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City Guide: Mansur Gavriel Does Los Angeles

The designers behind those bags—you know, that are sold out everywhere?—share their must-go guide to the SoCal capital.

Okay, so you caught us. While we're definitely more than a little guilty of mentally putting all things over-the-top (do sparkly, Lego block CHANEL clutches and neon Saint Laurent totes ring a bell?) in both our mental and digital shopping carts, we swear we can totally do the pared-down thing too. There’s just something about the anonymity of a simple, yet ultimately luxurious, wear-everywhere bag. At least, you know, we would... if we could effing get our paws on one. Enter cult-hit brand Mansur Gavriel and their sumptuous totes and bucket bags, which, despite their uncomplicated, totally hardware and logo-free look, have sold out faster than you can say Phoebe Philo. And if we’re being honest here, more than a few of us over here at TC HQ have joined the miles-long waitlist that the bags have inspired. Okay, okay, so it's officially an office wide-thing. Hello?! Have you seen their bucket bag—tan exterior, ocean blue interior…we haven’t pined this hard for an accessory since Cher made the Prada backpack number one on our hit list.

So we decided to hit up the designers behind them (we swear our intentions were totally not that maybe they could sneak as tote or two) and—wouldn’t you know it— Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel were just as unassuming and easy going as the bags that bear their names. Their origin story is SoCal based (we should have guessed)—the two serendipitously met in Los Angeles and quickly became both friends and business partners. Hoping that a little bit of their effortless, no-fuss cool (which, let’s face it, seems to come naturally to native Angelinos, not so naturally to the rest of us, specifically us uptight East Coasters), could rub off on us, we asked them to share their must-hit-up-now locales—whether they’re iconic, underground or downright weird. 

“Los Angeles is one of our very favorite cities—we fatefully met as strangers for the first time at the xx concert at the Wiltern Theatre back in 2010,” Rachel told us. “Since Floriana was living in Berlin at the time, we got to know each other between the two cities and some of the these spots were a few of the first places where we spent time together.”  Herein, how to do L.A. the Mansur Gavriel way. Oh yeah, and shouldering their brand new backpack (out this fall—so, like, get on the waitlist now), in white no less, can’t hurt when it comes to achieving (or at least imitating) that whole Cali-cool thing.

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“The pink of this iconic hotel, and its towering palms and banana leaves, makes it breathtakingly beautiful and undeniably Old Hollywood. The Polo Lounge is a nostalgic nighttime spot with a piano bar and great people watching—the outside patio is also nice for brunch. Try the Fountain Coffee Room in the lower level for breakfast or lunch—it’s a compact, classic diner. Much of the hotel is outfitted in well-known textiles by Dorothy Draper, a very interesting interior designer from the ‘30s and ‘40s.”

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“The Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market is the best of the week in L.A. in terms of variety and volume. Given we are in NYC much of the time now, we love taking advantage of what’s available. The mostly organic produce is great quality and grown locally with care. Look out for the Ojai oranges.”

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“Breakfast and lunch at Axe Venice are the most peaceful, and the backyard is one of the best spots in all of L.A. to lounge. Everything is served on beautiful Heath Ceramics, a local California company that has been making tableware in Sausalito since 1959. The hand ground chai is amazing, as is the chicken cilantro soup, available midday only.”

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“Run by six Thai sisters, the California Cactus Center offers the largest assortment of rare and exotic cacti and succulent varieties in Los Angeles. The sisters are incredible resources for their knowledge of variety and care and they’re all devoted to their late father, a former farmer who gathered all of his know-how in Thailand.”

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“The best soup dumplings (xiao long bao) in L.A.! We love this out of the way spot in Arcadia, near the Huntington Gardens, the L.A. County Arboretum and our favorite aforementioned plant shop, The California Cactus Center. The wait can be long, so make sure to go during off-hours. The menu is clean and simple, and the presentation is lovely.”

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Photos courtesy of Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel

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