May 22, 2015

Reliquary Opens in Hayes Valley

A reliquary is defined as a shrine for sacred relics. It is also one of San Francisco’s latest thoughtfully created retail experiences. Opening today in Hayes Valley, Reliquary is best described as a destination filled with curious ‘objects of desire’ that range from small production denim to turquoise jewelry and WWII-era lighters.

“You never know what to expect,”  says owner Leah Bershad of her new – and first – store.

Bershad, a five-year veteran Gap employee and Parsons graduate, quit her corporate job in May 2010 and headed to Europe to start picking uniquely special artistic items that would collectively shape the look and feel of Reliquary. She traveled throughout Paris, London and parts of Austria.

Peruse Reliquary’s blog, and you’ll discover inspiration from folk art, antiques and design in Bershad’s “unexpectedly diverse” and “tightly-edited” curiosity shop.

And while it will stock a great many unexpected objects, Bershad is clear on what the store will not be: It’s not consignment, nor will it have anything retro, she says.

Apparel includes French knitwear by Majestics, French basics by American Vintage, denim from North Carolina’s Raleigh and New York’s Court labels,and additional apparel lines Hazel Brown and Beautiful People. Accessories include scarves by Epice, leather goods by Clare Vivier, handbags from London by Jas MB and pouches by Sophie Nova, as well as jewelry from Annie Costello Brown and Studio Deseo. For the home, find solid handmade perfumes by Black Amber Balm and Cote Bastide potpourri and bath salts from France.

Other intriguing selections include a global selection of textiles hailing from America, Mexico, Japan, Peru and India, vintage French workwear, Navajo rugs, embroidered dresses from Afghanistan, Victorian-era gold jewelry, a collection of World War II Zippo lighters and more.

Check out the Reliquary grand opening event this evening at 5 p.m., 537 Octavia Street, SF.

Take a sneak peek inside Reliquary with these photos:

Navajo rugs and hand made racks

Antique beads from Nagaland

Reliquary hoard of turquoise

The Reliquary girl

Vintage tool bags

Photos courtesy Leah Bershad and Reliquary

A Trio of Reasons to Shop Fillmore Street

As a compact city, some of the best shopping San Francisco has to offer is in neighborhood shopping districts. The Fillmore Street drag in Pacific Heights is one such area always worth keeping an eye on, and lately we’ve noticed several stylish developments popping up there.

  • First up, there’s a new yoga-inspired women’s spring collection in store at Clary Sage Organics on Fillmore at Sacramento. Get a fresh look for yoga class and after with this eco-friendly line of organic apparel.

Clary Sage Organics

  • Next, a menswear labels entices us with the promise of apparel for the other half. After making its stamp with wallets, fine accessories, and menswear, Hlaska (on Fillmore and Pine) is anticipating its first womenswear collection soon.  Keep your eyes out and take advantage of the discounts being offered to make space for the women’s collection in its stores.

Hlaska started with wallets, like this Evergreen model. The company now eagerly anticipates its first womenswear collection.

  • And last but not least, Athleta, a Petaluma-based company of women’s athletic wear that started out small and is now owned by Gap, opened its first flagship store in January on Fillmore Street. You’ll spot their eye-catching exposed brick space under the Junior League outpost between California and Sacramento Streets. It’s always nice to see a brand that started in the Bay Area choose the heart of the San Francisco for its latest venture.

Athleta at 2226 Fillmore, opened in January

Photography courtesy of (top to bottom) Clary Sage, Hlaska and Athleta

A Golden Partnership Coming to Hayes Valley

For some, crafting an identity as a designer into a business may be a straight road, where for others, it can be evolutionary. Such could be said of local designer Ali Golden, who recently teamed up with local designer Sarah Tejada to open a soon-to-open creative retail space at 534 Octavia Street in Hayes Valley.

SF Indie Fashion first spied Ali Golden and her wrap vest hoodies in 2009. Since then she has put together her first full collection of all self-sewn apparel, which she describes as lighthearted with a little bit of humor and made for a girl who is imaginative and creative in the way she looks. A limited selection of her latest work can be found now at Shotwell. Expect to see her etsy store up soon.

As for their forthcoming Hayes Valley outpost, Golden and Tejada are planning a multipurpose space that will appeal to fans of shopping local.

“The space is super unique: a converted garage on the corner of Ivy and Octavia,” explains Golden. “We’ll be designing and sewing there, teaching classes, holding sweet events and selling our designs when weather permits and the garage is open, or by appointment.”

Golden takes pride in doing her production all on her own and seems intent on creating an experience where that feeling can continue. It’s no surprise, then, that she’d pair up with Tejada, a self-taught seamstress who primarily focuses on leather purses and jewelry making.

“What I’m not interested in is adhering to the fashion industry’s time line or specific way of doing things,” Golden says. “The important thing is, I want what I’m doing to be about artisanship.”

As for the space’s name, it’s yet to be decided, and both designers are still bandying about ideas for all that the shop will include. They may, for example, begin offering custom wedding dresses.

Until the door — or garage in this case — opens, look to Golden’s web site for updates or to make an appointment to view her latest.

For a taste of Sarah Tejada, check out her blog.  Below, shots from the first Ali Golden collection:

Photography courtesy Ali Golden

Snap Judgment: Gold & Citrus Ray Earrings

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: Add just the right touch of drama with Gold & Citrus’s Ray earrings ($75), one of the latest items to hit the local jewelry line’s online shop. Handmade in San Francisco, these four-inch earrings are crafted from gold-plated circle studs glammed-up with stainless steel and crystal chains.

More snap judgments

Runway Recap: Fashion Feud II, Round Two

Fashion Feud contestants (pictured top) Krisztina Lazar (L) and Chrystine Druge (R)

Local designers Krisztina Lazar and Chrystine Druge battled head to head last week at Rickshaw Stop for the second round of San Francisco’s Project Runway-flavored Fashion Feud, presented in collaboration with the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance and With one hour and fabric provided by New York City’s Mood, Lazar and Druge each turned out one garment for judges Adelle McElveen from The Fashionista Lab and Laura Robblee from Alley Collection SF.

For this round’s competition, Lazar told the crowd she was planning to design something, “artsy, film noir, dramatic and drapey,” before creating a dramatic halter-top dress with a ruffled cascading skirt and plunging back.

Druge, who told the audience her plan was to “go with it,” did clean and contemporary separates with a polka dot halter and black pencil mini, detailed with a bow trim in the back.

Both judges were a fan of Lazar’s halter dress with plunging back.

“A party in the back is always a good thing,” Robblee noted.

Robblee also remarked on the nice fit of Druge’s pencil skirt and the detailing with the bow in the back. Robblee praised Lazar for taking a risk with the ruffle trim on her dress, and said it worked well. McElveen paid respect to Druge for doing separates, and praised Lazar for the lightness of the ruffle trim on her dress.

The ultimate winner in the end was Kristina Lazar and her halter top dress. She’ll go on to compete in the final round on April12. Check out SF Indie Fashion’s previous coverage of  Fashion Feud Round One.

Photos from Fashion Feud’s Round Two:

Final designs by Chrystine Druge (L) and Krisztina Lazar (R)

Fashion Feud, Round Two winner Krisztina Lazar

Photography courtesy of Christophe Tomatis