La La Lulu and La La Larry greet visitors
What every mother wants for her toddler is a colorful, stimulating environment in which her child can smile and grow. This place would be touched with whimsy, filled with familiar shapes and sounds, friendly people, and furry animals. The animals might tell a story, the bold colors on the walls might be friends to make along the way. And through this magical medium, the child would learn about his or herself and the wondrous world all around. Some may call this place la la land. Designer Ling Chan calls it La La Ling.
Chan's eye-catching shop, nestled cozily among the hip storefronts of the Los Feliz neighborhood, is not your average Kids R Us. You won't find frilly bonnets or trite cartoon characters among the racks of La La Ling. Instead, bold patters, luxurious textiles and spunky colors beckon from their hangers, begging to adorn your child's precious shoulders.
For little Michael Bolton fans
La La's glowing Ling explains her fashion philosophy with zest. "A 3-year-old doesn't have to be dressed like a 3-year-old, " she suggests, which explains the identical -- if miniature -- versions of the satin panty, Puma sneakers and sweat suits, and posh "Baby Paper" line from exclusive outfitters Paper Denim Cloth jeans. Claude offers kids a cashmere-lined vintage collection, while C+C t-shirts gives cute new meaning to the concept of the "baby tee."
Guys Infant Gear line
But don't fret -- amidst the bundles of tiny T-shirts and itty-bitty bubble vests, the loving parents have not been forgotten either! La La Ling carries designer diaper bags for Mommy so sleek and classy they push carrying a purse out of the picture. The Paulina Quintana line is soft to the touch with a sexy shape, sporting high-octane colors like magenta and silver. For Daddies who cringe at toting unconcealed Huggies into the men's room's harsh terrain, Guys' Infant Gear comes to the rescue with their "Zone Defense" products. City-slick backpack and messenger-style bags pack diaper, bottle, and changing pad room, with personal space to spare. Modern Dads have never been more at ease.
Christina Ulke's "Council of the Animals"
La La Ling is worlds apart from down-to-earth, from the merchandise to the décor. Here, humdrum pastel wall prints are replaced with a modern, crib's-eye-view Sistine ceiling, designed by German artist Christina Ulke. Technicolor, 3D-looking pacifiers float like candy-coated trompe l'oeils over classically drawn black and white animals in Ulke's "The Council of the Animals" digital print. Thanks to Ulke, children can gaze up in awe of the happy animals and pretty pacifiers, while adults can read deeper into the art and take home a lesson about mass-marketization's disruptive effects on the natural world, and high-quality local businesses such as those promoted at La La Ling.
Global economy is not the only subject taught at this innovative boutique. The spacious back-room of the store is set up to house toddler enrichment programs, where children can dabble in art, music, French, and Spanish while their parents shop. Ling says her desire to broaden children's minds stems from the multi-cultural, multi-lingual upbringing of her own two sons, and from her conviction that children should know about the wide world OUTside of Hollywood.
As with the merchandise, these classes are not kids-only, but are parent-inclusive too. One such class is a "411" information session for new mothers and babies, taught by an esteemed cognitive psychologist for the benefit of all those sleepless and anxious novice mommies.
There are two themes running through all the parent-geared facets of this store: one, as Ling explains, is that "You don't have to dress like a frumpy mom -- have flair, have personality!" The other, as Ling implies, is that this is the sort of one-stop boutique she wishes she had access to when her sons were born. In one trip, you can pick out funky little socks for your child and a suave new carry bag for yourself, ensure your child's daily dose of Dégas, design custom birth announcement or birthday party invitations (and have them sent out too), and buy children's books, games, and puzzles to boot!
In the colorful little neighborhood of Los Feliz, there now lives a fantastical store whose motto might be "convenience, with style." And you don't have to travel to la la land to find it.
La La Ling
1810 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Email: [email protected]