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Halfway through 2018, in search of some sunshine and a much needed escape from the daily grind, we headed back to California, to explore some of the places we’d driven through previously, and ran out of time to truly explore.   The year before we had spent a few days in San Francisco, before winding our way down the coast through Big Sur, Cambria and Santa Monica to San Diego.  As we drove down this amazing stretch of California Coast, the Pacific Coast Highway opened up to Surfrider Beach, and convertibles, Kombis and hybrids alike, all began veering madly through the traffic, unloading boards and clamouring for parking space.  It seemed like a place where two worlds collided – it was the billionaires backyard and the surfers playground, and I wanted to stay a while longer..
The City of Malibu or “The Bu” as its nicknamed by the locals, encompasses a 34km stretch of beaches along the Cali coast including Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu Beach, Topanga Beach, Point Dume Beach, County Line and Dan Blocker Beach.   It is situated about 48kms west of downtown Los Angeles, and over the years has been a not so secret hideout for rockstars, screen icons and billionaires since movie mogul Jack Warner splurged $100,000 on a cottage back in the 1920s.  In the more secluded rolling hills behind the beach, Topanga Canyon in the ‘60s saw an influx of musicians and artists setting up residence.  In 1965 experimental film-maker Wallace Berman settled in the area and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys was briefly befriended by Charles Manson, as was Neil Young.  Young, who first lived in Topanga with music producer David Briggs, later bought his own house, where he went on to record most of his ‘After the Gold Rush’ album, from his basement studio in 1970.  Meanwhile down the road in Malibus’ gated beachfront community Neil Diamond, Ronnie Wood, Alice Cooper and Linda Rondstadt had started moving in.  
Malibu doesn’t offer a lot of hotel accommodation, especially for a last minute escape, within a modest price bracket.  $5625 per night, for a six bedroom beach front villa, seemed a bit excessive, but we managed to find a luxe but low-key rental on Airbnb, nestled just off Topanga Skyline Drive, that the owners, a Costume Designer and Film Producer, had built on the property, complete with a couple of snake hardened dogs and some free range chickens who graciously supplied breakfast.      Most mornings, before the sun came up fully and it got too hot to exercise,  I would head off for my walk up into the hills behind the property with the owner and a couple of the neighbours and their posse of dogs, and enjoy the peace and expansive space and beautiful light up there – it seemed a lot further away from the traffic and intensity of the highway just below than it really was.
With many of the residents of Topanga working in the film or entertainment industries, it made sense there would be some great vintage clothing and costumes waiting to be re-discovered in the Valley.  When we spotted Hidden Treasures glittery store front signage, complete with dinosaurs on the roof, and a Pirate with a knife in his teeth perched in the Palm Tree besides the front door,  I knew we’d found the place.   Inside the maze of a store, display items include model ships, old Beatles records, silk-screen surfboards, signed Elvis photos, decorative clocks and statues, bowls of marbles, rows of cowboy boots, pails of minerals and baskets of fishnet stockings, fur stoles, patches and aprons.   There are also racks of leather and fringe suede jackets, wool and fur coats, silk slips and ‘50s sundresses, an earring corner and chests full of jewellery.  Further investigation when we got home that evening, revealed Kate Moss shops for vintage here.  So has Lenny Kravitz.  I left with a stack of 70s bangles, a selection of sew on California badges, an amazing Aztec print Alpaca throw for the couch at home, and a mental note to self to make a Suede Tasselled Vest!
The only other shopping to be done in Malibu as such, was located back down on the Pacific Coast Highway at the Malibu Country Mart   which was not nearly as rustic or ‘Country’ as the name suggested prior to visiting.  Comprised of luxury upscale boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, along with a myriad of personal services for people and pooches alike, all nestled beautifully amongst sculpture gardens, maintained with zero emission gardening, and dotted with electric charging stations - this is EXACTLY the level of Shopping Centre you would expect Malibu residents to frequent as their ‘local’.    I was thrilled to discover however, that Included in the mix was a store called Malibu Shaman, which was a “metaphysical book store and spiritual gift shop” offering a beautiful collection of crystals and books, and staffed by an in house Tarot Card reader named Cathy Crystal.   The kids also discovered Grom Gelato which became a regular stop for a delicious array of authentic, and not always traditional, flavoured Gelato, before heading back over beach side for an afternoon dip.
Surfrider Beach is the popular beach and surf spot between the Malibu Pier and the Lagoon, with a car park entry straight off the Pacific Coast Highway.  It’s a crazy juxtaposition of beach, highway, city and surf that you really could just sit and soak up for hours.  Our next visit to California, booked a little further in advance, The Surfrider Malibu will defo be on our accommodation hitlist for exactly this reason.
Once you get to the Malibu Pier, and sample some organic goodies from Malibu Farm it’s a further 20min drive around the coast to get to Santa Monica Pier, where you can finally ditch your car and hire bikes to ride the remainder of the beach front all the way through to the Venice Beach Skate Park and beyond.   From Venice beach it’s only a short bike  ride over into Abbot Kinney Boulevard which has a really eclectic selection of bohemian boutiques and delicious eateries.    Lemonade is always my first stop, where you can  rehydrate with one of their refreshing homemade Lemonades and choose from a mouth-watering selection of salads.   Another must visit is the stunning Strange Invisible Perfumes  All of their fragrances are crafted in-house from purely organic, wildcrafted, biodynamic, and hydro-distilled essences, and horoscopes being one of my favourite guilty pleasure - they have fragrances to match each of the Zodiac Signs – love!
 There is something about California,  that always calls me back, and without a doubt Malibu claimed a special little slice of my heart.
Our SS19/20 Malibu Edit draws inspiration from it all -  Shop the Malibu Edit online here: or visit us instore at The Luxe Edit

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