As far as LA experts go, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more in tune with Southern California turf than Joelle Maynard. Not only does she live in Malibu, she’s devoted her work to designing the ideal clothing and accessories for a day in the sand. Her beachwear brand Hamabla, launched just this year, includes headwraps made with vintage cotton indigo from West Africa, caftans cut from soft double gauze, and totes tied with beaded tassels – all crafted by hand in a downtown LA studio. When you meet her, Maynard exudes a sort of California cool and tranquility that makes you question, ‘Could it be that caftans are the secret to happiness?’
Because we believe that, yes, there’s some truth to living a gauze-covered existence, we’ve asked Maynard to show us around her Los Angeles, including her favourite spots for a post-beach meal, the best neighbourhoods for shopping, and the city’s famed landmarks worthy of a visit.
Favourite beach in LA?
La Costa Beach in Malibu is basically my backyard, so I go there most often. It’s super private, plus it’s dog and family-friendly and has the serene feel of a lagoon. It’s my everyday beach. If I’m going for something more exotic but still local, it’s definitely Leo Carillo with its dramatic rock formations. We do lots of shoots there and I always want to stay after working.
Best hike? Is Runyon Canyon worthy of all the Instagram attention?
Runyon doesn’t happen for me too often because I’m a Westsider – heading to Hollywood for a hike would be, well, a hike before the hike. Instead, the Temescal Canyon Loop in Pacific Palisades is one of my favourite local paths. There are phenomenal ocean and canyon views of the Santa Monica Mountains, and if LA is not in a drought, you can hike up to a flowing waterfall. Plus, there are meadows and grassy knolls on the way to the trail – I love to take my family there for picnics.
Most underrated neighbourhood?
Sawtelle/West LA. The Japanese BBQ, ramen, karaoke and boba spots are casual date-night heaven.
Must-pack items for a visit to LA?
A Hamabla sandthrow you can take on the plane and then to the beach; a cool, reusable water bottle (don’t get caught with plastic!); and an open mind.
Your favourite areas for shopping?
First off, Abbot Kinney. It’s not called the coolest street in America for nothing. If I can get past all the amazing cafes, ice cream shops and restaurants to actually do some shopping, I go to Heist. It’s a beautifully curated clothing and accessories store with a relaxed vibe.
The Culver City Arts District is lesser known but on the rise. Cruising along Washington Blvd, you get absorbed into an artsy, family-friendly and easily walkable little corner of relaxed Westside LA. Midland Shop is an oasis of ‘well chosen goods’ and is by far a new favourite for one-off original home items, art pieces and masterfully curated jewellery, accessories and apparel selections by local designers (including Hamabla).
If you were visiting LA and only had time for one museum, which one would you pick?
The Getty Villa is a museum for those that want to be culturally transported, but not feel the rush of the touristy, museum-going crowds. It was J. Paul Getty’s property completely dedicated to his overflow of art, specifically of the Greek and Roman variety. The architecture beautifully recreates an Italian countryside villa circa the first century A.D. and features sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. It always feels remote and transformative compared to other LA museums, but it’s actually very convenient to get to, right off the PCH.
The thing that’s actually true about New Yorkers vs Angelenos…
New Yorkers dress up more for a night out. That still sticks for me when I go east to Hollywood, but never on the Westside.
The most iconic LA spot?
The Malibu Pier. Nothing says Los Angeles like a restored fishing pier with a shoreline dotted with surfers in the distance.
The tourist attraction that’s actually worth experiencing?
The Santa Monica Pier. Skip the amusement park and carnival games and just sit with a picnic lunch across the street at Palisades Park to enjoy the iconic view. If you want to get closer, wander down in the summer when they have their Thursday night concert series. It’s crowded, but so worth it.
Best song for an LA-centric playlist?
‘La Cienega Just Smiled’ by Ryan Adams
Most ideal weekend road trip from LA?
Ojai is a super easy weekend jaunt 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. While there, hike the Rose Valley Falls trail, which is at the base of a 300-foot waterfall – definitely a must-see. After taking in the geographic beauty of the valley, check out the burgeoning restaurant and arts scene. Much to the locals’ dismay, Ojai has recently transformed from a sleepy town of artisans, winemakers and yogis to more of a tourist destination with loads of new shops and restaurants. I typically stay at the beautiful Ojai Valley Inn during the holidays with my family, but I’ve been dying to try the new Caravan Outpost, which is the chicest trailer park you’ll ever see.
Any other insider tips for an LA visit?
Bring clothes you can layer. If you’re hopping around from Hollywood to the beaches, there could be as much as a 20-degree difference, depending on the time of day.