Wandering in some creepy mannequins.
If you’re approximately my age and have ever read an US Weekly (or if you were in Los Angeles at any point in the mid-2000s), you definitely remember Kitson. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than “Paris Hilton.” It was all Juicy Couture sweatpants and sparkly overpriced everything and paparazzi lurking outside and general moral decrepitude, and it was simultaneously SUPER obnoxious and kind of fun. You had to just dial down the old self-awareness for a second and go browse hot pink dog purses.
But now – like bedazzled tracksuits – Kitson is over. Gone.
I’d heard that the store was having a crazy closeout sale (like 80-90% off of everything), and while their vibe isn’t necessarily what I typically gravitate towards, when Francesca suggested that we swing by on the way to dinner: I mean, obviously. What we found when we walked inside: a ghost town of empty jewelry cases, clothing racks, and creepy blue mannequins, with a few sad piles of leftover junk heaped here and there.
But you know what I unearthed in one of those piles? The exact pair of sunglasses I’ve been staring at for about three years now, but have never bought because they’re silly-expensive. Except these were 80% off. WHAT. (I also found a little Star Wars light-up bracelet for Indy for 25 cents.)
And you know what Francesca found?
She found a crown. (Of course she did.)
And did she put it on immediately, take it off only to go to sleep, and then return it to her head the instant her eyes opened up in the morning, at which point she sat down in her pajamas to begin the day’s work wearing it atop her as-yet-unbrushed hair? Of course she did. (This is a pretty good encapsulation of why we are friends.)
You know what surprised me about our trip to Kitson, though? How oddly emotional it felt (by which I mean I didn’t expect to have any emotions about it at all, so the presence of even a single, teeny-tiny one was sort of odd).
Because while the store wasn’t a place I frequented at all during the years that I lived in L.A. – I mean, really: I think I went once – it also symbolized in many ways the wild, over-the-top, celebrity-obsessed madness that was Los Angeles around 2005. Not that any of this was positive, obviously, but as excessive and frenetic as that time period was…it was also…well, like Kitson: Super obnoxious. Also fun. And now Kitson is gone, and so is the part of my life when I was 24 and running around with very little on my mind beyond which bar might be fun to hit up later that night.
I don’t wish I had that time back; not even a little bit. But still: wandering Los Angeles sometimes feels like visiting a ghost town of old memories – some good, many excruciating, and all of them belonging to another person entirely.
P.S. Just for fun, above are some weird-but-wonderful headpieces that you don’t have to visit a now-defunct store in order to find.