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.”

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Inside the New Telegraph Hill Levi’s Boutique and … Could Dockers Be Having Its “Moment?”

Inside the new Levi Strauss & Co. "neighborhood store" in Telegraph Hill, inside the SF retailer's world headquarters. All photos by Edric Itchon.

Did you know that a chic, new Levi Strauss store opened at the sprawling Levi’s headquarters in Telegraph Hill? Apparently the word’s still getting out, and to help garner some buzz for the eight-month-old boutique-concept store, the folks at Levi’s threw a swanky soiree at the shop last night for friends and media.

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Hayes Valley shops keep charm amid rapid growth

As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle July 10, 2011

Illustration courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle

Nerissa Pacio Itchon, Special to The Chronicle

With the burst of activity happening in Hayes Valley lately, it’s hard to believe this bustling San Francisco neighborhood has nary a Starbucks in sight. From the groundbreaking of the $50 million SF Jazz Center and the opening of high-end spin-offs to several existing boutiques, to the new restaurant flurry and more to come, one might expect to find shoppers – Venti Mocha Frappuccinos in hand – walking their well-groomed labradoodles.

But ask anyone who knows this charmingly compact, decidedly big-chain-averse neighborhood and they’ll assure you that although the Valley is growing rapidly, its personality is definitively intact.
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Where to Shop Now: Sui Generis Womenswear Boutique in the Castro

As seen in this weekend’s San Francisco Chronicle: (Check out the newly expanded glossy version in print every Sunday!)

The men behind the Sui Generis stores, Gabriel Yanez (left) and Miguel Lopez, built a clientele in Guadalajara, Mexico, but yearned to make a splash in San Francisco's fashion scene. Photography by Russell Yip / The Chronicle

It may not seem the most obvious choice to open a high-end womenswear boutique smack dab in the heart of the Castro, but for Miguel Lopez and Gabriel Yanez, going against the grain has always made perfect sense.

Never mind that the ailing economy has shuttered doors of retailers throughout the country. Since their move to the Bay Area in 2000 from Guadalajara, Mexico – where they produced their own men’s and women’s clothing lines, owned two ready-to-wear boutiques and dressed a small cadre of Mexican celebrities – this enterprising couple have had an eye on making their mark on the San Francisco fashion scene.

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Design Watch: The Best of the SF Capsule Festival

Summery street style from SF's Capsule Design Festival on May 1, 2011. All photos by Edric Itchon.

It’s a rare moment when it’s sunny enough for San Franciscans to unearth  sundresses, straw hats, and even parasols from their all-season closets. But that’s what happened this weekend at the Capsule Design Festival in Hayes Valley. From crafters of one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry to masters of the letterpress, here are the photo-worthy scenes, on-trend fashions, and designers to watch from this festive, bi-annual event.

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The Chronicle’s New Style Section, Plus What’s Hot in Hayes Valley

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Style section is re-launching this spring with a new look as it merges with its shinier cousin SFIS, the pullout style monthly the Chronicle has published in limited circulation. The marriage will hopefully result in a better, glossier weekly that will have a more design-y feel, added  color, and high-profile features on fashion, people, parties, and design.

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My Favorite Outfit: Fashion Grad Caitlin Smith

Caitlin Smith. Photographed on the roof of her NY apartment share by roommate and stylist Rayna Basta.

Caitlin Smith is one of those people who effortlessly oozes style. I knew this when she showed up at my office for an editorial internship at 7×7 a couple years ago, and mere moments after meeting her I knew that she had the gut fashion instinct needed for the job.

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Rachel Zoe and Lauren Conrad: My Brush with the Queens of Reality TV

Rachel Zoe. Photography courtesy of QVC.

Are there any kindred spirits out there who obsess over  Bravo’s reality TV series “The Rachael Zoe Project?” While half the time I’m glued to the tube shaking my head thinking “I cannot believe she said/did/wore that,” I also can’t help but drool over the countless racks of designer clothes and shoes that show up in every episode, and the endless parade of celebrities. It’s eye candy— at its finest.

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Get Katy Perry’s Pinup Glam Look

Photo by Frank Micelotta/FOX

You’d be hard-pressed to open up a magazine, turn on the radio, or switch on the TV, for that matter, without seeing or hearing about pop princess Katy Perry. The media darling is everywhere, including the San Francisco Chronicle, where I wrote a story about Perry’s vintage-inspired style and put together a more affordable look using her Moschino Cheap & Chic cherry-print dress as inspiration. Check out the Style story here on sfgate.com, and be sure to look out for more of my celeb fashion reports for the Chronicle on Lauren Conrad and Rachel Zoe this coming Sunday!

Noteworthy Newcomers to Hayes Valley

Me with Cindy Spade, the always-helpful co-owner and buyer for Ver Unica in Hayes Valley.

As much as I love shopping online, there’s no better substitute in my mind than exploring a neighborhood on foot—especially when that neighborhood is Hayes Valley. Popping in and out of some of my favorite boutiques there (Azalea, M.A.C.-Modern Appealing Clothing, and Flight 001, to name a few) never fails to remind me of why San Francisco is such a cool place to live.

Ver Unica is another local favorite I’d put at the top of my must-frequent list, namely because co-owner and veteran buyer Cindy Spade has a killer eye and stocks an impeccably edited collection of vintage clothing and accessories from the 1920s through 1980s, including one-of-a-kind dead stock. Although I’m usually game for rolling up my sleeves and digging for that hidden gem, sometimes I need the immediate gratification of easy-to-find, mint-condition goods.

Try not to panic if in the next couple months you find Ver Unica has vanished from its 437 Hayes Street digs. Just head over to the 500 block, where Spade says she and her husband will be opening a bigger and better shop by summer. They’ll celebrate with a grand re-opening party, which I’ll post here as soon as I get wind of it.

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