Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fashion Island, Newport Beach, SAHS, etc.

I was skimming a 1977 issue of Orange County Illustrated magazine today when I stumbled across an ad supplement for Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach. It inspired today's post. (In a day or two, I'll actually post some of the images from the OCI ad itself.)
Today's first image (top) shows the Fashion Island area in 1965, prior to development. Note the great view of Newport Harbor in the background. The second photo shows Fashion Island's grand opening on Sept. 9, 1967. Notice the Santa Ana High School Saints Marching Band waiting to play.
Fashion Island was built on part of the Irvine Ranch, and is still owned by the Irvine Company. In fact, the site (along with much of the surrounding land) was home to the national Boy Scout Jamboree in 1953.
Originally, Fashion Island had 52 specialty shops, two restaurants, and four anchor stores: The Broadway, Robinson's, Buffum’s, and J.C. Penney's. The four buildings housing the big department stores were designed by William Pereira and Welton Becket.
Over the years, stores came and went and parts of the shopping center were expanded and redesigned. The largest makeover came in 1988/1989, when the Modern buildings (with a Spanish Revival twist) were morphed by architect Jon Jerde into a quasi-Italian/Mediterranean style. Suddenly, it seemed like a whole new place.
Lord knows why old shopping malls make me nostalgic, but seeing the original incarnation of Fashion Island definitely does.
Both of today's photos come from the Cye Featherly Collection at the Orange County Archives.


hesslei said...

In the early 2000s the mall underwent additional minor renovations resulting in the alteration and replacement of landscape elements, building facades, outdoor furniture ,and floor materials to better reflect the Mediterranean theme. Included in this renovation was the installment of a carousel and a new wing with restaurants and shops.


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Anonymous said...

I have so many great memories of Fashion Island as a kid in the late 60's and 70's! The architecture is what was so unique. This is not an average outdoor mall! Does anyone remember the original J. Magnin store? Amazing! I've been trying to find images of the outdoor sculpture that was made out of concrete, but which had interactive discs for kids to spin. Does anyone remember these? I've been trying to locate images or find out the artist's name for years. They could have been created by Tom Van Sant, who did the wind chimes on the outside of the Robinsons building in 1965, but I don't see them on his website ( If anyone has photos or info on those sculptures, please email me at

Anonymous said...

When Macy's bought Bullocks, maybe that is when "Bullocks Wilshire" (an upscale Bullocks) became I.Magnin. Bullocks Wilshire was there (where Nordstrom is today) in the early 1980's. I worked at Bullocks Wilshire for awhile, we called all the customers patrons. Very upscale department store.

Pokey said...

Anon. ..I remember those itneractive games [first anonymous..] on that sculpture! Funny thing is,:While that disappearaed smaller replicas have appeared at many parks!![here in Southern Calif.,both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Bob said...

are there any advertising agencies at or near Fashion Island that do large company campaigns?

Christopher T said...

The wind chimes outside of Robinsons were actually designed by Paolo Soleri.