Today I went for a little stroll at The Grove. (For those of you unfamiliar with these parts, The Grove is a fairly recent Los Angeles initiative to create a car free shopping environment.) Yes. It's a mall. But more than that; The Grove is "your ultimate entertainment destination for shopping, dining and simply loving life" as it so promisingly states on the info site... Though this might be a slight overstatement.
The whole place looks as if it's meant to resemble a really quaint old European town centre, complete with a village green, cobbled streets, (choreographed!) fountains, picturesque buildings (to house the shops and restaurants), clock towers and street performers. There's even a vintage-looking tram to cart you around should your feet, so unused to the activity of walking, suddenly fail to carry you. This is really and truly overkill though, considering it takes about 10 min to walk at a very leisurely tempo from one end of the mall (sorry, village) to the other. BUT all cynicism aside, in a city where you literally have to drive from A to B at all times (even when A is, say the post office and B is Starbucks, nothing is ever within walking distance in L.A), The Grove does offer something unusual; the opportunity to saunter from one shop to another, outdoors, for a consecutive period of time. It is also quite cozy in that shiny and too perfect Disney-world sort of way. Somehow it works, and in spite of all my (tough?) talk about it lacking authenticity, naffness overload etc. I keep coming back for more.
Like today, I went there for the aforementioned stroll, some general cheer (one can always find cheer at The Grove!) and to do a spot of browsing at my usual haunts; Banana, Anthro, J Crew, Barneys Co-op, Nordstrom and ZARA. The latter offered up some really nice surprises and totally whetted my appetite for some serious spring shopping. "Loving life" indeed! :)
Unfortunately, I am proving to still be quite an amateur at this blogging business - I forgot my camera and therefore couldn't document my "experience". So here instead, to hopefully inspire and enthuse you, are four professional images of some of the cute looks from ZARA's current collection: