It’s not uncommon for San Franciscans to hear from foreign visitors that SF feels like “one of the most European cities in the United States.” Carol Harari, owner of La Boutique, l’Art et la Mode, is keeping that chic image alive with the opening of her new store and gallery in the city’s Jackson Square.
“I really wanted to make this a destination for European art and fashion,” says the Swiss-born Harari. “I want it to be a place people want to spend time—more than just another store.”
Though she worked as a former marketing and merchandising manager for H&M, in charge of opening the Swedish mega-chain’s Paris stores, you’ll be hard-pressed to find traces of fast fashion here.
Instead the lofty, two-story industrial space houses such hard-to-find labels as Baum und Pferdgarten of Denmark, Firma of Germany, and Collection 66 of Switzerland.
If you’re a Francophile like I am, you’ll head straight for the racks of rock ’n roll-inspired separates by Zadig & Voltaire, Swildens slouchy boyfriend jackets, and Jerome Dreyfuss’ buttery soft lambskin handbags. Although the boutique has a distinctly Parisian vibe, Harari assures me that customers will never have to worry about any of the staff putting on airs.
“I want people to be able to come in to relax, enjoy the art, have some tea,” Harari says. “We won’t come ‘bother’ you unless you really need us!”