Your first look into SSUR‘s Los Angeles shop, Ravenite, at 7710 Santa Monica Blvd. Congratulations to Russ, Vlad, Dave, Pete, of course Robin, and the rest of the SSUR team. And scroll down for our exclusive interview with Russ and photos from the party.
The Hundreds’ editorial team got a chance to catch up with SSUR’s own Russ about the new spot in West Hollywood, a city with the most concentrated single Russian-speaking region in the United States outside of New York. Sandwiched between the Russian Mechta Deli (who actually catered the event) and a no-name boutique at 7710 Santa Monica Blvd., the store has a private room in the back closed to the public that Russ calls a “social club,” fitted with a one-way mirror view of SSUR’s updated version of The Last Supper. When the party started, we interviewed Russ in the lounge-like area reminiscent of immigrant social clubs in the Little’s of America and talked about the new space.
Alina: Why did you choose this particular WeHo space on Santa Monica Blvd.?
Russ: Because it’s a Russian neighborhood. Because, you know, it’s my roots, sort of.
Had you been planning to open a location in LA for a while?
We’ve been working on this space for a year. The landlord was a little… tough to work with [laughs]. So that took about five months. And you know, permits in West Hollywood are a pain in the ass. They really are. They really put the screws into you. We’re here now and we’ll be adding finishing touches for the next couple of weeks. We’re pretty close.
And the official open is Monday [June 9] right?
The store’s gonna be open Monday, but we’ll still be working on it for a couple of weeks after that. Gotta order materials that weren’t in - the usual stuff. We didn’t wanna wait anymore, we just wanted to get it over with. Be open for the summer.
So choosing an area that was rich with Russian culture was definitely a deliberate move on your part.
Absolutely. I been eyeballing this spot since I moved out here about 4 years ago. Somebody else was in here - I patiently waited for them to get out.
What was here before?
There was a city thing here, like waste management. And then before that it was sort of like a wedding chapel and before that, a plumbing hall or something like that. We totally gutted the whole place and started from scratch pretty much. The landlady made us keep one bathroom for god knows what reason, you know. Everything else was floored, started from scratch.
Did you frequent the Russian markets around here?
No, but, you know, being from New York and growing up around fellow Russians and Ukrainians, you know, I was homesick for it when I first moved out here, so I kind of wanted to be close to it. Set our own sort of market instead of opening where all the other shops are. And work on making this a worthwhile destination.
What made you wanna move out here to LA?
I lived out here about two decades ago for a small run. And at that point, I was way too New York and had little patience for it. And before I had a kid, I started coming here again and fell in love with it again. I met my wife out here. We moved to New York, lasted for a little while, she hated it and she wanted to move back out here, so. We had a kid and she was like, “Hey, well, your son and I are moving to Cali, are you coming with us?” [laughs]
So besides having that open area in the front that’s gonna be mainly the store, what’s this back area gonna be?
This is gonna be sort of like a social club. Where we have meetings. Sort of like a members-type of thing. People who have supported brand for a long time who have become friends through that. There’s a bar. We’re gonna have an espresso machine. We’re gonna have a rug in here. Other chairs besides these two.
You gotta have that rug, right?
We’re gonna have a rug for sure. Afghani.
I love that the event is catered by the Russian neighbors next door.
When I took the space, I smelled the Russian food from the barbecue, the aroma of the shish kebabs and I was like, Man, I’m home.
One of the ladies was walking by with the food and trying to describe what she had on her plate to Ben Baller and she was like, “The, uh mushroom and potato,” and we didn’t understand what she was saying and he was like, “Okay!” and took two.
Of course he did!
Besides Hennessy, are there any special collaborations we can expect for tonight?
I can’t really disclose that information just yet.
It’s gonna be a surprise?
I hope so, I mean, I like surprises. Sort of the SSUR-prise.
Any last words you’d like to say?
I wanna thank LA for showin’ me love and for accepting me, and you know, just that. I’m grateful.