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What’s in, What’s Out

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK 2003

– The Waiting Game

What’s in, What’s Out

From Peter Pan to restricted stock, the Business Journal offers a sneak peak at what’s hot and what’s not for 2003

In: White Lotus

Out: Koi

The hip Euro-Asian restaurant recipe remains the same: Fill a groovy interior with bite-sized grub (preferably sushi and dim sum) and invite a tight cadre of fashion and entertainment insiders. White Lotus, the latest incarnation from Sunset Room trio Chris Breed, Alan Hajjar and Eric James, promises to take the sushi-as-a-staple way of life to new levels of cool. Set to open in mid-January, the 12,000-square-foot Hollywood hangout, feng shuied for optimum karma, adds some flavorful ingredients to the mix with antique Chinese fixtures, an outdoor lotus pond, and a dance club slated to open in February. The buzz is already so hot even Koi’s trendy young things, always hungry for the next tuna tartar tower, are focusing their attentions east of La Brea.

In: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Out: Jake Gyllenhaal

She made us squirm in the twisted sex romp “The Secretary” and that, it turns out, was just a preview of what this deceptively cherub-faced ing & #233;nue can do. Though the movie wasn’t a box office hit, critics agreed that Gyllenhaal’s performance was a winner. She’s got three films in release for 2003, including “Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts and Kirsten Dunst. Meanwhile, droopy-eyed younger brother Jake, who spent the past year exhausting every Mrs. Robinson plot line in Hollywood (“The Good Girl,” “Lovely and Amazing”), will be laying low and, understandably, recuperating.

In: VW Beetle Convertible

Out: Mini Cooper

Five years after introducing the redesigned beetle, Volkswagen is unveiling its first batch of convertibles since 1979. Since God has blessed us with year-round rays, compact-convertibles are both the answer to our clean-air prayers and sun worshipping ways. Flirtatious and frugal (prices start at $20,000), it’s a small-car come-on that can be savored without much compromise or guilt. Sure, BMW’s Mini Cooper is equally cute, but its dreary-weather provenance doesn’t play to our strengths. Besides, it was the hot new car last year. The new Beetle convertible melds hip design and cool colors while breezily evoking its “Endless Summer” upbringing. It makes you remember why you were willing to put up with the Southern California gridlock in the first place.

In: Pink Jewelry

Out: Turquoise

Femininity continues to flourish as jewelry designers are ditching the blues (and greens) for a rosier perspective, creating delicate accessories in every shade of the girlish hue, from salmon to rose to blush. After a mass marketing blitz that hit every teeny-bopper in sight, that urban cowgirl turquoise thing is finally over. For that matter, so is theme dressing in general, whether it’s peasant-chic or Navajo-cool. Semi-precious stones, like rose quartz, cherry quartz and pink marine as well as rose gold, (a blush-tinted version of the precious metal) make for softer statements, and a more individual look.

In: Peter Pan

Out: Harry Potter

If the next “Harry Potter” picture is anything like the second (which was altogether too much like the first), then fans are just paying to see the inevitable: The magic is over. Besides, if Warner Bros. isn’t willing to stray even the teensiest bit from the book, why should we? The next fantasy hero is actually an old favorite. Peter Pan is back in two flicks for 2003; Universal’s traditional take and Miramax’s updated twist, “Neverland” with Johnny Depp starring as Pan’s creator, J.M. Barrie. And since the green-tighted sprite refuses to ever grow up, at least we don’t have to worry about how he’ll weather those awkward adolescent years.

In: Lacoste

Out: Juicy Couture

The latest branding rebirth comes courtesy of French prepster and tennis pro Ren & #233; Lacoste. His crocodile made its most memorable splash back in the straight-up collar ’80s. Twenty years later, the crocodile craze (this time embroidered rather than appliqu & #233;d, and noticeably smaller) is back, turning up on everything from polo shirts and swimsuits to towels and even lingerie. Matthew Broderick, P. Diddy and Marisa Tomei all sport the preppy staple. Struggling actresses, however, will have to purchase a new uniform: It’s time, at last, to bid farewell to the ubiquitous velour leisure suit popularized by Juicy Couture and its well-toned clientele.

In: Suits

Out: Business Casual

The dressed-down trend began with the tech boom but was also considered a cheap way for companies to boost morale. But they found that some employees took “casual” to the extreme and all too often inspired low-quality, sloppy work. Clients weren’t impressed, either, as it didn’t project a professional and successful image for the workplace. With the economy shaky, keeping things casual is about the last thing they have on their minds.

In: Cobi Jones

Out: Kobe Bryant

The one with the dreads is the one to watch. Cobi Jones, the speedy forward for the Los Angeles Galaxy, is America’s star in the world’s game. Last year, he led his team to MLS Cup victory as the leading scorer. This year, with the Galaxy’s new home in Carson nearly complete, L.A. may finally be ready to embrace the game and its rasta hero. Meanwhile, the other Kobe is running the three-time defending champion Lakers into the ground. His me-first, always-gunning game plan has his team in the doldrums this year.

In: Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose

Out: Piper-Heidsieck Brut

Forget the light beige bubbly. Champagne lovers are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose is becoming popular among connoisseurs who realize that rose champagne really isn’t that sweet. It’s a nice blend of dry with a touch of sweetness, which means you can sip it with hors d’oeuvres or keep it around for the main course. And don’t worry about sticker shock French champagne house Billecart-Salmon has a popular one selling for about $60. Steve Wallace, owner of Wally’s Wines & Spirits in Westwood, has seen his selection flying off the shelves.

In: Organ Meat

Out: Wild Game

Angelenos are happily dining by the waste-not mantra of food preparation. Hannibal cuisine is suddenly haute as brains, kidneys, tongues and even testicles are turning up on tables around town. New spots like Opaline serve a mean beet and braised lamb tongue salad, while older favorites like Zax in Brentwood recently offered crispy sweetbreads as a special menu item. Wild game, on the other hand, seems to be losing its once exotic luster as conservation-conscious locals are steering clear of furry forest dwellers.

In: Grand Avenue Corridor

Out: South Park

Not long ago the South Park area near Staples Center was the hottest place downtown. But with a Staples Center II retail/entertainment project stuck in the mud and plans for a football stadium scrapped, the area has cooled way down. Instead, focus has shifted north to the Grand Avenue Corridor, where tourists are taking in the grand architecture of Rafael Moneo’s Our Lady of the Angels cathedral. And just down the street Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall is causing passersby to hit the brakes. Meanwhile, billionaire Eli Broad, who revived the concert hall from the dead when its fundraising was sputtering, is leading an effort to turn the avenue into a pedestrian boulevard.

In: Coach

Out: First Class

You know there is a shift in expensing when ex-Tyco chieftain Dennis Kozlowski flies coach instead of private jet. Sure, he has an excuse, being charged with looting the company of $600 million. But traveling on the cheap is not just a priority of the fallen everybody’s doing it, save for the guys so rich that they can buy their own planes. Southwest, one of the few major carriers to actually make money, assiduously avoids a first class section. Not that the likes of American or Delta are likely to follow first class fares are so high that it would be hard to justify dropping the service. But for those looking to cut costs or at least giving off the appearance of cutting costs coach is the ticket.

In: Los Angeles Philharmonic

Out: Los Angeles Opera

Even with Placido Domingo as artistic director, the season has been fraught with cancellations and changed programs. While the L.A. Opera will remain behind in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Los Angeles Philharmonic this summer heads for new digs a block away at Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by hometown architect Frank Gehry. The L.A. Philharmonic’s season is guaranteed to be a blockbuster, attracting new and old concertgoers with the venue’s curved wooden ceiling and centrally located pipe organ.

In: Eagle Rock

Out: Hollywood

The klieg lights were on and hopes were high last year for a star-studded revival when the Hollywood & Highland complex opened, But the massive mall hasn’t done well and the area seems stalled. Meanwhile, once-ignored Eagle Rock has become a happening (and affordable) place, where charming California bungalows are being snapped up by folks priced out of Silver Lake and Los Feliz. With the new homeowners come, predictably, the usual sprinkling of hipsterish eateries, boutiques and galleries. It doesn’t hurt that Eagle Rock is home to Occidental College, which means there are a few intellectuals hanging around.

In: Restricted Stock

Out: Stock Options

This year more than a hundred public companies pledged to expense stock options going forward, ending an era of compensation many executives likened to free money. With the debate still raging on whether to expense options which are counted against earnings many firms will for now reward executives with restricted stock, which already is counted as an expense under accounting rules. “People will say if we’re faced with taking a charge to earnings, we might as well just use restricted stock,” said Graef Crystal, an executive compensation expert.

Prepared by Audrey Davidow, Deborah Belgum, Conor Dougherty and Laurence Darmiento.

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