Each month we share five unmissable things to see and do in the Golden State. You heard it here first.



A Chic Boutique Bursting with Our Favorite Brands

Philip Manghisi started his career at the age of 19 as a cashier at the legendary Jeffrey boutique in New York’s Meatpacking District and quickly worked his way up to buyer. The owner, Jeffrey Kalinsky, lovingly referred to Manghisi as his “wunderkind.” In 2015, Manghisi moved to Los Angeles, where he was a senior buyer at Elyse Walker for four years before striking out on his own with Wunderkind, a luxury destination boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona, stocking a refined collection of contemporary ready-to-wear collections, luxury shoes and handbags, fine jewelry, eyewear, and home accents. Now he returns to California with a second installment of Wunderkind set to open in a cozy stone cottage in Montecito. The new outpost will carry a prodigious roster of designer labels, including Alaïa, Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Khaite, The Row, and Gabriela Hearst. Think luxurious but not overly formal—this is California, after all. 525 San Ysidro Rd., Suite B, Montecito; shopwunderkind.com.


Desert X Storms into the Mojave with a Water Theme

PHOTO: Lance Gerber.

Despite the water-starved locale, for the fourth installment of Desert X curator Diana Campbell took cues from the universal life source. “I am inspired by water cycles, how water moves across solid, liquid, and gas states, and I hope the show will help us imagine how our energy has a transference far beyond what we see just in front of us in our own localities in the here and now,” says Campbell, who co-curated the show with artistic director Neville Wakefield. Together they’ve tapped 11 artists from around the world to create site-specific pieces across the Coachella Valley that comment on how we impact our environments—for better or worse. Take The Smallest Sea with the Largest Heart, a piece by Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studios that highlights the area’s water shortage by featuring swimming pools and elements including fish-bone skeleton “sand” from the Salton Sea to remind onlookers that the desert itself was once a body of water. March 4–May 7; desertx.org.


A Fashionista Turned Foodie’s Family Affair

Fashion designer turned restaurateur Humberto Leon, co-founder of Opening Ceremony and former co-director of Kenzo, is following up on the success of Chifa, his Peruvian-Chinese hotspot, with a new culinary concept: Monarch. Located in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley near where Leon spent his teenage years, it’s a family affair with his mother, Wendy; his sister Rica; and Rica’s husband, John Liu. He designed the space alongside architect Michael Loverich as a grand Hong Kong–style banquet hall with a twist, featuring dramatic custom wallpaper that resembles undulating tablecloths, gilded Izabel Lam flatware, and a large-scale glass beaded curtain created by artist Charlie Mai (which makes for the perfect Insta backdrop). John Liu heads the kitchen, whipping up familiar Cantonese dishes like the sweet-and-sour pork belly Humberto and Rica grew up eating, as well as new items like a fried rice collaboration with Solange Knowles. As if there weren’t enough on their plate, last month the family also quietly launched Arroz & Fun, a laid-back breakfast and lunch spot in Lincoln Heights. 1212 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, 626-596-2818; monarch-sgv.com.


From Fallen Trees Might Artworks Grow

In the aftermath of an epic windstorm that downed dozens of trees in Claremont, California, local artist Vince Skelly saw an opportunity for creation among the wreckage, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Skelly, who holds a B.S. from San Francisco State University, collected fallen timber and brought the pieces back to his studio. Following grain, patterns, knots, and other characteristics inherent to the wood, he carefully shaped stools, chairs, and abstract forms out of single blocks. The series is now on display at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art exhibition Vince Skelly: A Conversation with Trees. Inspired by various traditions of wood carving, both ancient and modern, as well as by megalithic dolmens, ancient figurines, the sculptures of Brancusi, and the paintings of Philip Guston, Skelly’s bold, monolithic work deftly blurs the line between form and function. Through April 23. 200 W. First St., Claremont; clmoa.org.


An Ace Tennis Tournament Brings Drama to the Desert

When tennis darling Taylor Fritz, who grew up in Rancho Santa Fe, beat Rafael Nadal in last year’s finals at the BNP Paribas Open, he became an instant hometown hero and the first American to capture the men’s singles title in more than 21 years. This month, the world’s largest combined men’s and women’s tournament kicks off under the directorship of Tommy Haas for two action-packed weeks in Indian Wells. Off the court, don’t miss concerts from the likes of the Bryan Bros. Band and John McEnroe’s Johnny Smyth Band (McEnroe, an avid guitarist, is married to musician Patty Smyth). Over at Stadium 2, Nobu Matsuhisa returns to the Coachella Valley serving up his signature bento boxes with seating that overlooks the court so you won’t miss a single point. March 6–19; bnpparibasopen.com.


Feature image: PHOTO: Lance Gerber.


March 1, 2023

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