Late Thursday, a Los Angeles-based store chain announced it would be shuttering all operations — a sad report, though one that's not entirely unique in today's tumultuous retail landscape. But the business in question was not just any boutique. It was a shop that, at one time, was a favorite for some of the early aughts's most prestigious starlets, including (but not limited to) Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. It was where Kim Kardashian went to be swarmed with flip phone-toting fans when she first began registering as a household entity. It was where Heidi Montag and Audrina Patridge went to blow off steam (besides Les Deux) while filming the fifth season of "The Hills." It was Kitson.
According to reports in both WWD and the Los Angeles Times, the company revealed on Thursday that it would be closing all 17 of its stores in California, Oregon and Nevada. Its online shop, ShopKitson.com, will also be shuttering, and the site is already blank aside from a banner promoting a "Big Ass In-Store Sale!" with 30-50 percent off at all of its locations. Phone calls to multiple Kitson stores were not returned.
The company, which opened its first location on Robertson Boulevard in 2000, quickly gained notoriety for its popularity with on-the-town starlets — but it's also been the subject of financial troubles in recent years. In early 2013, Kitson began seeking new financing and received a $15-million credit line from Salus Capital Partners; in June, Spencer Spirit Holdings, which owns Spencer's gift shops, contributed $5 million to help the retailer stave off bankruptcy.
But for several good years there, Kitson was more of a cultural phenomenon than a store, its sky blue shopping bags becoming a mainstay in paparazzi photos and tabloid pages alike, surely helping to usher in the era of celebrity placement marketing in fashion. In the wise words of Alyssa (and also Robert Frost), nothing gold can stay.
Click through the gallery below to see some of Kitson's most recognizable clientele shopping there in its heyday, organized in chronological order.