Thanks to the overabundance of #sponcon-happy Instagram stars, the term "social media influencer" (as well as its predecessor, "style blogger") has morphed into a swear word of sorts — but what's often overlooked is how O.G. digital fashion stars and content creators have turned their front-of-lens pursuits into legitimate fashion brands and businesses. Among them is L.A.-based writer Olivia Lopez, the blogger behind Lust for Life and Bon Weekender and who first caught our attention in the early days of fashion blogging (shout out to lookbook.nu!)
Since becoming a regular in the FROW at fashion weeks around the globe, Lopez has parlayed her passion for globetrotting into a side gig as a writer and photographer for Condé Nast Traveler and Suitcase and WSJ magazines, to name a few. Now, the SoCal native's words are getting a hardcover home of their own in her first book, Lust for Los Angeles ($55, published by marketing and advertising agency The dFm), a 200-page ode to the City of Angels that's now available for pre-order.
"I've lived all around the city, from Northridge, Woodland Hills, and Calabasas, went to high school in Orange County for a brief stint, then moved to the the east side when I was 18," Lopez tells us. She's lived in Downtown for the last six years, and her nabe is among the ZIP codes featured in her book.
Set to drop on March 15 online and at select retailers, the L.A.-focused tome was born in part from Lopez's longtime online moniker, Lust for Life, which takes its name from the Iggy Pop hit and where she's been documenting everything from her personal style and fashion shows (from Chanel at Paris Fashion Week to cult-cool labels like Nanushka and Self-Portrait at New York Fashion Week) to her culinary and cultural discoveries in L.A. and beyond for well over a decade. (Yup, she's been at it since she was 14.)
Part tour guide and part coffee table book, Lust for Los Angeles contains Lopez's own photography and writing and reveals a culture-rich capital beyond the shadow of the Hollywood sign. From architectural gems and historical landmarks to stylish neighborhoods and cool restaurants, the book is a celebration of L.A.'s status as a fashion, art, and design destination.
Here, we get to know Lopez and what inspired her to turn her blog into a book, the L.A. myths she hopes to knock down, how L.A. inspires her style, and more. Read on below, then pre-order the book online here.
How long was the idea for the book brewing, and what inspired you to turn it into reality?
I started writing city guides about Los Angeles for various publications when I noticed that there seemed to be a missing narrative about L.A. beyond a La La Land perspective, and beyond surf culture and Hollywood.
What are some specific experiences that helped shape your appreciation for Los Angeles?
There is always something new to discover in Los Angeles, and the opening letter in the book describes the exact moment in which the city felt vast and infinite, a feeling of complete awe and surrender when you visit the Stahl House.
What are some of the places you spotlight in the book that you consider some of L.A.'s most unsung heroes?
I designed the book to be a more overarching view of the city, and highlighted a lot of Eastside neighborhoods which I feel like blends more of the historic sides of L.A. with the modern day.
A common misconception is that L.A. is a desert (it's actually a Mediterranean climate). What are some other L.A. myths that you hope your book will dispel?
That L.A. is a city with a shallow surface — so much of the city's stigma and obsession as a wellness destination stems from a historic place. For example, Venice and Santa Monica were two neighborhoods that were developed as wellness destinations since the 1920s, while eating healthy, vegetable-centric food is practical when we have great access to produce year-round with our climate.
We've loved seeing your style evolve from your lookbook.nu days to now. How has your life in Los Angeles (as well as your adventures here and abroad) inspired your fashion transformations over the years?
My wardrobe approach is pretty codified depending on the city I'm going to — I like to blend in to my surroundings. In L.A., my style is much more relaxed, and out of irony and appreciation I love that it's the one city where you can wear athleisure all day without judgement.
Who are some of your favorite LA-based talents — whether they're designers, stylists, or otherwise — at the moment and why?
My favorite designer of the past 10 years are the Rodarte sisters. I love brands that don't follow trends and create their own worlds, and perhaps I'm reading too much into signs, but found it fairly serendipitous that my launch party was scheduled the same day as the Rodarte runway show (which they don't typically host in Los Angeles). I wore the dress I borrowed for the event to my launch party at the Chateau!
I also love emerging stylists like Sissy Sainte-Marie Chacon, whose approach to styling is modern and progressive, and love the way she combines local LA talent with global designers.
Pre-order Olivia Lopez's book, 'Lust for Los Angeles' ($55) online here.