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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New Bay Area Swimsuit Lines Make a Splash

As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle July 24, 2011

Saga Swimwear's bright Boston one-piece ($155) makes for a stark contrast in design. Photo by Haggai Cohen Milo

Nerissa Pacio Itchon, Special to The Chronicle

In San Francisco, beach attire usually calls for wetsuits, not swimsuits. Women are more likely to build a scarf collection than a bikini wardrobe.

That’s just fine with Michelle Byrnes, designer and founder of Saga Swimwear, and Lynn Werner, CEO and founder of Lynnina, two Bay Area entrepreneurs who recently launched their own swimwear lines with the jet-setting urbanite in mind.

For 29-year-old Byrnes, a San Francisco City College fashion design graduate, running her boutique brand of sexy one- and two-piece suits out of her Noe Valley home was a no-brainer.

Byrnes, who was born in Hawaii but grew up in the Mission District, has had a longtime obsession with swimsuits. Limited to finding swimwear only in the summertime in a smattering of boutiques and department stores, Byrnes wanted to provide “city girls” with a local outlet to find modern, well-made swimsuits year round.

Nearly as passionate about collecting shoes and coats, Byrnes finally decided to plunge into swimsuits in 2008 when she partnered up with former roommate Alex McCauley, 25, to launch Saga because of their shared fascination with swimwear and the playful connotations bathing suits brought to mind.

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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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Melissa and Catie Grimm grow boutique from the ground up

In addition to running Carrots in San Francisco, sisters Melissa (left) and Catie Grimm write the blog Carrot Talk, where they mix their passions for fashion and food. Photography by Russell Yip / The Chronicle

As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nerissa Pacio Itchon, Special to The Chronicle

One look at the Grimm sisters’ blog Carrot Talk, and it’s obvious that their love of food and fashion go hand in hand.

As scions of the Central Valley Grimmway baby carrots empire and co-owners of Jackson Square’s aptly named Carrots boutique, Melissa and Catie Grimm pepper posts about their latest designer discoveries with ebullient food musings – from restaurant raves to gourmet recipes they’ve tried at home.

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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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French Designer Shourouk Takes Statement Jewelry to Another Level

Last night I had a really fun chat with French accessory designer Shourouk Rhaiem, who’s in town to fete the launch of her spring/summer 2011 collection tonight.

The event is happening at La Boutique, one of my truly favorite SF-meets-Europe boutiques, where owner Carole Harari has transformed the shop to look like a little piece of Rhaiem’s atelier in the chic Marais district of Paris.

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The Quest for the Perfect Black Summer Trousers

People are always shocked when I tell them we have a color-based dress code at Sephora. The rules dictate that we dress “in concept,” even at the corporate offices, which in Sephora-speak means we are to wear black, gray, red, and/or white Mondays through Thursdays in the office. The limitation is actually a real test of my fashion creativity. It forces me to play with textures and details. It also means I have about a half-dozen pairs of black slacks of varying lengths and fabrications in rotation in my closet.

Daughters of the Liberation Coxswain Crop Pants, $88, at Anthropologie. Photo courtesy of Anthropologie.com.

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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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Weekend Shopping Alert: James Perse Sample Sale

I was walking to BART after work today when this sign stopped me in my tracks. I had missed last year’s cameo appearance by the James Perse sample sale in SoMa  (near Montgomery and Howard) when I happily stumbled upon this new location. Turns out the sale had just popped up in another spot in the Financial District.

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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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