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Best Place to Find Batty Knickers

(Illustration by Ronald Kurniawan)

Best Place to Find Batty Knickers

Some people believe a beautiful garment belongs on the red carpet or in the pages of a magazine, but designer and stylist Galadriel Mattei doesn’t. “You need a great piece of clothing you can sit on the ground in,” asserts the owner of the year-old Hollywood shop Ylem, which carries an eclectic selection of vintage and Mattei’s own designs. Wearing mismatched socks and a threadbare sweater (“I’m into how the garment changes over time,” she says), Mattei is a fashion populist who makes sure there are always deals to be found in her shop. Twenty-dollar Coach bags and silk blouses hang next to fur coats and a floor-length Balmain gown, which, priced at $500, is still a deal, relatively speaking. Customers are free to drop in, but if you schedule an appointment, she’ll pull special pieces. “You can do a 10-minute stop,” she offers, “or you can hang out for an hour. We’ll have tea.”

Named after a queen in The Lord of the Rings and raised in a small town in Northern California, Mattei began collecting clothes and learning about textiles at a young age, educating herself at the local Salvation Army and, later, at UCLA and Otis College. Her clothing line, FEMP (an acronym for folklore, elite-lore, monsters and politics), will launch later this year with designs that are luxurious, body conscious and versatile. A shimmery fitted blouse is made from vintage acetate, and a chocolate-silk jersey top with a tulip print is meant to be worn forward and backward, as well as inside out to reveal seams bound in hand-dyed ribbon. You can also tie different areas “depending on what part of your body you’re feeling self-conscious about.” If you’re not feeling self-conscious about anything, rock a pair of her bat panties with googly eyes sewn onto the tush. “They crack me up,” says Mattei, who loves the idea that a woman can “go to the board meeting with her dirty knickers on and nobody will ever know.”

Ylem 6353 Yucca St., Hollywood, (310) 403-7753

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