By Mariella Rudi
With only a narrow white fence hinting at its presence, retailer Aust is a discovery within itself. The long, narrow, and cobbled pathway leads to an unlikely clothing storefront of a roofless sanctuary connected by two showrooms.
Aust, located at 1617 Abbot Kinney Blvd. behind Fiore Designs, has a colorful and kooky lineup of established and emerging Australian brands, from jewelry to swimwear to clothing.
The owner, Hannah Wang, is a 5-foot firecracker with a thick Aussie accent and an even bigger personality. The sun-kissed, freckled beauty will help you find the perfect L.A. outfit with her arsenal of Australian designer duds.
Her first piece of advice for summer fashion cool? Sunglasses. Or as she’ll call them, sunnies.
“I just feel like right now, it’s time to have a little fun with your sunnies,” Wang says. “If you’re going to have fun anywhere on your outfit, you can just go crazy with your eyewear.”
Huge, thick designer frames of black, white, ombré and tortoise shell envelope lenses of blue, green, violet and rose colors in the sunglass case and all around the store. Check out eye wares from Ksubi, Valley, and Colab for the authentic Australian look.
If you need help finding an outfit for a long summer day or breezy night, Wang and her co-worker Kristin are there to have fun with the process.
“The other trend I’m loving for summer is midriff and a high-waist skirt for going out,” Wang says. “I just think it’s so fresh, so fun, shows a little skin but not too much. And then we have a body-chain on here which is just so versatile for summer – you can wear it over a tight-fitting piece, or you wear it underneath and show a bit of cleavage.”
For women, labels like Zimmermann, Cameo, and Alice McCall will draw you in with their playful sensibilities. This season is seeing form-fitting skirts and dresses with an edge of drapery to offset any dullness. Pops of color or an unsuspecting print are also in vogue for this season by the beach.
“The one-piece by Kissmax, they’re this amazing swim wear brand that does all swimwear basics. The whole idea is keep it simple swim, that’s why it’s called Kissmax,” says Wang of one of their most popular brand’s swimwear pieces. She pairs it underneath a Zimmermann jumpsuit sans shoes.
Swimsuits by Camilla and Marc, A.T.G., and others are an added bonus for those in Abbot Kinney’s surfside locale.
Men aren’t excluded in this hip boutique. Aust has a ready-made depot of pants, shorts, and board shorts. From chinos, linen pants, skinny jeans, and even leather pants, there’s no shortage of design opportunities for the guys.
Finally, Aust fulfills all other Australian lifestyle varieties; try on felt hats from Rhythm or hand-sculpted clay jewelry and homewares from Dinosaur Designs.
And don’t forget an Aussie homestay, Lucas Papaw, a salve made of fermented papaya.
“We use it for everything,” Wang says.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm.