Razzle Dazzle Dazzles Shoppers of All Ages

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It’s not often that my eight-year-old daughter, Lily, and I get excited about shopping at the same store.  But Razzle Dazzle in Studio City is the exception.   Even though the boutique is only 1,100 square feet, it’s so invitingly filled with fun finds that we can easily spend 40 minutes just taking in all the delightful displays.

Lily goes straight for the old fashion striped lollipops and decoratively wrapped cellophane packages of salt water taffy.  I love the retro looking print table linens, tiny embellished boxes and vintage style lockets.


Candy and pastries. Photos by: Susan Spillman

Linda Berman and her husband, Don, who used to own several Crabtee and Evelyn stores throughout Southern California, opened Razzle Dazzle three and a half years ago with the idea of creating a boutique where all of the gifts are “candy like.  I love to look at beautiful pastry shops, as much as shoe stores,” says Linda.  “They’re very inspiring design wise.”

Lily Rowe, eight.

Lily Rowe, eight.

To be sure, Razzle Dazzle is brimming with gorgeous paper mache’ cakes ($6 and $60), dainty bath salts shaped like little pastries (package of four ‘Frilly Lilly Bathcakes,’ $18.00) and a huge assortment of glittery cupcake Christmas ornaments ($6.25 and up).   There is also a sprinkling of edible candy such as oversized chocolate bars elaborately wrapped in vintage style paper ($12), which the store can barely keep in stock.  But as Linda sees it, “candy like” isn’t limited to confections.  It refers to “affordable indulgences.  Things we don’t need but want.”  That means anything from charming vintage like paper doll books ($11.50) to the whimsical book of dog poems with accompanying photos that I bought for a friend who has everything, including five dogs ($16.99). There is also lots of loot for collectors of  fairies, baseball and Paris.

Left: Retro robot toys; Right: Mickey Mouse memoribilia.

Left: Retro robot toys; Right: Mickey Mouse memorabilia.

The overall vibe at Razzle Dazzle is retro-chic.  About 10 percent of the merchandise is actually vintage and ranges from $34.00 Mickey Mouse figurines to a $1,500 French birdcage, collected on the Berman’s trips to the Midwest and South.  Some items are handmade by local artists, including the Bermans, whose line of old Hollywood themed photo books ($24.00) and vintage style journals ($17.00) are big sellers.

Christmas chef.

Christmas chef.

“My philosophy is that the present and the future are scary but looking back is comforting,” says Linda.  “If you’re old enough to remember, these things bring back memories.  If you’re not, they’re just cool.”

Vintage cameras

Vintage cameras

As much as its individual treasures, Razzle Dazzle’s allure is in how everything is exquisitely arranged, artistically grouped by color combinations and themes.  It’s not surprising that set designers from film and TV often drop in just to check out the displays for inspiration.

The store’s magically romantic feel is wrapped up at check out, literally.  Gifts are wrapped like scrumptious treats in pink pastry boxes or richly printed holiday paper with satin ribbon and embellishments.  “I find people appreciate it,” says Linda.  “It just makes them feel good.”

Razzle Dazzle 12154 Ventura Place Studio City, CA  91604  818 980-0180.  (Enter through the Vons strip mall parking lot at Ventura and Laurel Canyon Blvd. or between KooKoo Roo and Union Bank on Ventura)  Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Left: Journals are popular items; Right: Some of Razzle Dazzle's retro jewelry.

Left: Journals are popular items; Right: Some of Razzle Dazzle's vintage lockets and retro jewelry.

Susan Spillman is a former staff writer for USA Today.  She has also freelanced for a number of publications including:  Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, The Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan.   She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and currently lives in Encino with her husband and two children.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.