Bullocks Wilshire Department Store

Bullock’s was founded in 1907 in downtown Los Angeles by John G. Bullock. In 1929 an Art Deco branch on Wilshire Boulevard was opened that became known as Bullocks Wilshire. Bullock’s acquired I. Magnin, a high end San Francisco department store in 1944, and twenty years later, both were acquired by Federated Department Stores. The stores operated autonomously until 1988 when Macy’s bought the Bullock’s/I. Magnin business from Federated.

Although the Art Deco Bullocks Wilshire was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 the decline of Bullocks Wilshire had already begun as other luxury stores and boutiques moved to the west side of the city, leaving Bullocks Wilshire alone. Bullock’s was dismantled in 1989 and the Wilshire store converted to an I. Magnin in 1990. Two years later, the main floor of the store suffered severe damage during the Los Angles riots. The store was closed in 1993 and stripped of its Art Deco fixtures and fittings that were used in other Macy’s stores. Bowing to heritage preservationist pressure, most of the contents were later returned. In 1994 the building was sold to the Southwest Law School, which restored the structure, and adapted it for its own use.

The interiors shown here from Bullocks downtown were done by Tony Duquette (see tonyduquette.com for more information about this designer) in the late 1930s. The inspiration was the four seasons for the season-less L.A. climate.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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2 Responses to Bullocks Wilshire Department Store

  1. Joel says:

    I appreciate your words and history but I’m afraid you have Bullock’s and Bullocks Wilshire confused. Your interior photos are from Bullock’s Downtown, NOT Bullocks Wilshire!

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