Before being considered a temple of shopping, Rodeo Drive was originally the route to a ranch in what was called ‘El Rodeo de las Aguas’. It was in the 50s that Hollywood stars made Beverly Hills their place of residence, and an appropriate shopping area became necessary for this particular demographic. This would be achieved in the 70s. In 1967, Fred Hayman established the first luxury boutique on this street, Giorgio Beverly Hills. Nicknamed ‘the Father of Rodeo Drive’, his store was fantastically on-point – an eclectic environment with a club atmosphere, a reading room, a pool table, and a bar. This West Coast designer made Giorgio Beverly Hills an essential shopping destination, and the store became the place to see and be seen.
Attracted to this renowned street with decidedly European architecture, other boutiques would soon follow. Aldo Gucci opened a space in 1968, then Van Cleef & Arpels set up shop one year later. In 1977, the Rodeo Drive Committee decided to establish this street as an economic motor for Beverly Hills, but also as a premier shopping destination. They thus launched an ad campaign that aimed to make Rodeo Drive the epicenter of an elite and glamorous lifestyle. Today, the street is filled with luxury boutiques that are renowned for their different ambiances – from Chanel to Dior with Fendi, Porsche, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Lacoste in between, no big name in fashion is absent. Balenciaga even opened their first flagship here under the auspices of Demna Gvasalia. In the collective imagination, it is perhaps one legendary scene from the iconic film Pretty Woman, where a decked out Julia Roberts wanders the street in search of the perfect look, that defines the allure of Rodeo Drive. Beverly Hills and its main shopping street have thus become the epicenter of American luxury.