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Gucci Gets Glam ... Again

Swell set swarms opening of the new Gucci Boutique

At the opening of the fabulously glam new Gucci boutique smack dab on Union Square, we just couldn't stop it -- a refrain rattling 'round our brain from the classic 1979 Sister Sledge song, He's the Greatest Dancer (about a disco on the "outskirts of 'Frisco," no less).

He wears the finest clothes/ The best designers, heaven knows/ Ooh, from his head down to his toes: Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci ...

Ah, yes ... Gucci. The venerable Italian luxury fashion house founded in Florence in 1921 and originally heralded for its exquisite leather goods. But in another bygone era (known as the Sexy Seventies), Gucci became synonymous as the soigné uniform of the famous and one-named habitues of Studio 54: Liza! Andy! Bianca! Halston! La Liz! Calvin! Rudolph!

And just like the old Studio 54, this new boutique drew a flock of our own soigné swans: Vanessa! Connie! Juliet! Sloan! Kate! Karen! Sonya! Ali! La Siebel! OJ!

Among the swans were two of our town's suavest sartorial peacocks: Willie! And style-setter Norman Stone!, who donned his own knock-out vintage Gucci loafers.

Within the crush that hid potential pitfalls of the boutique's gleaming and mirrored surfaces (which provided the self-obsessed the chance to sneak a private preening), the Taste Catering Team gracefully passed nummy nibbles.

And later, Taste CEO MeMe Pederson followed up with a delish dinner a few doors down on Maiden Lane in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Xanadu Gallery for 30 lucky film-and-fashion 'nistas -- a first, wethinks, in that historic and very chic space.

The Gucci boutique is located in the historic Bently Building (240 Stockton Street), just a few doors up from its old space. And Amber-Marie Bently was especially thrilled that the Gucci designers agreed to craft a soon-to-be-approved LEED redesign of the space -- the first of its kind among San Francisco retailers.

"Of course," teased designer Jeffry Weisman, "That made it more expensive and took longer!"

But Weisman's nephew, Gucci boutique designer Robbie Zweig was thrilled: "We've had a great response to the new look. It's an exciting feel and lots of people are stopping in. Hardly anyone even remembers where our old location was!"

Also out in force? Neighboring retailers from other high-end Union Square boutiques, including dressed-to-the-nines Lorence Manansala of the YSL Boutique on Maiden Lane.

"I'm wearing YSL, Ralph Lauren and Gucci," said Manansala, laughing, "Just to cover all my bases!"

A portion of sales from the opening benefitted the San Francisco Film Society and that was welcome news considering the hot new Babouska bag retails for $2,395.

The evening also honored director Alexander Payne and launched a new partnership for the Film Society with Cinema Visionaries, a traveling film preservation screening program founded by Gucci and The Film Foundation.

The fruits of which (Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence and Antonioni's Le Amiche) appear on-screen (April 25) during the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival.

Still, some folks were heard to whisper and even wonder aloud, How can these type of events still be happening ... now?

We say: Let us be thankful for new retail in San Francisco, even amid a horrific economy.

Now, repeat after me: New jobs; business taxes; tourists with strong currencies (hopefully the pound sterling); and good film.

Abbondanza, bella!

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