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291 Venice dives into beachwear

Classics like board shorts pair with the latest slouchy trends at this label that's all about 'peace and love.'

July 19, 2009|Max Padilla

Los Angeles is the birthplace of a closet's worth of daywear trends -- now-ubiquitous items such as Juicy Couture tracksuits and American Apparel retro cotton basics that mine and mutate the city's legendary cool. Two-year-old 291 aims to join the list with looks that channel the laid-back chic of Venice Beach, home of label founders Matthieu Le Blan, Christina Apostolidou and Simon Cohen.

They conceived the collection from a studio on Abbot Kinney Boulevard (the 291 in the name comes from the last three digits of the area's ZIP Code), and as might be surmised, their core focus is on apres beach items such as scoop-neck jersey T-shirts ($82) that are tissue-thin so a bikini can peek through.

"We all came from different countries and were inspired by 1970s surf culture," says Apostolidou, a former trend-forecaster at Guess, who hails from Greece. Cohen, her South African husband, was a former partner in the Michael Stars label, and Le Blan is French. "Venice is where we found our home."

True to a label named after a beach community, 291 has three styles of shorts: a classic board short ($71, or $82 with graphic print), a slouchy version ($98 to $109) and a Dolphin-inspired short-short style with a scalloped edge ($69 to $80). The current collection silhouette is pull-on slouchy, exemplified by a women's boyfriend pocket-pant, $118, or $140 with a graphic print designed by Le Blan.

For fall, 291 is ready for those chilly evenings with a cashmere crewneck ($256) worn off the shoulder and a $120 fleece baggy pant with cinched cuff. Men can choose long-sleeve crew-neck T-shirts ($69) and pull-on sweat pants ($127) also with cinched cuffs.

"Venice still has that artistic hippie community," Apostolidou says. " 'Peace and love' is the message we want to communicate."

291 is available at Theodore, 336 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 276-0663.

www.theodorebh.com

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OPENING

Tavin: Erin Julie Tavin, a stylist and costumer, calls her new boutique L.A.'s answer to Helena Christensen's Butik in New York. The store, which grew out of a Rose Bowl flea market stall, stocks new and vintage designer apparel, accessories and books and quilts in a rustic setting featuring reclaimed furnishings. Clothing prices range from $20 to $400, with the majority of the collection under $150. Studio services are available.

1543 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 482-5832. Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

www.lifebytavin.com

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SALES

Monique Lhuillier Today: It's a lucky day for those having late summer or fall weddings. Monique Lhuillier is taking 40% to 90% off wedding dress samples and ready-to-wear including evening and cocktail dresses at this downtown sale. Brides-to-be can find deals such as a $3,000 full-lace gown (retail regular price $6,300) and a $2,000 satin dress ($4,620). Evening and cocktail frocks are priced from $200 to $3,000. All sales are final. No appointments or alterations provided.

1201 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-1088. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

www.moniquelhuillier.com

Oliver Peoples Saturday: The L.A.-based eyewear maker is kicking off its sale season with a "summer sessions" event Saturday night at its Malibu location. Then, on July 30, and every Thursday through Aug. 27, it will offer similar sales at its Sunset Boulevard flagship. All eyewear will be priced at either $99 or $119 (regularly $300 to $500) during the events, and there will be complimentary cocktails.

6 to 9 p.m. 3900 Cross Creek Road, Malibu. (310) 456-1333.

6 to 9 p.m. 8642 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-2553.

www.oliverpeoples.com

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EVENTS

Wee Soles Shoe Drive Ongoing through July 26: Clean out your closet for a good cause. The Silver Lake children's shoe store hosts a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that distributes new and used shoes to needy people in 125 countries (including the U.S.). Turn in a gently worn pair of shoes (for children or adults) and receive 15% off a new pair at Wee Soles. Footwear for girls and boys encompasses sandals, Mary Janes, sneakers and creepers. Prices begin at $18 for Havaianas and $32 for Keds and rise to $50 for Stride Rite and $75 for Ecco or Garvalin.

3827 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 667-0774. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

www.giveshoes.org, www.wee-soles.com

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SALON

Cristophe Monday: Get your locks trimmed and do some good for hospitalized children as the luxury salon celebrates National Lollipop Day with a special promotion: 50% off salon services. Half of the day's proceeds will go to the Lollipop Theater Network, which brings current movies to chronically ill children and those with life-threatening illnesses in hospitals nationwide. Sample prices with discount: $80 haircuts for women ($35 for men), $40 blow dry, $100 highlights, $50 color, $20 deep conditioning. By appointment only.

348 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 858-3883 or (310) 274-0851. 1 to 7 p.m.

www.cristophe.com, www.lollipoptheater.org

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max@maxpadilla.com

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