"On the other hand, New York is a fashion town. You have supermodels and the fashion mafia in New York running around looking chic and telling everyone what to do. Look what's out here! Vogue L.A. is two girls, and they don't even go out!"
But then again, Bolthouse doesn't think anyone else in L.A. is socializing like they used to. "People aren't going out to meet people because they are afraid of AIDS," he explains. "Instead, people are looking for entertainment and having dinner with friends."
Maybe that's why he's just opened the Moroccan-themed Babylon restaurant on Robertson. The eatery is a yet-to-be-exploited meeting place for loyal Bolthouse followers Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, U2, Tia Carerre and Elle Macpherson. But while a New York branch is set to open -- possibly in SoHo -- by fall, Bolthouse isn't about to abandon L.A. A move into fashion might just be his next maneuver.
"I would love to get involved in fashion shows out here. I know they exist, but no one knows about them, and that's too bad. Going to shows in New York or Paris is a blast because everybody knows about them and you always run into your friends. Here it's such a secret thing for special customers. Why not get a little youth in there? Use more celebrity models, rock 'n' rollers, and have a big party afterwards. "L.A. really needs that kind of fun. But I think stores and designers just don't want to take the risk. I know it would be good for business, because all my friends would love to see beautiful girls and beautiful clothes on a runway."
Another fashion-oriented strategy Bolthouse is considering is a partnership with jewelry designer Axel. The designer, who currently makes oversized silver pieces for rocker Axl Rose and other customers by special request through Maxfield, is getting ready to distribute a line of silver and gold designs with the help of Bolthouse's connections.