Here’s a smart idea. If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. If you want something done well, ask three working women with kids. Such is the story of SoLA—Sisters of Los Angeles—founded by architect Barbara Bestor, designer Karen Alweil, and fashion publicist Sara Stein, all of whom are moms. This summer, the trio launched their colorful SoLA collection of groovy goods, which highlight those places most sacred to Angelenos—neighborhoods, canyons, beaches and, yes, our freeways—and L.A. design at its best, or what Bestor describes as “Southern California nature and street culture, kustom kars, Ed Ruscha sunsets, Griffith Park flora, printed materials blown up.”
It’s all so, so good! Scroll down for a Q&A with the stylish sisters, but first my picks for any last-minute holiday shopping on your list. You can find SoLA’s goods at Kitson, Ron Robinson – Fred Segal, The Getty, MOCA, The Downtown Library, Venokado, Firefly in Venice, and Yolk.
I love these Canyon Rocks Glasses, handmade in Los Angeles using organic ink. Or how about Santa using one of these oversized Hollywood totes to deliver presents this year?
If I were Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and hope that a plateful of SoLA’s gorgeous Valerie Confections Chocolate Candy Bars (particularly the dark cherry and chocolate, available at Venokado in Santa Monica and West Hollywood) had been left by the mantle with a wee dram of Talisker…
How did SoLA begin?
Barbara: I had lunch with Sara and Karen at Little Dom’s and we had a lot of iced tea and got very excited and that was that!
Favorite Los Angeles canyon?
Sara: I love Runyon Canyon—it is a place for people and their dogs (I have two rescues LUKE & LEIA). And just like all the best places in LA., you never know who you might see. But Beachwood is near & dear to my heart. I escaped there after a bad breakup—it is a place to disappear and redefine yourself.
Barbara: Elysian Park
Karen: Too hard to pick just one. Mailbu for the beach. Laurel reminds me of my childhood. Benedict because it is so much fun to drive and explore.
What piece of clothing or accessory is in heaviest rotation right now?
Sara: Saltwater Sandals & Superga Sneakers & Rachel Loren earrings my husband gave me.
Barbara: Roman Kremer for Camper wedges, Isabel Marant zipper jacket
Karen: Grey Blazer from Uniqlo, Rachel Comey wedges and an FFS necklace
What five things will we always find in your closet?
Sara: Muji Striped Sweater, Odd Molly tops, Matta dresses, Madewell t-shirts & white denim (I never met a white jean I did not like)
Barbara: fancy tshirts black, fancy tshirts navy blue, black jeans, leather bracelet, dark jackets
Karen: dark denim jeans, Matta dresses, blazers, always in search of the perfect t-shirt and always a pair of platforms
What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?
Sara: Manchego cheese, 1% organic milk, red grapes, my mom’s salad dressing, Fage yogurt with honey
Barbara: sharp cheddar, avocados, 2%milk, iced decaf coffee—homemade, apples
Karen: Salami, salami, cheese, more cheese—stinkier the better, and iced tea
Favorite piece of luggage?
Sara: my husband is the traveler so I steal from him whatever I can
Barbara: Clare Vivier leather travel bag (actually I don’t have one yet but I ASPIRE to have one, in navy blue, and then I can be fabulous).
Karen: Flight 001 Spacepaks
Five things you always bring on vacation…
Sara: My children Noah & Maggie, the game Apples to Apples, my iPad, Dr. Robin Sun Screen (for the kids and me), my running shoes
Barbara: Bea and Charlotte—my teen queens, books, tennis stuff, too much weight in my suitcase
Karen: My husband Daniel, my son Gabriel, music, ipad, magazines and of course too many shoes
SoLA iPad cases at YOLK, image via apartmenttherapy.com
Sara: Hitching Post “Cork Dancer” Pinot Noir
Barbara: vodka soda or maybe a dark and stormy if I am on Block Island
Karen: Kettel one straight up with a twist
i love l.a. because…
Sara: I can BBQ my Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and a t-shirt! (and I do it every year as you know with my dad’s Red River BBQ Sauce)
Barbara: it is the funnest place to live and the most creative place I know.
Karen: It’s home and the most beautiful and inspiring place all year long