There were a number of moments symbolic of the somber slogan “it’s the end of an era” in 2015. And the most saccharine farewell out of the pool comes courtesy of the news that Kitson, famous Los Angeles store that epitomized early 200s celeb culture, would be closing sometime in winter 2016. The store since 2000expanded into a West Coast chain with multiple locations in California but also ones in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Portland, Oregon. It’s most known location remained the original on Robertson Boulevard, the continued home of many trendy stores including Kitson’s once direct competitors of similarly stocked retailers, Lisa Kline and Madison.
The Robertson flagship is the store you’re likely familiar with even if you never went shopping at Kitson because Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, the cast of The Hills and plenty of other women celebs, including Academy Award winner Halle Berry, went on sprees there. It was the celeb version of a Target as they were often seen leaving with at least five bags, probably full of Seven jeans or tops from Beverly Hills Camp, a Teenage Millionaire “Jesus Is My Homeboy” T-shirt or a Team Aniston baseball cap.
From its opening in 2000 to about 2008, Kitson was a paparazzi haven. But with news of its closing, the Uggs boots and miniskirt set officially died and the early 2000s may be giving the ’90s a smidgen of competition as far as nostalgia goes. Yes, the fashion was overtly questionable during those times. But after 9/11, America was ready to live a little again. When it came to shopping, America had returned to the lifestyle of 1980s New York and L.A. We were gaudy, ostentatious, loud and kitschy. Just Google the red carpet of the 2003 MTV Movie Awards.
That was also the same year that VH1 began airing episodes of its series The Fabulous Life Of… t,hat broke down the expenses and luxuries of the most famous of celebrities and billionaire entrepreneurs. To us mere mortals, it might as well have been re-titled: Another Reminder That You Ain’t Shit! (The narrator’s voice was everything. The perfect mix of smug and excitement).
Financially, according to the Los Angeles Times, the glitter became to fade away for Kitson as the business tried to keep up with online shopping and moving past their initial calling as a girlier version of Urban Outfitters. The newspaper offers further insight into the decline of sales that began sometimes around 2013. Definitely read more about it here.
The site has already shut down and all that’s there are the addresses of the seventeen locations and a massive banner that screams “Big Ass In-Store Sale! 30-50%!” The news did come at a surprise for those not centered on Los Angeles’ retail landscape, so most publications such as Jezebel and New York Magazine‘s The Cut, coincidentally both east coast-based, had a field day in referring to it as the place where famewhores went to die or reborn. (Read the second to last paragraph of The Cut‘s satirical in memoriam. It’s a pretty epic encapsulation of what Kitson represented then and now). Images of Hilton have been mainly used as the swan song of Kitson’s place in America’s millennium celebutante culture.
Again, the early 2000s. Uggs. Apple Bottom jeans. Beyonce‘s Dangerously In Love album. One Tree Hill versus The O.C. Juicy Couture anything. The Newlyweds. The Black Eyed Peas. Changing the background of your MySpace page every week like it was a passion. The “rise” of gossip bloggers like Perez Hilton. New York City was still grungy cool.
Kitson joins FAO Schwarz and Times Squares’ Toys R Us, amongst other establishments, important or flighty, that have said au revoir. Who knew that one day we would look back at the early 2000s and a place like Kitson as simpler times. Then again, those R&B and hip-hop jams from 2004 still reign today. Someone cue up Nivea‘s “Don’t Mess With My Man” right about now.