Uniqlo SF Grand Opening: Mob Mentality

With the grand opening festivities of Uniqlo‘s San Francisco flagship opening out of the way this weekend, I figured I could dodge the crowds and pop into the famed Japanese retailer’s first West Coast store today in Union Square to grab a few staples. Boy was I wrong.

Known for their well-cut basics (think Japanese version of Gap), I’ve never had trouble finding an assortment of trim-fitting, quality sweaters, pants, and tops– in every color of the rainbow– when shopping at Uniqlo’s New York and Asia outposts. It also happens to be a great place to find pieces cut for those with more petite frames as sizes run smaller than those of typical American retailers.

Here’s a snapshot of the insane line outside the 111 Powell Street mega-shop this afternoon that wrapped half-way around the block. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the madness dies down to stock up! (Tip: For those of you unwilling to hoof it to the brick-and-mortar location, Uniqlo.com will soon be available to US shoppers. To get notified of exactly when, pre-register on the site with your email address).

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My Favorite Outfit: Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Chuck-Oliver Lapus

In all the years I’ve known friend, and fashion inspiration, Chuck-Oliver Lapus, I’ve never seen him sport the same outfit twice. A master of the  remix, this Bay Area pediatric intensive care nurse and proud fashion experimentalist dares to go with his wardrobe where your average guy doesn’t—from dapper dandy to hip-hop inspired to avant-garde. In Chuck’s world, fashion is art. “When I dress for occasions, I am painting my own portrait and I am producing my own music.”

Photographed at Diablo Ranch, Mount Diablo, by Edric Itchon.

Name: Chuck-Oliver Lapus

Occupation: Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse

Age: 34

Where I live: South San Francisco

What I’m wearing:

“Super-Bars Fade by LoLo at the San Mateo Zoo Barber Shop. Aviator shades by Police-Italia. Satin Burberry Classic Nova print bow tie. White organic cotton short-sleeve collared shirt, modern fit, by American Apparel. ZARA-Man Euro cut blazer. Black leather embossed belt by Coach. Classic wool cashmere-blend trousers by Burberry Prorsum. Dress socks by Donna Karan. Black 3/4 High Sharp Boots by Rick Owens.”

Why this is my favorite outfit:

“My new outlook on fashion has changed so much and the days of ‘just wearing a suit’ has come and gone. I am sure that for the fashion world in general, suits will always be part of the runway. However, I take pride in the deconstruction of my suits; I have to create a look that draws people’s attention—something avant-garde.”

How I’d remix this outfit:

“I would make it more casual by putting on a fedora, taking off the blazer and bow tie, and untucking the shirt. I’d fold up the hem of the trousers and replace formal boots with boat shoes. I’d also add my double pyramid ring in gunmetal by Black Scale SF.”

As a nurse, I’m assuming you are in uniform scrubs for work. Does this influence how you tend to dress in your non-working hours?

“You know I always look forward to going to work for meetings and showcasing. Not in an arrogant way, but a lot of the other nurses always dress up when they come to meetings at work too! It’s almost like having a ‘free-dress’ day when I was in junior high. The thought of being able to go into work and not having to wear scrubs is a pretty liberating.”

Fashion inspires me because…

“Like art and music, fashion is derived from the individual, but it has the possibility of reaching and touching so many people. Fashion is art!”

My fashion icons are:

“Pharrel Williams, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Nickleson Wooster, David Beckham.”

What piece I’m coveting for Fall right now:

“Denim. I have a denim addiction. It’s almost scary. I have more denim than my wife. The move from wearing denim with no enlarged embroidery is a must. I dig the Euro cut of the NUDIE line. I have the same cut in three different dyes. I am also digging the Japanese line Naked and Famous.”

My most prized fashion find:

“My most prized find was a gift that I bought for my wife. I was in a Crossroads shopping phase at one point in my life, and I happened to stumble into the Irving location one day before I went into work and I found some beautiful Louie Vuitton yellow suede high heel espadrilles. The heels were practically dead stock (never worn). Five years later, my wife still covets those heals and they still transcend fashion’s past!”

The most daring ensemble I’ve worn consisted of:

“All my friends called me ‘Ross’ because we went out one night, and I was brave enough to wear brown leather pants. That’s all I am saying because if certain friends of mine are reminded of this particular outfit, I will never hear the end of it!”

What “makes” an outfit?  

“A person’s attitude and how they wear an outfit. I have been told many times by other people, ‘I love your (insert article of clothing), but I could not pull off that outfit.’ I am willing to take the risk. I don’t really pay attention to what anyone else thinks about my outfit. My biggest critic (besides my wife) is me. If I like it, then I’ll wear it anytime, any place–like Janet.”

My ultimate fashion fantasy is….

“… to be discovered while having coffee at Starbucks and asked to model for Givenchy.”

Why Working at Sephora is Fun

Today I felt like sharing a little snapshot into my work day. This beautiful assortment of new “La Laque Couture” nail lacquers  from YSL, launching on Sephora.com next week, just landed on my desk.

I’m fully on board with the hot-as-ever nail art trend and obsessed with all the intense, bright colors for summer I’m seeing everywhere–from the runway to our office. These quick-drying formulas are strengthening, the colors are pigment-rich, and they go on easily with the wide brush. Plus, these golden bottles look so lovely and luxurious, I am compelled at the moment to use them as cubicle installation art.

English Luxury Brand Mulberry Bows in San Francisco’s Union Square

It was a truly “un-S.F.” moment. A line of stylish guests gussied up in cocktail dresses, platforms, and trim-cut suits snaked down the block as a stern bouncer dressed in all black held back impatient line-jumpers from storming their way through the glass doors–at 6:30 p.m. “One in, one out,” he barked. “No exceptions.”

Photos by Nerissa Pacio Itchon, unless otherwise noted.

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All That’s Fine and Dandy: Menswear Styleforum 10-year anniversary

It’s not every day that a San Francisco fashion event draws the special breed of stylish male shoppers who probably know the difference between a three-fold versus a four-fold silk grenadine tie or perhaps the finer points of construction of a Goodyear welt wingtip oxford.

Scenes from the Men’s Styleforum 10-year anniversary event at the W Hotel. Handmade ties by San Francisco fashion newcomer Louis Walton. All photos by Edric Itchon.

But at the premiere fashion showcase last month celebrating the 10th anniversary of Styleforum, an online fashion community for men, more than 300 dapper guests turned out at the W Hotel for bespoke suit fittings, complimentary shoe shines and an opportunity to peruse 15 local and national vendors specializing in quality menswear.

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Summer Beauty Obsession: Laline’s Exfoliating Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub

Despite the pending change of seasons and sunnier skies ahead, my hands and cuticles seem to be perpetually stuck with the winter blues. Rough and dry from my obsessive hand-washing habit and battered from my constant tapping on the keyboard, my dehydrated digits could use some serious TLC.

Laline’s Dead Sea Salt scrubs. All photos by Alex Akamine.

Laline’s Beauty and the Beach Summer Kick-Off event in San Francisco couldn’t have come at a better time, if only to introduce me to the boutique brand’s signature Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub—now my go-to product for soothing parched and flaky skin.

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Christian Louboutin 20th Anniversary Capsule Collection Bows at Neiman Marcus

Bubbly, bites, and limited-edition Louboutins drew San Francisco’s fashion bloggerati to the Union Square Neiman Marcus store on March 15 for the private unveiling of the celebrated French designer’s 20th anniversary capsule collection, available for sale on the Christian Louboutin online boutique and in stores exclusively at 10 Neiman Marcus locations nationwide.

All photos by Nerissa Itchon.

The invitation-only event, held in the second level women’s shoe salon, gave bloggers and select shoppers the chance to preview 20 unique styles inspired by 20 years of iconic shoe designs, which run the gamut from the pointy-toe bejeweled “Pigalove” flats to the soaring six-inch fringed “Highness Tina” boots designed in homage to diva muse Tina Turner.

Christian Louboutin’s velour “Highness Tina” boots ($2,295), a collector’s item from the 20th anniversary capsule collection.

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Scenes from Singapore: Fashion, Food, and Why I’d Go Back for More

Earlier last month, while traveling to the Philippines for a family wedding, my husband, Edric, and I made a weekend pit stop through Singapore on the way back to San Francisco. I didn’t have the most accurate picture of this Southeast Asian island nation, other than the unfortunate news accounts that stuck of the unusual corporal punishments one might receive by the government should you sully their pristine sidewalks with chewing gum.

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Our view of the Singapore skyline from Marina Bay. Photos by Edric Itchon.

While planning our trip from Manila, some Filipino relatives had even warned us about shiny Singapore being “soul-less” in comparison to gritty historic Manila. It would seem Singapore’s sterile cleanliness was the biggest impression left in the minds of foreign travelers I had encountered—a bias that lingered before having ever seen the place.

When we arrived, were happily surprised, entertained, and generally taken by our experience there. Yes, it’s true. Singapore is very, very clean. I can hardly remember coming across a single piece of litter or graffiti while strolling around the city—not necessarily a bad thing in my mind. Although the “no durian” signs plastered throughout the metro stations were definitely amusing!

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Charlotte Ronson Spring/Summer ’12 Trunk Show at Azalea Boutique

Top from Charlotte Ronson Spring 2012 collection: Ultra-feminine and all about the details. Photography by Edric Itchon.

While London-born designer Charlotte Ronson has climbed the fashion rank for several years, with major collaborations with Sephora and Uniqlo pushing the brand out into the mainstream as of late, Ronson still manages to maintain that authentic indie vibe that suits San Francisco’s never-too-done aesthetic.

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Fashion’s Night Out SF Link Love: Where to Party Tonight

Fashion’s having a party tonight—and everyone’s invited. The annual international event has arrived once again, with retailers around the globe hosting complimentary special events, extended shopping hours, cocktail soirees, and more—all in anticipation of the official kickoff to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Here’s a down-and-dirty round-up of Fashion’s Night Out local event listings for anyone looking for a late night of shopping, people-watching and party-hopping in the Bay Area.

SF Pop Sugar

SF Gate

SF Union Square

Neiman Marcus

Macy’s

Saks Fifth Avenue

Santana Row

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