My friend, Barbara, invited my other friend, Anneliese, and me for a day of bead buying at the Fashion District in LA. I’d heard people talk about the fabric and bead shops in that area but I and my credit card had never been there. We met at Barbara’s this morning and took a tour of her studio. It’s to die for! Tons of cabinets and beautiful countertops filled with papers, tools, stickers, clay, raw materials for mixed media art, a carousel of paints--basically an artists’ dream studio! I was so jealous!!
We hopped in the car and Barbara drove us into the heart of the wholesale fashion district. I was in heaven! I was looking for colored chain, which my usual wholesaler doesn’t sell. I found that and so much more. Beads that would cost three times as much elsewhere, charms I hadn’t seen anywhere else, mermaid toggles (I got three packs of those, since I didn’t know when I’d see them again) and some new display busts and a T-bar display for necklaces. Here’s the first shop we hit, a little blurry but you get the idea:
The Street of Beads:
After shopping and lugging our purchases all morning, we walked to Clifton's Cafeteria, an LA icon. Along the way, we encountered an ethnic parade:
Inside Clifton's, we grabbed trays and went through the old fashioned cafeteria line. I would have had memories of high school lunches but our food was never like this:
Inside the entrance to Clifton's:
Awesome LA architecture on our walk in the Jewelry District:
A poster near the employee's room at one of the shops we were in, taken mostly to show The Husband:
Quintessential Downtown LA:
When we'd finished shopping and were laden with packages, we caught a Dash bus (.25 cents a ride--can't beat that!) and didn't realize how far we'd walked until we saw how far we were from the car! We were ready for some sugar, so we set off to Olvera St. but got sidetracked by the Grand Central Market, a much smaller version of Fanieulle Hall in Boston. We got parked and Barbara realized we were right around the corner from The Bradbury Building, a beautiful old structure, where parts of Blade Runner and my favorite film of the summer, 500 Days of Summer, were filmed. First we marvelled at this building:
Then moved on to the Bradbury Building, which is plastered with Subway and Sprint signs... But it's the inside that's amazing and these photos don't even begin to show how spectacular and lofty it is.
To the right and left are old-fashioned elevator cages:
Wrought iron railings:
Two views with my stinky camera, of a Charlie Chaplin statue and us.
Me and Anneliese:
Barbara and Charlie:
From there, we went in search of ice cream (don't tell my Weight Watchers leader...) at the Market. I didn't get any pictures of the market itself but here's Angel's Flight, a little tram service to the top of the hill where The Disney Theatre is. We don't think it's been running in quite a while but it's very cute anyway:
When we finished our ice cream (mint chip, in case you're wondering), we thought we spied some filming down the street, so we investigated. Sure enough, a commercial for Lexus was being shot down the street. Sorry this is so blurry but you get the idea:
In the same neighborhood was this wall sized treatment of Anthony Quinn:
And, circling back to our original mission of beads, we happened to pop into a Persian art gallery on our way back to the car and here's a beautiful display of beads that complement the lovely outfit on this mannequin:
So, are you tired yet?
With only a few slow downs on the LA/OC freeways, we had a pleasant drive back to Barbara's house and I got home just after The Husband. Like a good Do-Be (anyone else remember Romper Room?), I costed out all my beads and findings and put everything away. Now I'm ready to play with all my shiny, new stuff!
Thanks to Barbara for a wonderful, fun day!