October 03 2010
The Fairfax District is a cultural crossroads that could only happen in Los Angeles: a vibrant, felicitous mix of alterna-kids and screenwriters, Hasidic families and Hollywood clotheshorses. It’s an ideal venue for fashion and accessories designers Kristen Lee and Brady Cunningham, who opened TenOverSix in summer 2009 with Lee’s husband, music-video and film director Joe Cole (centre).
“The aesthetic is eclectic, new and fun,” says Lee. “Above all, we want the experience to be one of discovery.” The same Lower East Side sensibility that informed their creative roots is brought to bear on TenOverSix’s inventory: a sure-handed edit of clothing and accessories by designers working almost entirely outside the corporate fashion machine (among a handful of more recognised labels such as Vivienne Westwood, APC and Comme des Garçons).
For women, clothing features fashion-editors’ favourite Vena Cava – the silk-cotton-elastic Yurt Dress ($276) drapes beautifully – and Brooklyn eco-chic label Bodkin, whose long, washed silk Wavelength dress ($437) is, says Lee, “perfect, kind of grungy yet luxurious”. Bags range from embellished leather clutches in sorbet hues by Meredith Wendell (from $395) to soft shoulder bags by Alexander Wang, including the Daria duffel ($850); “This has ‘new classic’ written all over it,” says Lee.
You’ll find shoes by Rachel Comey (caramel Mars boots, $375) and Alexandre Herchcovitch (tasselled and studded Prairie boots, $975, that “are not for the faint of heart”), but also from TenOverSix’s own line (its wooden-soled wedges, $345, are a bestseller). Jewellery runs from Sunday Best’s delicate Moroccan Bib necklace ($352) to Lizzie Fortunato’s bright, bold fabric Frivolous Tonight necklace ($858).
Men get a nod, too. Cole, with Cunningham’s husband, actor Jason Schwartzman, aids the selection of elevated American-heritage fashion; think brogues and plimsolls by Duckie Brown for Florsheim (from $295), and Oxford shirts and skinny ties by Band of Outsiders ($135).
But TenOverSix’s point of differentiation is the shop itself. Organised like a gallery, its concrete floors, plywood box shelving and general-issue clothing racks contrast dynamically with beautiful iron-and-glass jewellery cases and bona-fide artwork by the likes of photographer Massimo Vitale. CDs sit next to Six Scents fragrances ($95) and the airy front room houses a satellite of Brooklyn home-design store The Future Perfect and a book kiosk by LA’s Book Soup – so DFC Animal Trophy Heads ($700) and arty, pocket-sized reissues of modern classics ($9.95) make their own style statements. “Our focus is on displaying the product as art,” says Lee, “but always, hopefully, with a bit of a wink.”