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Discover Orange County - Special Advertising Section - Brief Article
Los Angeles Magazine, Sept, 2002 by Scott Huver

THINK OF LOS ANGELES AS THE GLAMOROUS, SEXY, PRADA-CLAD, GUCCI- TOTTING, HAVE-IT-ALL big sister with an unerring instinct for all things hot, hip, and cutting edge. L.A. as we'll call her, is dazzling and intoxicating, but oh, that 24-7 pace she sprints at--and in this minute's Ferragamo stilettos, no less.
And then there's the little sister who lives nearby but is frequently out-glammed by her sibling's spotlight-friendly splendors, Orange County, or O.C.: a sunny, fresh- faced, laid-back, athletic California beauty who shines in bikinis, flip-flops, and hair scrunchies on the beach by day, yet cleans up beautifully after dark when she slips into simple, elegant attire. This, you eventually suspect, is a gal who really may have it all.
Despite their day-and-night differences, LA loves their sister to the south, and why wouldn't we? O.C. is a comforting getaway, a familiar but simultaneously different environment that offers all those fabulous SoCal amenities we don't always allow ourselves to enjoy enough at home--the surf, the sun, serious shopping--wrapped in a more casual but equally captivating package. O.C. shares L.A.'s taste for the finer things in life, just at a calmer clip--relaxed enough to put the brakes on the fast-lane lifestyle, refined enough to do it with sophistication and grace.

And, like the perfect sibling, solace is just a quick car trip away, traffic willing. Traveling isn't always easy these days, but with O.C. adventures just a short jaunt away, it can be.
The world at large is probably most familiar with its family-friendly ambassador, Anaheim, a hub of entertainment, hospitality, and, of course, home of the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland. But O.C. boasts a wealth of equally enchanted realms providing escapist lifestyles for just about everyone, and there's nothing Mickey Mouse about them.
Its 30-plus communities include classic palm tree-lined surf cities Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa; eclectic, artsy enclaves like Laguna Beach; idyllic master-planned cities like Mission Viejo; maritime-minded outposts like Newport Beach; historic, centuries-old spots like Buena Park, Orange, San Juan Capistrano, and Yorba Linda (which, among other things, gave the world Richard M. Nixon); Irvine, bustling with business savvy and brainy UC academics; and all those well-heeled, scenic suburbs.
And for all its picturesque landscapes, bluffside vistas, and perfect sunsets, O.C. isn't above a little Hollywood glitz: it named its only commercial airport after John Wayne. Even the soaring architecture of Garden Grave's Crystal Cathe-dral reveals a hint of showbiz lurking in O.C.'s soul.
You want shopping on par with L.A.'s elite? Head directly to Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza, which packs an inclusive selection of elegant, world-class boutiques-- including Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Hugo Boss, Christian Dior, and the like--with classy crowd-pleasers Abercrombie & Fitch, Pottery Barn, and more--all alongside a convenient cluster of department stores--Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Robinsons -May, and Macy's. Grown-ups love the neverending lineup of shops (more than 250) and restaurants (nearly 40), and kids' heads spill over the colorful carousels at Bristol and Bear streets. While they're going round-and-round, you can wind down at the appointment-only Spa at South Coast Plaza, indulging in a plethora of luxurious treatments.

Not enough? Zip over to the tree-lined paseos of Newport Beach's Fashion Island, where a collection of 200 stores awaits. Before you even start shopping you'll feel the stress dissipate as the soaring waters of the shopping center's fountains are through the air, the koi swim tranquilly in their pond, and the impressive Atrium Court welcomes you. And then there are the stores, which range from the familiar, including Bloomingdale's, BCBG, Express, Kenneth Cole, Neiman Marcus, NIKE Goddess, and Shabby Chic, to name but a few to the unique (from Apropo and its "discriminating women's fashions" to Z Gallerie and its "eclectic furnishings"). To fill in any gaps, there are salons, spas, restaurants, and a dozen movie screens.
Still can't find the ultimate shopping score? Did we mention The Block at Orange? How about Downtown Disney in Anaheim or the Irvine Spectrum Center? Got time to zoom over to Costa Mesa's Triangle Square, Tustin's The Market Place, or the malls of Buena Park or Laguna Hills? Of course you do. With traffic on your side, L.A. denizens can make it to even the farthest away of these hot spots in just over an hour.
We fashion-conscious northerners must give props to the trendsetting stylemakers who started out in Orange County. St. John Knits began back in 1962 when fashion model Marie Gray designed a stylish sleeveless gray knit dresses for her friends. Now celebrating its 40th year, the Irvine-based company, still family-owned and operated, is an international fashion powerhouse, selling jewelry, accessories, and signature knits in more than 30 countries worldwide.
In 1962 you also could have found a tiny shack called Lorne's in Newport Beach selling bikinis to Gidgetesque teenage girls. That year, while attending a swimwear show, the shop's owner Lorne Huycke had an amused reaction to the shiny black suits she saw on display, telling her husband they made the models look like "wet seals," and a brand name was born. Today Wet Seal operates more than 580 retail stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
Similarly, the origins of surf gear legend Quiksilver began in Newport Beach, in the mid-1970s, when curl-catching buds Jeff Hawkman (a top surf competitor) and Robert "Buzz" McKnight (a USC business grad) created a sensation by introducing the durable, flexible, lightweight Australian broadshorts to the SoCal surf culture. The introduction of the spin-off Roxy women's brand helped popularize the sport and its styles with women. Today Quiksilver currently rides a global wave amounting to more than $600 million in annual sales.
And it wouldn't be Orange County without the right shades. Foothill Ranch-based, one time motocross goggle-maker Oakley (named after company founder Jim Jannard's dog) had its brightest moment with the creation of its glare-free, high- performance eyewear in the early 1980s, using exotic materials, from pure titanium to ballistic Kevlar, to craft its now-iconic sunglasses. Oakley currently is found in more than 70 countries worldwide.
With such style sensations in its pedigree, is it any wonder that one of the county's favorite daughters, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, known for her offbeat O.C. mix of thrift -store casual and Mute couture chic, is one of today's most emulated fashion icons? Which brings us back, revisiting the little-sister metaphor, to why oh-so-cool L.A. adores fun-loving O.C.: She may still be a beach bunny at heart, but even her glamour-puss sibling to the north has to admit that she's grown up with style and class to spare. L.A. will hang with O.C. any time--as long as big sis can borrow her clothes.

Orange County Resource Guide
Newport Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
3300 West Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach
(949) 722-1611 or (800) 94-COAST, www.newportbeach-cvb.com

South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa
(800) 782-8888, www.southcoastplaza.com

The Sports Club/Irvine
1980 Main Street, Irvine
(949) 975-8400, www.sportsclubirvine.com