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Rent the Runway Opens ‘Dream Closet’ in Valley

Online luxury apparel rental service Rent the Runway opened its flagship West Coast location on Oct. 21 in Woodland Hills. The 1,500-square-foot shop, nestled between swimwear boutique Everything But Water and cosmetics retailer Planet Beauty at The Village at Westfield Topanga, is just the sixth of its kind in the country. Like other Rent the Runway outposts in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., the store offers a selection of women’s apparel and accessories by more than 350 high-end designers, including Red Valentino, Proenza Schouler and Trina Turk. Dresses, blouses, handbags and other items can be secured on-site or online for four- or eight-day periods, after which they can be returned to the store or mailed back in a pre-paid envelope. Fees range from $5 for a pair of earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane to $575 for a Naeem Kahn dress, valued at $4,130. Subscribers to Rent the Runway’s “unlimited” program, which lets customers rent and return as many pieces as they would like for $139 a month, can drop off or pick up online orders at the outpost. Dry cleaning is included in rental or monthly fees, according to the company. The Woodland Hills store will be the first to debut the company’s “Dream Closet” concept, an extension of its online inventory that includes store-exclusive items and changes daily according to customer demand. The decision to open its premier West Coast location at the Village was based on Los Angeles’ position as one of Rent the Runway’s top target markets and the shopping destination’s popularity with local customers, company representative Meaghan Gibbons said. Rent the Runway is among a growing number of “digital-first” fashion and beauty companies that are establishing brick-and-mortar locations to complement their online business. Birchbox, an online service that mails subscribers monthly samples of prestige beauty and grooming products, has been operating a physical outpost in New York’s SoHo neighborhood since July 2014 and is eyeing additional sites, according to the company. Internet eyewear startup Warby Parker has built 41 physical sites across 19 states since 2013, as well as experimented with temporary “pop-up” shops inside Nordstrom Inc. department stores. Bringing the Bacon The restauranteur and the head chef behind Lancaster bistro and wine bar Pour d’Vino are bringing an award-winning bacon creation to the World Food Championship in Orange Beach, Ala. The competition runs Nov. 10 through Nov. 15 and features around 450 participants from restaurants in the U.S. and abroad. Pour d’Vino became the first wine bar in the Antelope Valley when it opened at 741 Lancaster Blvd. in November 2011. Operated by Jody Cherbonneaux and her son Jason Cherbonneaux, the lounge features wine tastings, guest vintners and live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, according to its website. Pour d’Vino’s Italian-influenced lunch and dinner menus include porcini sachets, seafood pasta, lamb shanks and head chef Jana Hernandez’s signature crème brulee. Hernandez, who received her culinary education from the University of Antelope Valley and has been head chef at Pour d’Vino for three years, wowed judges’ palettes with a bacon-infused variation of the brulee at the BLVD Association’s “Bacon, Blues and Brews” event in May, qualifying her and Jody Cherbonneaux to participate in this month’s World Food Championship. The team plans to prepare the prize-winning dish again in Orange Beach, this time for international food experts and representatives from major cuisine publications, to beat out 34 other competitors in the Bacon World Championship. “[The bacon brulee] is what got us this far,” Hernandez said in a prepared statement. She and Cherbonneaux claimed they also have some surprises in store for other rounds of the competition. This year, contestants in their category will be expected to whip up bacon-laden cornbread and chocolate in addition to one signature dish. The World Food Championship is broken into nine categories, ranging from bacon to burgers and seafood to sandwiches. First-place contestants in each category receive $10,000 and the opportunity to impress judges at the “final table” for a $100,000 grand prize. Competitors also enjoy significant publicity thanks to the buzz around the event, which is covered or attended by numerous food bloggers and generates millions of impressions on social media, according to the competition’s website. Staff Reporter Helen Floersh can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or hfloersh@sfvbj.com.

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