Photography by Trevor Smith

Erin Wasson

Model/Designer

| Venice

Erin Wasson is a lot of things— among them, a treasured muse, model and jewelry designer— but what makes her most special is the feeling she gives you when you meet her: a sense that (maybe for the first time) you’re actually alive. There’s an authenticity to her that makes her seem both raw and real— whether it’s her refreshing lack of makeup or her do-what-drives-you approach to, well, pretty much anything— and, just like that, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been living this way all along. Of course, Mario Testino must have picked up on this when the Texas-born beauty walked into his studio for her first (and only) casting; Wasson booked the job and since, she’s led campaigns for Balenciaga and Gucci, decorated the covers of international editions of Vogue and today, considers Testino a friend. Now, living in a Venice bungalow alongside a host of fellow quirky, cool artists, the model-turned-designer is focused on her jewelry line, Wasson Fine. She designs and makes all of her tiny treasures in DTLA, a reality that makes her feel extremely blessed, “It’s amazing that I’m able to have everything I need to make beautiful pieces right here in my own city; LA is special like that.” For spring, she’s dreamt up an otherworldly line of crescent-shaped necklaces, moon pendants and texturized, crater-inspired orbit hoops (our personal favorite). Fittingly, as she walks us through her inspiration, she reminds a nearby roommate that it’s almost time for their afternoon happy hour: fresh-pressed green juices mixed with vodka. And, just like clockwork, we’re reminded just how much Wasson has life figured out. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love Salt Air (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— the tomato soup is perfection and the staff is always friendly. Also, their monkey bread is hatefully good…

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee. I take a dirty chai every morning at Abbot’s Habit (*Location now closed), a no-frills, local coffee joint without fancy baristas.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I recently discovered Erven (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) and it serves beautiful vegetarian food (as does Crossroads (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)). Also, AOC (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is always just perfect.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: The English Garden cocktail at Tasting Kitchen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— it’s a mix of gin and cucumber; two of those suckers and you’re bound for a good night. I also love Scopa (MAP IT, x) for a great drink with a New York bistro-style vibe.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I usually make mine at home… I’m not a “9-to-5” gal. I love having fresh juices from Erewhon (MAP IT, x) and adding a splash of vodka to them.

LADIES LUNCH: Malibu Farm (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) at the Malibu pier or Topanga Living Cafe (MAP IT, x).

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I would take someone to The Lobster (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for crab claws and its epic view of the Santa Monica pier, Dan Tana’s (MAP IT, x) for a martini, and Neptune’s Net (MAP IT, x) for fish-n-chips.

MUSIC PICK: I love African, blues, funk and jazz. I love all music. Townhouse in Venice (MAP IT, x) has great deejays on certain nights so it can be good for an impromptu dance party. Gjusta (MAP IT, x) plays great tunes all day. Old Lightning (MAP IT, BOOK ITx), a speakeasy on Washington, plays records some nights and it’s small and cozy. Also, Old Man Bar (MAP IT, x) is dropping the needle on some great vinyl…

BEST BRUNCH: Cora’s in Santa Monica (MAP IT, x)— I’ve been going for years. The staff is amazing and the food is consistent, plus they are dog-friendly.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Anywhere on the boardwalk. I love to grab poké at this little spot by Muscle Beach (MAP IT, x), then head to the bleachers on the basketball courts to take in all the people.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Beaming (MAP IT, x) for salads and juices.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Pasta— from anywhere! I love the spicy chili pasta from Tasting Kitchen. The ricotta toast from Scopa is heavenly too.

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Malibu Cafe (MAP IT, x)— it’s outdoor heaven with a pond and a pool table. It’s just a great place to spend the day.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The easy days of riding a bike; the sunshine-filled beach days with my girls; and, dinner in Topanga while taking in the beautiful views of California.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: I like to make it an adventure and take a drive to a place like Geoffrey’s (MAP IT, x) or The Old Place (MAP IT, x).

DELIVERY GO-TO: Pick-up from any Thai food in the neighborhood; I’m not much for delivery.

GO-TO GETAWAY: Ojai, Palm Springs or Big Sur. In Ojai, Nocciola (MAP IT, x) and Deer Lodge (MAP IT, x) are usual stops; in Palm Springs, Nature’s Health Food (MAP IT, x) and Melvyn’s (MAP IT, x); and in Big Sur, brunch at Deetjen’s (MAP IT, x) and beers and live music at Fernwood (MAP IT, x).

CLOSET CHECK: My style is pretty basic with intriguing accessories. To shop, I love Cannonball and Tilly (MAP IT, x), Shop Super Street (MAP IT, x), Collection (MAP IT, x), Scout (MAP IT, x), Heist (MAP IT, x) and Mohawk General Store (MAP IT, x).

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My home is eclectic and not precious. For décor, Gibson (MAP IT, x), and Merchant (MAP IT, x) and The Mart Collective on Lincoln Boulevard (MAP IT, x) are great.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Tortoise (MAP IT, x) for beautiful Japanese housewares or Burro (MAP IT, x) for a great cookbook.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I see Yonat Zilberg (x), who works from her home, for amazing biologyque recherche facials (call 818.906.7552).

FIT PICK: MDR Pilates (MAP IT, x), rollerblading and riding my horse.

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: The LA story is simple: you go to the beach, run into a ton of friends without planning to, then have the most wonderful day; after sundown, you’ll walk to get food and drinks nearby. It’s just the casual vibe that makes up living by the beach. CP

Erin’s LA

From L to R: First Row: Malibu Farm; Goods from Tortoise; Treasures by Wasson Fine; Topanga Living Cafe. Second Row: Bites from The Lobster; Plants at Scout; A sweet treat at Gjusta; Salad at Erven.

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