It’s the end of an era and whilst cleaning out my wardrobe a couple of weeks back I found myself staring one of my possessions right in the face with fond memories, thinking “I’m so glad I did this.” And yes I am referring to the ever so slightly garish yellow and mint green sequinned beach bag in the above photo. And if you have no clue why this garish bag brings back so many memories for me, then let me back track.
Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood was the celebrity hotspot of the noughties with it’s hip, trendy fashion boutiques and upmarket cafes for brunching in style. It was the perfect photo op for celebrities. So when fashion boutique Kitson opened up in 2000, it gave them a way to stay relevant. Anyone remember the Ed Hardy t-shirts, the Von Dutch trucker caps? You must at least remember the Juicy Couture velour tracksuit trend? Kitson and the power of celebrity were pivotal to making these items a coveted trend that the media ran with, turning these items into hot cakes, and in-turn feeding these celebrities more fame, more airtime and more money.
As a teenager at the time, I wasn’t bothered by any of that I just wanted to be able to experience a taster of these glamorous, fashionable lives. There was no Keeping up with the Kardashian’s at this point, TV back then was Paris and Nicole on The Simple Life and the fictional lives of the rich kids living in Newport Beach on the The O.C, and soon followed by our first sighting of Lauren Conrad on MTV’s Laguna Beach: The Real O.C, in 2004. I was sitting gripped to my TV screen wanting to live, breathe and own that lifestyle, if only for just a second. It sounds so superficial but let’s be honest we have all been influenced by celebrity culture and this era was just the beginning of that. I had a little trick up my sleeve, a plan of how I was going to go from a teenage girl living in the British countryside to seeing the sights of West Hollywood that I had only witnessed before via the media.
For those of you who don’t already know, I was born in Southern California about a couple of hours outside LA. My parents had always promised that they would take me back to the town I was born in, when I was ready to explore that part of my life. That time came just after my 15th birthday. We holidayed in California for two weeks and now looking back on it I dragged my poor family around the streets of god knows where, whilst I tried to fulfil everything on my itinerary list! Kitson wasn’t the only celeb boutique I had on that list. Lisa Kline, Intuition (on West Pico Blvd) and the shortlived Belle Gray (in Shermon Oaks and famously owned by Lisa Rinna, who is now starring in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) were also on that list too. Sorry parents, I got a little carried away with myself. But I am so glad they put up with that, because at that moment in my life, I was living out a dream.
Since that holiday I remember checking these stores websites every day, checking for new in items, the latest trends and to stalk the celeb sightings. In terms of social media, we only had Myspace back then meaning magazines, TV and online stores were the only ways to keep up with celebrity culture. The way we consume things now has changed so much whether it be news, socialising or shopping, our habits have changed, leading to the downfall of once upon a time, the almighty Kitson. Kim Kardashian and her 60-something million Instagram followers, her countless selfies, the rise of blogging, vlogging and YouTube prove that there are now new ways of consuming media, discovering trends and staying relevant.
Kitson closed its doors on all its 17 stores last month having had a huge closing down sale and upon hearing this news I couldn’t help but feel saddened. Any visit to LA from here on out, will never be the same again. But looking at this piece of Kitson merchandise I have in my hands today, I think of nothing but great memories. I was a shy teenager not so confident in my own skin, but I took an opportunity and seized the day. I wanted to go somewhere, I wanted to do something and so I did. Whether you agree or disagree with the power of celebrity culture, it pushed me to get outside my comfort zone. I got to be a part of that Kitson story and not everyone will get to say that.
Long story short: Nothing stays the same for too long and if you are presented with an opportunity, take it. Don’t worry if your dream opportunity isn’t here right now, you can always create it. We only get one life, don’t let your biggest opportunities become your biggest regrets.
Thanks for the memories, Kitson. But thank god some of those fashion trends of the early 2000s are gone too!