The question we get asked most often is how we came up with the name of the store. It’s the name of our Fox Terrier, Guido who is named after Marcello Mastroianni’s character in the Fellini film “8 1/2”. He’s been Guido in San Francisco, Guido in Palm Springs, and now he’s Guido in LA. You can usually find him wearing his bowtie and chilling behind the front counter at the shop. He’s 15-he does a lot of chilling nowadays.The store started as a love letter to costumes, film, and history. Our love of film is evident when you walk in the shop by all the pictures of film stills, movie stars, and movie posters on the walls. Living and working in LA, it also seemed natural our store would be an homage to film.I (Jason) worked at the reference desk at the FIDM San Francisco library for 8 years and took care of their costume collection with pieces from the 1800s to the 1990s. One of my favorite parts of the job was talking to the students about the clothes and what they meant and how they were designed at different points in history. I took that love of costume history and started collecting pieces with the hope of opening a store, and that’s how Guido in LA came to be.
Victor and I met years ago while I was on a business trip to FIDM LA and he was working at Botegga Louie in DTLA. After I left San Francisco for a quick stay in Palm Springs (the source of some of our very best pieces!), we met again, got married at Uli Gelateria in the Spring Arcade (yes, really) and moved into a loft directly across from what would soon be Guido in LA. I had planned on getting a job at a library (preferably with a costume or film archive) but my body had different plans for me. I started having knee problems which quickly spread to all-over-my-body problems and was eventually diagnosed with degenerative arthritis. My body decided to age 20 or 30 years without me along for the ride. I knew sitting 8 hours at a reference desk was not going to work so I started selling vintage clothing online. Before we knew it, Victor was helping and we had racks and racks of clothes, boxes of jewelry and sunglasses, and our loft started looking more and more like a shop and that’s when we decided to take the leap and open a brick and mortar store.
Guido in LA is a 1200 square foot curated vintage clothing and housewares shop. We’ve also accumulated some fantastic art pieces. We have some fun movie posters and kitsch art as well as signed serigraphs from Peter Max and Salvador Dali. We carry men’s and women’s clothing from the 1930s to current styles. We have a nice collection of high-end names like Pucci and Issey Miyake as well as solid pieces from lesser known designers that we handpicked for the shop. Everything that comes in is inspected, cleaned, and has to fit the feel of our customers. We pride ourselves in finding fun and funky pieces as well as traditional gowns and suits we sell at affordable downtown prices. We like knowing the history or story behind our pieces and sharing that with our customers. Its fun to let customers know we picked up the poster or art piece they are buying from a famous producer, actress, or set designer.
DTLA is the perfect spot for our shop! A photographer friend, Phil Knott, started a project using our customers as models. Most of them are from the downtown LA area and we dress them up in our clothes and Phil photographs them. During our short time open we’ve noticed our customers like to hang out at the shop and it’s become sort of a modern version of the old Vivienne Westwood/Malcolm McLaren shop from the 70s. A place where neighbors and artists converge to talk about the goings-on of their lives and the downtown area. The photos of our customers have become a documentary of sorts about DTLA and the folks who live there and we’re proud to be a part of the community. We live, work, eat, shop, and spend most of our lives downtown and we love watching DTLA become the thriving, exciting area it has become. Within blocks of our shop are other vintage shops, restaurants, bookstores, and fabulous gelato, making DTLA a shopping destination