For France-born Nathalie Doucet, good fashion may well be a birthright. The former designer and design professor, who moved from Paris to the U.S. more than a decade ago, is president of the Arts of Fashion Foundation, which she founded in 2001. The primary focus of the nonprofit is to support creativity and design in fashion, a goal achieved through educational programs, an annual design competition and Doucet’s campaign to establish a fashion copyright law to protect the work of designers. This month, Doucet launches investfashion.com, a website that will annually assist a handful of up-and-coming designers in need of financial sponsorship.
Fill in the blank: I never leave home without…
What is a 31-year-old former Boston College soccer player doing managing a luxury department store? The answer: part family legacy, part personal passion. Growing up in the business—his family owns the Mitchells chain of stores on the East Coast—Tyler Mitchell always had his hand in retail, learning the buying end of things at Harry Rosen in Canada and vendor operations at Brioni wholesale in New York. As men’s merchandise manager at Wilkes Bashford, which the Mitchell family bought last December, he’s tasked with marketing a classic, high-end SF brand to a broader, younger audience. Hipsters, it’s time to get measured.
What fashion mistake do most SF men make?
I always see men wearing clothes that don’t fit right.
Charleston Pierce has kept his finger on the city’s fashion pulse for more than 20 years. He’s pulled together a runway show in 48 hours, and he’s even worked the catwalk with Tyra Banks. Most importantly, the Bayview native has given local models a platform on which to strut their stuff with his production company, Charleston Pierce Presents. Over the years, Pierce has learned three critical things: Always be show-ready, connect with the audience and do whatever it takes to sell the clothes. Now in his 21st season with Macy’s Passport, he’s more ready than ever to use his skill and passion to encourage budding fashionistas to practice model confidence.
What’s your best style advice that works on and off the runway?
For those of us with high hopes for the state of San Francisco’s fashion reputation, Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer are the couple to watch. Since launching gr.dano in 2006, the design duo has grown from a small upstart line to one garnering national attention. Season after season, they produce neutral-hued, architecturally-inspired women’s apparel in versatile yet structurally sophisticated silhouettes, right from their SoMa studio. Their latest coup? Joining the ranks of past recipients (such as Rodarte and Trina Turk) as fashion honorees in this year’s California Design Biennial, on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through Oct. 31.
As partners, how similar is your fashion sense?
BS: We agree on almost everything, don’t you think?
For Behida Dolić, it’s all about the ’20s cloche. The Bosnia-born milliner spends her workweek hand-draping elegant creations for Bay Area women who want a throwback to vintage elegance. While studying fine art in Italy, Dolić fell for 20th-century American fashion, moved to the U.S. and finished her degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. Now a Berkeley resident, Dolić sees the hat as wearable sculpture—the accessory that adds instant class and confidence to any woman’s ensemble. For her, it’s all about mixing old-fashioned refinement and modern simplicity. We’ll vouch for it: Simply put on one of Dolić’s hats, and voilà! You’re instantly a lady.
What are some timeless pieces for every woman?
A little more than two years ago, Holly and Michael Weaver decided to quit their jobs and see how long they could survive financially by doing what they love most—uncovering fashion gold. Whether they’re searching endlessly through thrift store racks or discovering an inspired young designer, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt. They’ve come a long way from selling finds on Craigslist and at pop-up stores around the city. Their downtown boutique inhabits a two-level storefront on Grant Avenue and showcases up-and-coming designers alongside their latest vintage gems. And with a newly launched e-commerce site to share their wares with the rest of the world, this unstoppable duo is just getting started.
What excites you most about San Francisco fashion?
It’s impossible to explain Harputs in fewer than 140 characters. The new Union Square store doesn’t have much of a website and the plan is to eliminate its mail-order business. Under Harputs name, there’s no blog. No tweets. Founder Gus Harput might happen to be the city’s new leader in cutting-edge fashion but in essence, he’s extremely old fashioned.
Voting for the 2009 Style Council is now closed! Pick up the September issue of 7x7 or check back here later in the summer to see who made the cut.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us photos of the most stylish San Franciscan you know. Your nominations -- over 80 of them -- are below. So who has the best style? Browse through the photos and tell us who you think should win a spread in our September fashion issue. Voting ends July 15th. (Check out who made last year's cut here).
All dressed to the nines, guests gathered in the decadent Spanish Suite at the CLIFT Hotel on Tuesday, August 26 for 7x7’s annual Style Council soiree. This year’s chosen style elite were honored for their fashion savvy and contributions to the industry. Guests sipped Bombay Sapphire gin, Wattle Creek wine and SmartWater while hobnobbing with the crème de la crème.
photography by Maayan Ben-Artzi