Christian Audigier

Christian Audigier

Photo: Christian Audigier

Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Women's Clothing

How are you holding up? The cold, the wind, and the icy rain don't always combine well with the parties, the crowds, and (augh!) the post office. On Friday night I had a lovely Chanukah party, a sweet Christmas celebration, and chattering teeth from the wind chill; earlier in the day I'd gone shopping and, yes, braved the post office and its lines. But I was somewhat tipsy from the office holiday luncheon while I ran the errands, and I think that helped.

As the Mammas and the Pappas sang, "I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A."—still busy, perhaps, but less teeth-chattery. It was with this in mind that I ducked into SoHo's Christian Audigier Los Angeles. Heidi Klum, Don Cheadle, Madonna, Snoop Dog, Queen Latifah, and Britney Spears, among others, are fans of the brand, which describes itself as "luxury streetwear," and I was curious to see what they admire—and what the shop might offer for the every-day superstars on all of our shopping lists.

As you probably know, L.A. and New York have somewhat different typical aesthetics—and this place is just about as far from the "austere neutrals" New York style as you can get. As in: a purple velour sweatsuit with beaded flowers in violet, pink, and blue ($189, with "Christian Audigier Los Angeles" printed on the tush); t-shirts with pink, yellow, green, and blue beaded birds, vines, and flowers ($89); and a long-sleeved t-shirt featuring a Madonna (the religious icon, not the singer) with a halo and "Los Angeles" printed above her—in sequins ($165; also avail featuring "Anarchy in the U.K."). Gold, sequins, dragons, and fringe are big here. And if one can move past the "I'm a New Yorker—I do not do sequins" mentality, it's a lot of fun.

There are also sneakers, bags, and, of course, sunglasses—all varying degrees of brash. After a while I challenged myself to find items that could pass as New York style; among other things, I found a burgundy belt with a not-too-loud silver buckle ($149), a black silk scarf that, astonishingly, had no sequins and no gold trim ($95, also in sky blue) and a fitted-at-the-waist black t-shirt with reasonably subtle beading around the neck and on the sleeves ($179, also available in white).

If a confident teenage girl who's not afraid of standing out (remember, there are sequined birds here) is on your list, she may well speak the Christian Audigier language. So might your spirited girlfriend, wife, sister, mom, or—why the heck not?—grandma. Guys could be a tougher challenge; but hey, Snoop Dog rocks this stuff, and he's got syle to spare.

In any case, just browsing here is fun in itself, with boppy pop music playing and a cheerful shop staff. "Either you like it or you love it!" one said to me. Forecast: Sunny with a 70% chance of fringe and an almost guaranteed good time.   - Pamela Grossman; Dec 15,2009

Christian Audigier
273 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012