Only a century ago, Sunset Plaza was filled with orchards and poinsettia fields and bustling streets such as La Cienega were yet to be paved for automobile traffic. This all changed in 1924, when Francis S. Montgomery, built the first commercial development on what would later be called, the Sunset Strip. This same collection of shops and cafes still exists, updated over time, but with the same calm, relaxed environment that has made it an oasis of shopping for over 90 years.
Architect Charles Selkirk designed the original Georgian style buildings, and while they have been rebuilt and remodeled over the ensuing years, Sunset Plaza maintains the atmosphere that was created when it began. The low-slung buildings with landscaped medians and plantings, the boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and ample parking with spectacular views over Los Angeles; these have created a unique place in the urban fabric of West Hollywood. It’s the ideal place to spend an afternoon shopping, pampering oneself, and then having a relaxing meal al fresco.
Sunset Plaza has had, as its many tenants, haberdashers, agents, decorators, salons, restaurants and nightclubs such as the legendary Trocadero. Several of the tenants are historically notable for the part they played in Hollywood and design history, such as photographer George Hurrell, and fashion designers Adrian and Don Loper, and Elizabeth Arden. Interior designer William Haines started here, after transitioning from his role as a screen actor. His famous slipper chair remains in production to this day and is widely copied. Silversmith Porter Blanchard, whose creations were all hand wrought and are valued by collectors, had his studio here. His son-in-law Allan Adler continued the same tradition of hand-wrought silver. Such tradition of craftsmanship continues with platinum smith Philip Press.
Sunset Plaza has remained, through the Depression, World War II, the tumultuous 60s, and the glamorous 80s. And although it remains, it is far from static. Each era has it’s own tenants and stories. In the 60s, designer Holly Harp opened a boutique with beautiful clothes, translating hippie regalia into haute couture. In the late 70s, the famed Le Dome restaurant opened and remained one of the entertainment industry’s favorite dining spots into the 90s. Most recently, Sunset Plaza was chosen as a location for Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party, where a large tent was built to highlight the gorgeous views over Los Angeles.
A visit to Sunset Plaza is one of the consummate experiences of traversing the Sunset Strip. Taking a break from the hectic traffic and non-stop growth in the area is one of the most enjoyable ways to while away the afternoon.