By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Right across the street is this other hip Melrose hub, which carries a smaller collection with a few men’s large sizes (Don Henley, Paul McCartney) and some ladies’ deconstructed, froufrou, off-the-shoulder numbers with studded Swarovski crystals. They seem to have an abundance of Metallica tees, including one of a venue’s floor plan during the band’s 1992 tour. Less for the hardcore metal head and more for the bored, eye-candy girlfriend waiting to flash her boobs. 7700 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd. (323) 653-8875.
Owner Kelly Cole sells classic denim and leather, as well as his own Lo-Fi label, out of this quaint, blue-painted cottage with hardwood floors, a fireplace and original art prints on the wall. The space also functions as a gallery and has exhibited works like the glam-punk photographs of Mick Rock. Wash up before you sift through the Jane’s Addiction, Bootsy Collins, Cheech & Chong and Madonna Virgin-tour shirts neatly arranged on the glass table. On our particular trip, we came across a blue, knitted Stones shirt from their Americas ’75 tour that fetches $300. The same one in orange includes the tour’s stop in Dallas. The difference? An extra $200. 1038 N. Fairfax Ave., W. Hlywd. (323) 654-5634.
Now we’re getting into the appointment-only business. This is one of those boutiques that require wearing gloves when looking through original Chanel suits, Alaia leather jackets, Pucci scarves, and circles and circles of dainty pumps too small for hoofers bigger than a size 6. Catwoman Julie Newmar owns the building, and photos of customers including Gaultier, Betsey Johnson and Claire Danes add more of that you’re-not-worthy feel to the place. So, no, the vintage tees are not visible to the naked commoner’s eyes but housed in the back. Call in, introduce yourself, maybe bring a bunt cake, and co-owners Renee Johnston and Michelle Webb will haul out their treasure bins, personally unfolding each Stray Cats, Bauhaus, the The, Police and Quarterflash (Quarterflash!) shirt. Their collection of original Sex Pistols tees, though, was included in an FIT exhibit in New York a few years back and is not for sale. A blue Minutemen shirt, however, complete with holes, stains and a “cut the jive in ’85” message on the back, can be yours for the anti-establishment, anticorporate, DIY price of $500. 459 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. (323) 951-9255.
Along La Brea’s antique row, 86 Vintage’s “shhh” collection of tees and exclusive couture caters mostly to designers, stylists and rich retro hounds. Give ’em a heads-up, and Robin Fauser and company will lead you to the goods. A $300 faded, yellow Jimmy Page tank top racks up alongside a $200 Alice Cooper football jersey, next to a $150 shredded and tied-on-the-side Culture Club top. All pale in comparison to perhaps one of the most highly coveted collectibles in vintage-teedom: the US Festival shirt. And here, they have the ’83 lineup (there were two early-’80s festivals held at Glen Helen Park) featuring Bowie, Van Halen and the Clash for a mere $240. Only $220 more than the concert’s actual ticket price. 459?1/?2 S. La Brea Ave., L.A. (323) 937-8450.
ROCK TEASE: THE GOLDEN YEARS OF ROCK T-SHIRTS | By ERICA EASLEY & ED CHALFA | Abrams Image | $25 softcover
VINTAGE ROCK T-SHIRTS | By JOHAN KUGELBERG | Universe | $30 softcover (due out Feb. 6)