Style + Design
In case you weren’t already painfully aware, conspicuous consumption is officially as dead, and, if you were painfully aware, the New York Times is here to remind us of that fact in a recent story by Ruth La Ferla. Slipping into its place? A curious notion we'll call stealth shopping. Big ticket items, the thinking goes, carry a degree of style stigma these days, so members of the haute set are heading underground, leaving the high street for private sales and trunk shows where their lavish purchases can be made among likeminded folk.
Already stressing about packing for that next holiday trip? We don’t blame you. Not only have some airlines recently begun charging for water (yes, water), but they’re sticking it to you at the airport where some of us have been caught off-guard by the fees tacked on for checking just one bag. There is a bright spot to the madness: Chloe & Jane skincare. Founded in Danville by Laura Albin, the Bay Area-based company formulates its product using natural, preservative- and dye-free ingredients, and has packaged its deliciously scented signature scents in travel-friendly sampler kits ($12-$20) perfectly suitable for that overstuffed carry-on.
Presidio Heights has a new go-to shop for bespoke baubles, thanks to the opening of the second San Francisco store and working atelier of Mabel Chong. Larger than the diminutive original location in Noe Valley, the local designer’s new Sacramento Street home showcases her handmade necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets amid furnishings collected by Chong's husband, Mark Welte.
Pop in to see Chong’s latest work: black diamond-and-18K-gold stardust bead earrings and long, asymmetrical necklaces that can be worn plain or layered for added drama. And if a piece of furniture catches your eye, don’t be shy. Chong has plans to put price tags on the store’s art and furnishings, too.
As the sage mentor who counsels young designers on Bravo TV’s Project Runway, Tim Gunn is anything but the typical reality TV star that has made a small screen career out of behaving badly. In fact, the personable style expert, who breezed through town on Tuesday for a fashion show promoting the Monet jewelry line at Macy’s Union Square, showed up exactly on time for our interview and—just like his TV persona—spoke thoughtfully and candidly about his take on all things fashion. Here’s what we learned about the former Parsons The New School of Design fashion chair, Chief Creative Officer for Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Hayes Valley boutique Acrimony is getting in on the pop-up shop action just in time for the holidays. In the spotlight? Makr leather accessories and canvas bags by designer Jason Gregory. Set up within a temporary eight-by-eight-feet space inside the Gough Street store, Makr offers its latest hand-sewn wallets, totes and small leather goods.
What could possibly be the upside to the recession? Even newly opened stores, including Ralph Lauren’s latest addition to Fillmore Street, are clearing out merchandise way before Black Friday. While you might be lured in by the 3,500-square-feet shop’s cozy, rustic ambiance (oak floors, leather club chairs and plenty of wicker), you’ll end up staying for the selection of men’s and women’s winter clothing and accessories, which were just marked down to 40 and 50 percent off of retail. We suggest heading straight to the back rack for sleek RLX puffer jackets, ski pants and bright wool knits you’ll need for that Thanksgiving trip to Tahoe.
If you’re anything like us, you’re looking at the limp economy as a glass half full instead of one that’s half empty. It just means fewer shoppers to compete with over a greater number of post-Thanksgiving day sales, no? If your inner shopping optimist draws you to downtown to sniff out the Black Friday deals, we also recommend checking out a few new shops that have recently opened in this ever-changing shopping district.
The elections may (finally) be over, but the inaugural celebrations have yet to come. We're predicting everything from lunchtime toasts to swanky shindigs around town on January 20. Loyal Army, an SF-based clothing line for teens that opened its first retail shop, in the Haight, in recent months, is whipping up a batch of limited-edition T-shirts just for the occasion. Founder Brian Dold says he designed the shirts with the goal of getting teens involved in politics.
For the beauty novice, it’s hard to believe that a bar of soap could do more than wash the dirt off. Those in the know realize the potential joys of the ideal cleansing bar—one so perfectly balanced that its rich lather leaves your skin moisturized and smooth, freshly scented and, of course, gently cleaned. We’ve found said bar in the form of the new, ultragentle Glowology Believe Honey Bar by San Jose–based Noodle & Boo. As a bonus, the company donates 100 percent of the product’s profits to the Raise Your Hand Campaign, which funds water-purification systems for disadvantaged children worldwide. Available at Nordstrom, 865 Market St., 415-243-8500
Cinta Gibbons of Cinta Salon fame has opened California’s first Aveda Institute, providing West Coast cosmetology and esthetics students with 10,000 square feet of eco-friendly space in which to train, and bargain hunters with a gold mine for discounted grooming services. Professionally supervised students perform an array of services, from brow tints and waxes to haircuts, updos and highlights. Our budget service of choice is the 50-minute custom-cleansing facial, which includes a neck massage and extractions, as well as post-treatment mineral makeup application, for $40—twice the beauty at more than half off the usual spa price. 305 Kearny St., 415-989-4400