glamorous than a mall.

"We'll be back tomorrow," said Calabasas resident Reyna Hoffman, clad in Chanel down to a logo-laced scarf and oversized rings with the brand's double Cs. A longtime devotee of Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, Hoffman said she's excited about shopping closer to home, especially since she plans to launch her own clothing line and won't have time for city gridlock.

Brenda Morra-Rooney of Woodland Hills was also "very excited" to have the luxury portal in her own backyard. She arrived in a skintight leopard-print Dolce & Gabbana dress, black patent leather YSL Tribute platforms and a matching Gucci clutch with the brand's gold-stamped crest -- a style carried by multiple partygoers.

But perhaps the most enthusiastic visitors to the store, which features an outdoor cafe with cascading waterfalls and a selection of Jimmy Choos that would make Carrie Bradshaw drool, were Ester Bubis and her daughter, Annette Melin, an interior designer from Camarillo.

Dressed in a vibrant purple Valentino couture gown with ruffles and bows, Bubis explained that she'd return to sample the store's bespoke services. "My car's on autopilot."

Melin, wearing an elaborate beaded creation by British designer Jenny Packham and fresh lilies in her hair, was happy that the store's location allows for major multi-tasking. "It's right near my children's school," she said. "I'll be in after I drop them off."

Still, not everyone in the sea of elaborate frocks was glad to be north of the 101.

Roberta Marantz, wearing a surprisingly simple black-and-white leopard-print dress by Roberto Cavalli, said she made the trek from her Pacific Palisades home only to support her daughter, a member of the evening's honorary committee, which helped raise more than $60,000 for local charities. And one trip to the "wilds" seemed to be enough. Said Marantz: "I never come to the Valley."


6550 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. (818) 316-7000. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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