(photos of Michelle Marini inside of the Woods by Jessy Plume for TRAffIK- click on images to enlarge)
Fresh from the grand opening of her new Downtown Los Angeles lounge, The Falls (626 S. Spring St. L.A, CA 90014), eternally youthful and fashion savvy Michelle Marini (co-owner of the Woods 1533 N. La Brea Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028) has demonstrated time and time again to the “City of Angels” that she has staying power.
In a city where good-looking people can be found on every corner, it’s just as easy to write them off as it is to notice them. Why should we? They’ll be replaced by at least dozens more in just a few months or even weeks. San Francisco Bay area native Marini, is an exception to that rule. Possessing both good looks along with business savvy and an inclination towards the arts and creative expression (which she’s incorporated in some form or another into all of her ventures), Marini is anything but dismissible and has demonstrated that she can hang with the big boys without giving up her high-heeled shoes.
Fashion is a “manifestation of my mood, changing every day, likely three times a day.”–Michelle Marini
On the surface, Marini may appear as just another typical Hollywood socialite type as she could rival many of those that appear on the covers, pages, and segments of “those” magazines and shows that plague the city with paparazzi. One of the first things you’ll notice about her is her fashion-forward attire. Although we would definitely agree that Marini, hands down has a much better fashion sense than most of those socialites (who more often than not count on the aide of stylists). Citing Rachel Zoe as someone whose style she admires, “I’d watch her show, Rachel Zoe Project, over and over, just drooling. Her vintage pieces captivated me the most.” Marini describes her fashion style as, “seeing fashion as a manifestation of my mood, changing every day, likely three times a day. I love the 60’s and 70’s eras most.”
Her love for those eras was further exemplified after revealing that she would love it if moustaches (which she describes as so “70’s cheesy/sexy”) on men and big huge top hat sized bee hive fall type wigs (“60’s glam at it’s height”) made a comeback.
When asked if she felt there was anything lacking in the world of fashion this day in age, Marini stated, “The only thing I miss is that it’s impossible to make a defining statement with fashion. I was a teenage punker, really put some people off, which is exactly what I set out to do. You can’t accomplish that easily now, everything is accepted by the mainstream.”
Although a trendsetter from the womb and yet despite that “young punker” desire to be an individual, even her “How I Got to L.A.” story is actually quite relatable and typical of many of those that make up this city’s population. “[I] was at UCB [as] a Biology major, changed to Art and transferred to UCLA. Plus, I was dating the guitar player from SoCal Punk band TSOL, so that was a bit of the draw,” states Marini.
It was the following that solidified Marini as a rare individual, who walked the walk and not just talked the talk.
“I used to hang out at Three Clubs Bar an inordinate amount of time. Then, in 1992, there was hardly anywhere else to go. I figured Hollywood needed another bar and I’d be the gal to do it. And, no, I did not have an inch of experience at the time.”
A short time later the Lava Lounge was born (which a few years ago she turned into the Woods, but we’ll get to that), the friendly little tiki bar, which most Angelenos and visitors to the city will know this unassuming blonde from best.
Initially, the Lava Lounge was to be a haven for Marini’s expansive circle of friends, or as Marini describes “an intimate clubhouse,” however, due to it’s prime location in Hollywood (located off of Sunset Blvd. and La Brea Blvd.) “later, when it caught on, we had to have Gold Cards made with people’s names on them to make sure they could get in front of the throng,” Marini revealed.
Lava Lounge was an oddity among the surrounding establishments that made up the pretentious Hollywood nightlife, which inadvertently at times did become a “haven” to Hollywood celebrities who wanted to go somewhere where they could fly under the radar and have a drink. (more…)