Saks Fifth Avenue | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by David Deng/L.A. Conservancy

Saks Fifth Avenue

This building was a collaboration between three major L.A. architects: Paul R. Williams, John Parkinson, and Parkinson's son, Donald.

The prominent Saks Fifth Avenue in New York chose Wilshire Boulevard for its first Southern California location.

The Parkinsons, who designed the Art Deco Bullock's Wilshire building in Wilshire Center, completed the original design for the Saks Fifth Avenue exterior.

Williams polished the basic look and styled the interior. Williams gave Saks the feel of an expensive mansion and designed each area to be semi-enclosed, minimizing distraction for customers.

The rooms were bathed in soft luxury, lit with a mix of indirect lamps and small hidden floodlights aimed at the clothes, an unusual tactic for a department store. For a time, Perino's operated a rooftop restaurant for shoppers.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group


Engineered to meet the precise aspirations of residents of Pasadena, Bullock's Pasadena (currently Macy's) is a sublime example of a post-World War II department store.