I’ve stepped inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Though, instead of the sweet stuff there is just endless vintage: $10 prairie dresses that could easily pass as bespoke Batsheva, ‘nice’ tops, Abba-esque platform boots, rails followed by more rails of 1930s-60s silk slip dresses, an entire room dedicated to flares in every colour combination and fabric you could possibly dream up (a personal favourite).
Actual location: cult vintage emporium Hidden Treasures, nestled in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles. You feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1970s… just google the exterior, you’ll see what I mean. I’m truly giddy and maybe a little disoriented. How in the world am I going to get through all of this? I go into a woman-on-a-mission trance-like state – a couple hours later emerging $120 dollars lighter and even more high, sandwiched between my big brown paper bags of archival treats. LA vintage is truly seductive, this much I know to be true, after just a week roaming around the City of Angels.
If a trip to Tinseltown is in the pipeline and you’re hell-bent on discovering more hidden gems – trust in LA-based photographer (and purveyor of all things retro-kitsch) Nadia Lee Cohen’s picks below.
Check out… Wasteland
Why? “I love this place for later designer pieces, it’s such a mixed bag and you never really know what you’re going to find.”
Where? 7428 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, United States
While you’re here… Melrose & Fairfax flea market is an antique mecca. It’s HUGE, so there really is something for everyone - think $1 band tees, floaty boho frocks, rare books and so much more. Warning: get there early before it gets packed (ideally pre-12pm on a Sunday). Then, post-shopping haul, grab a vegan burger and beer and chill out to live music in the courtyard. Perfection.
Check out… What Goes Around Comes Around
Why? “It’s pretty decadent here, but so fun even just to look at all the incredible pieces they find.”
Where? 9520 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
While you’re here… Book yourself a night at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel for a slice of Old Hollywood history. A brief refresher: the hotel was used as the primary setting for 90s classic Pretty Woman and Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen all called this their home for a time. Cool, huh?
Check out… St Vincent Thrifts
Why? “I couldn’t list all my favourite thrift store as it would take forever, but I love generally looking in the Goodwills and St Vincent thrifts - it’s great for prop inspiration as the most random things can turn up.”
Where? 210 N Ave 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031, United States
While you’re here… Pretend you’re a vino connoisseur at San Antonio’s Winery – LA’s longest running winery; complete with a tasting room, Italian cafeteria, and banquet hall. Delectable.
Check out… The Rose Bowl Flea Market
Why? “Usually way too hot to walk around in the summer, but love it in the winter months. I usually spend a good few hours wandering around here on a Sunday.”
Where? 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103, United States
While you’re here… Desperately seeking an oasis of calm? A 150-acre botanical garden (Descanso Gardens) is just a stone’s throw away from the flea market. Put your phone on airplane mode and relax.
Check out… Sunbeam Vintage
Why? “Amazing warehouse full of really special vintage furniture - my decor taste is very late 70s early 80s and this place caters to it perfectly.”
Where? 106 S Avenue 58, Los Angeles, CA 90042, United States
While you’re here… If you’re vinyl over streaming, stroll down to Permanent Records on York Blvd.