RIP, Kitson, Temple of the 2000s Famewhore

Paris Hilton. Photo: The Grosby Group/Corbis

Holly Golightly had Tiffany’s, Santa Claus had Macy’s, and Paris Hilton had Kitson, the Los Angeles boutique that became the mecca for the celebrities of the ‘00s. Sadly, despite the store’s legacy in the annals of famewhore history, the company has announced that it will close all of its 17 stores in California, Oregon, and Nevada, as well as its online shop, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The memories will live on.

Back in 2008, when Britney Spears showed up at Kitson  for a 2 a.m. shopping spree on a random Tuesday night — pantsless and speaking with a fake British accent — Us Weekly documented the adventure. When Lindsay Lohan left Kitson, got in her black Mercedes, and immediately collided with a Chevrolet Astro van half a block away, that too was caught by the paparazzi. (Was it also caused by them? Eh.) During the period from 2001 to 2012 (the long-’00s, if you will), Nicole Richie, Rachel Zoe, Kimberly Stewart, Denise Richards, Sienna Miller, Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Eva Longoria, Kevin Federline, and Rihanna all had Kitson photos in People or on TMZ.

If you had a movie coming out, a reality show premiering, an album about to debut, a new hair color or tiny dog, Kitson was there. If your agent was ignoring your calls, you weren’t getting enough media attention, or you wanted someone to think you were famous, you’d put on your flared jeans and your D&G aviator sunglasses, pull your trucker hat low like you were somebody, and pop by Kitson to remind people you existed. Because anybody who was (or would be) anybody had at least one paparazzi shot with that baby-blue bag dangling from their arm.

Kitson was more than just an effective publicity venue for ambitious starlets at the dawn of the reality era; it was also a celebrity in its own right. Photos of the store were frequently featured in all the gossip rags, including People, Star, and Us Weekly, along with blogs like Gawker. The company’s presence in the celebrity ecosystem was reported in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. (In fact, in 2006 the company sued Us Weekly for not mentioning its name when it ran photos of celebs at the store. Diva.) And in a sort of weird outgrowth of the store’s celebrity status, Kitson sometimes acted as a Greek chorus, commenting on celeb scandal and gossip — for example, in 2003, it sold those “Team Aniston” and “Team Jolie” T-shirts that Nicki and Paris were photographed wearing.

In the end, the boutique will be remembered for its starring role in the American Dream circa 2004: going to the Ivy for a chilled crab salad, and then stopping by Kitson for an outfit so you could meet up with Paris Hilton and Kimberly Stewart at Hyde Lounge later that night. There, you’d both dance at Wilmer Valderrama’s table wearing matching Stila eye shadow and M.A.C Lipglass, until you finally left the club stringy-haired, glassy-eyed, totally bombed. The next day, you’d end up on TMZ. You’d be wearing an L.A. Clippers jersey or a Mrs. Kutcher T-shirt and a pair of Hudson Jeans, or a Juicy Couture sweatsuit with Uggs. Or you could wear some layered C&C California t-shirts and pair them with your Ed Hardy jeans. Or just toss on a “boho-chic” dress that Sienna Miller was recently seen wearing with cowboy boots. Regardless, you’d be in a Cosabella thong, and you’d toss your bejeweled Sidekick in your Botkier bag.  

Even though nobody wears Juicy Couture any longer and Grumpy Cat is the biggest recent celebrity to get paparazzi attention at a Kitson location, it’s sad to see the store close — especially since Paris Hilton is still alive and kicking. But the L.A. Times notes that interested parties can still step in to save the store. Might we suggest turning the Robertson location into a Museum of Aughts-Era Fame?