Inspired by Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2020 Spring Fashion Book, Refinery29 writer Sarah Midkiff recently visited the four Golden State shopping hubs featured in the iconic publication. She started in Napa Valley before venturing down to West Hollywood, Palm Springs, and Newport Beach to explore the best retail offerings (as well as some of the top local restaurants).
“I love California,” she says. “I think you could go there over and over and not have the same vacation twice.” Midkiff shared her favorite experiences from her trip below.
1. What were the highlights of your trip to California?
I loved hearing about the history of West Hollywood. Even though I go to Los Angeles often, I don't usually get the backstory about the neighborhoods where I spend time. Newport Beach might be my new favorite place and I'm already plotting my next trip back there so I can see it again now that I have the scoop on all the best places.
2. What were some of your favorite shopping destinations in the Napa Valley?
Shopping started to feel a bit like a blur because there were so many great spots. I loved the places right near the [Archer Hotel] that I saw on the first day.
3. Would you recommend the Archer Hotel as a base for exploring Napa? Did you explore downtown Napa?
Definitely! It was close enough to everything that I didn't need to spend much time in a car. The hotel was within walking distance of so many things.
4. It’s such a culinary hotbed—did you have any standout meals in Wine Country?
I think my favorite food-related experience in Napa had to have been the wine tasting [at Domaine Chandon]. It was spectacular.
5. You transitioned from the relaxing Napa Valley to the lively West Hollywood mid-trip. How would you describe the vibe of WeHo?
West Hollywood, and Los Angeles in general, feels like a second home to me. I'm always happy whenever I have an excuse to be back. West Hollywood has so much in terms of music and nightlife.
6. You stayed near the base of the Hollywood Hills at Hotel 1 West Hollywood—did you engage in any activities nearby?
Honestly, being a short walk from Face Gym was a game-changer. That facial was life-changing.
7. What did you discover on the Design District Walking Tour?
I learned so much about the history of West Hollywood on the walking tour. Also, the fact that it could be a walking tour and not driving from place to place warmed my New York heart. The guide was so informative and a joy to spend the afternoon with. I only wish we had more time to discuss some of the old homes.
8. Any top shopping spots in WeHo?
Fred Segal was a major standout for me. They had so many talented designers showcased when I was there. Libertine and Made Worn were my favorites. I’m definitely keeping my eyes on them for sales because I want to get my hands on some Libertine pieces.
9. How did you spend your day in Newport Beach?
My last morning in Newport Beach, we took off on a Duffy boat and had breakfast. This was probably the most idyllic morning of my whole trip. It was so relaxing to be out on the water and see the town that way. Also, my room at Lido House was basically my dream home. (I took style notes for my apartment.) Both dinners [at Fable & Spirit and Mayor’s Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen] in Newport Beach were next level. I don't know if I could choose between the two!
10. What were your personalized shopping experiences like in Newport Beach?
Elyse Walker [at Lido Marina Village] had a bit of everything. It was nice to experience an outdoor mall that was so spacious and laid back. We don't really have a lot of malls in New York, but they've come so far since I was a teen and it was all about getting Jamba Juice and trying on clothes at PacSun.
11. What did you explore in Greater Palm Springs?
We did a lot of vintage and antique shopping which was so fun. I'm a huge fan of vintage shopping and I love hearing about some of the backstories on some of the pieces that come through.
12. Did anything surprise you about the Palm Springs area?
Previously, I'd only been to the Palm Springs area for Coachella. I was so excited to see it for the town itself and not for a music festival and it did not disappoint. The pace was refreshing. It's slow in the best way.
13. Did you buy anything uniquely California on your trip?
I'm not sure if it is uniquely California, but I did find a fantastic vintage Jimi Hendrix concert poster in Palm Springs that I cannot wait to hang up in my apartment—which is slowly but surely starting to look like a transplant of a Laurel Canyon bungalow, but in the heart of Williamsburg.