In just a year and a half, Guild LA has become the spot for Angelenos seeking European fashion with a heaping dose of Cali cool. Christopher and Christine Rosen opened their light and airy, gallery-style boutique in the heart of eclectic Venice Beach’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where Speedo-clad roller bladders rub elbows with cappuccino sipping tourists, wine tasters and art aficionados. The store’s refreshingly fastidious take on the New York and Parisian collections, has customers braving bad parking just to stop by, check out the new photography instillations and browse the racks. Here, Christopher Rosen chats about the store’s unique buying habits and why Guild has grown to be a destination boutique.

“This project, Guild LA, is a year and a half old, started by my wife and I when we wanted to leave New York and move to Los Angeles. We chose Venice because it’s untapped. There are no stores here like us. Venice is a community of musicians, artists and creative people. Our gallery-like setting fits in very well.

Designers we carry like Haider Ackermann, Mihara Yasuhiro and Label Under Construction are not about what’s trending. As far as trends, even I can’t tell you what I like. I just know it when I see it. We look for daily wearability in Los Angeles, even if it’s fur and leather silhouettes. We find things that can translate into LA. Here, you can’t get too dressed up or it won’t fit the lifestyle. It’s jeans and sneakers. You can see a girl in thrift store jeans and a T-shirt with Christian Louboutin heels and that’s LA.
Guild interior
Guild interior

I am originally from LA so I understand that. In New York, fashion is a uniform. They will wear one designer from head to toe because they think that’s how you’re supposed to do it. But, in our store, it might be fashion when the designer creates it, but it’s style once it’s purchased. That’s the tone of our store. I mean, the customer doesn’t always see it the way the designer meant it and in Los Angeles, the customer is much more creative. Here, a girl can wear Ugg Boots, a Rick Owens jacket and a trucker hat and fit in at any coffee shop on any given morning. People will see that look and recreate it just that way for themselves. That’s why, when we buy, we focus, instead, on great fabrics and great silhouettes.

Customers return because we’re always offering something unexpected. We even have salespeople from other stores come in. Their stores carry the same designers that we do but we buy differently and they want to know why they aren’t carrying the lines in this way. We never buy anything collection-based. We might buy tops only or a few items. We don’t buy into only what the designers is saying with the collection. We’re like a gallery, comfortable. Our gray walls and white floors make it light and easy to browse.

We’ve come such a long way up from our first year. There is, however, always room to grow. We haven’t gotten into jeans, for instance, and that’s an area we’d like to explore with maybe R13, Rick Owens or even J Brand. We only really shop New York and Paris, taking the designers and incorporating art into the space. We’re not at all standoffish. One customer even said she keeps coming back simply for the way we fold the clothes and place them into her bag!”