May 22, 2015

In Pane Sight: Piedmont Boutique

Halloween-worthy sparkles and spangles, wigs and bright hues reign in the window at Piedmont Boutique on Haight Street in San Francisco, CA.

In the window at Piedmont Boutique:  Halloween is just around the corner, and, like every year, the pressure is on to bust out your best, most-ass-kickingest costume ever. So, will you bedazzle yourself silly in sequins, channel your alter ego with a colored wig, get seductive in some sexy stockings or throw on some hot pants and be a disco diva? For any of these, look no further than Piedmont Boutique.

No matter how tame, tacky or straight terrifying your taste may be, you are bound to find something to fulfill your Halloween hopes at this Haight shop. Just look for the giant legs in red heels hanging over Haight. You can’t miss it. But if for some reason you do, Piedmont resides at 1452 Haight Street (cross street: Ashbury).

A twisted take on Miss America, perhaps?

Or a wilder version of Wonder Woman?

Another option: think pink.

The famous Piedmont gams

Photography courtesy of Rachel Kemp 

More San Francisco shopping

Mind Behind the Design: Metal Smith’s Isabella Behravan

We’ve always been told that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. San Francisco-based designer Isabella Behravan is challenging this long-held belief with her innovative use of metals in her new jewelry line, Metal Smith. Give her a little time, and she may even disprove that whole diamond theory altogether.

After peeping her pieces during a recent visit to Ver Unica boutique in Hayes Valley, we were immediately intrigued and had to know more about this new local designer and her marvelous metals. Behravan is a born and bred San Franciscan raised in the heart of Russian Hill, and, like any seasoned city gal, she knows these city streets like the back of her hand.

After high school Behravan escaped to Upstate New York for a change of climate and scenery where she attended Bard College. But four years later, she soon found the City by the Bay calling her name.

Manager at Ver Unica for three years and counting, Behravan is in the midst of launching Metal Smith’s debut collection. It may be her first line, but she’s been at the jewelry designing game for quite some time. Behravan initially began creating pieces for herself after not finding jewelry she wanted to wear. Determined to sport pieces she was proud to call her own, Behravan immediately went to work.
Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, the elements, architecture and her love for the craftsmanship and impeccable detail in vintage clothing, Behravan carefully handcrafts each and every Metal Smith design. Her first collection boasts an array of earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets with clean lines, subtle colors and bold shapes.
We sat down with Behravan to get the skinny on Metal Smith, dish about life in San Francisco and, of course, talk fashion.

What inspired you to start your own jewelry line?

I began making pieces that I wanted to wear because I wasn’t finding jewelry that felt natural and right for me out in the world. So I created pieces that I would want to wear everyday, not to go with an outfit but to make me feel a certain way. I quickly realized I wanted to share the jewelry I was creating.

What types of designs are you drawn to when creating your pieces?

I look to architecture, vintage pieces from my personal collection, and nature for inspiration. Shadows and empty space often play a big role in my design process.

What materials are your favorite to work with?

I love working with all types of metal. I love to see it do unexpected things and transform into something new. I’ve never worked with anything quite like it before; it’s amazing to create jewelry from something so strong with your hands.

When you’re not designing jewelry, what else do you do?

I hangout with my dog, Dirt. I also love going to thrift stores and antique shops to seek out hidden treasures.

What are your favorite shops or destinations in SF? Where are your go-to places to find independent, local apparel and jewelry designers?

My perfect day in San Francisco would start at Sight Glass Coffee, because it is such a beautiful place, where – if I could have a work bench in their loft – I could honestly work for hours upon hours a day. Then I’d take the N Judah to General Store, which has a beautifully curated collection of things. I’d finish the day with a walk with Dirt down to Union Made to check out their beautiful textiles. It is rare to see a shop with such perfectly selected pieces, particularly in men’s.

What is the one accessory you cannot live without?

My sunglasses. They’re circular frame 1960’s Christian Dior. I think that whoever owned them before me changed one of the lenses because they’re two different colors. One lens is a little more rosy and the other is a little more yellowy. When I wear them, anything that’s red looks totally psychedelic!

What is next for Metal Smith?! And I am very excited about stones right now. I have some pieces in mind that will involve new colored and textured stones that will complement the metal work I’ve been designing.

To check out Metal Smith’s first collection stop by Ver Unica boutique for the Metal Smith Trunk Show this Friday, October 14th from 6-9pm.

Photography courtesy of Metal Smith

More San Francisco jewelry designers….

Runway Recap: The Collection

Inside the tony surroundings of the British Motor Car venue, The Collection drew a dedicated crew of attendees last Saturday night to view the latest from San Francisco designers Daniel Sudar, Hector Manuel of Acta Non Verba and Joseph Domingo.

Produced by the San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Network, three runway shows ranged from the tailored suits of Daniel Sudar to Acta Non Verba’s contemporary women’s apparel and brightly-hued swimwear, cocktail dresses, handbags and formal gowns from Joseph Domingo.

Below, a few choice shots from the trio of San Francisco fashion shows:

A three-piece, leather-accented suit by Daniel Sudar

Classic playboy style is on the move in this look by Daniel Sudar

Designer Daniel Sudar (bottom, left) and models

A dramatic silhouette in basic black and crisp white from Acta Non Verba

A sheer skirt brings interest to a flowing gown by Acta Non Verba

Designer Hector Manuel with model

Swimwear for men and women kicked off Joseph Domingo's show.

Vibrant hues, soft textures and geometric patterns defined the collection from Joseph Domingo.

Bright blue lines add definition to a strapless mini.

Designers (left to right) Joseph Domingo, Hector Manuel and Daniel Sudar.

Photography courtesy Warren Difranco for After 5 Media

3 Reasons You Seriously Can’t Miss The Collection

The chance to take in three runway shows in the opulent surroundings of the San Francisco British Motor Car venue in one day is enough to entice many to head to The Collection on Saturday, but there are other enticing reasons to go. And one of them involves James Franco.

The Koko suit by Daniel Sudar

San Francisco apparel and accessories designer Daniel Sudar has been getting a solid amount of buzz lately, thanks in large part to his recent work with a number of A-list celebs (many of whom we’re told can’t be named just yet). One that can: James Franco, whom Sudar designed suits for during the making of Cherry, the forthcoming film from San Francisco author Stephen Elliott. You’ll have to wait to see Sudar’s threads on the silver screen, but you can catch his brand new Revolver collection on the runway in person this weekend.

Acta Non Verba‘s Hector Manuel has shown his form-fitting, feminine gowns and dresses during several fashion shows in recent years, notably January’s Snow II. But on Saturday, audiences will be treated to something special from the emerging Bay Area label, as Manuel is using the show to debut Acta Non Verba’s first full line.

Breaking from the white color palette seen in the Snow I and II shows, also produced by the San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Network, longtime Bay Area fashion designer Joseph Domingo will be showing a collection full of color this weekend. What’s more, those in the audience at The Collection will be the first to catch a glimpse of his brand new shoe and bag lines.

The Collection takes place Sat., Aug. 27. Shows are at 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm. Tickets, $25 and up.

Photography courtesy Warren DiFranco, Christophe Tomatis and Joseph Domingo

SF Indie Fashion is a media sponsor for The Collection

Print Wars: Local Label’s Design Stolen by Fast-Fashion Giant?

Independent, eco-friendly label Feral Childe, the progeny of Oakland’s Alice Wu and Brooklyn’s Moriah Carlson, has been making headlines of late, thanks to a Forever21 print that looks suspiciously similar to one of its original works, and this week, launched a campaign against the fashion chain on the label’s behalf.

At issue is Feral Childe’s Teepee print and its resemblance to one launched this year by Forever21.

Feral Childe's Teepee print

Forever21 print

Launched by Brooklyn designer Eliza Starbuck, the campaign is hoping its online petition and related outreach efforts will convince Forever21 to remove apparel bearing the print from its stores and compensate the designers.

It’s not the first time Forever21 has been accused of getting a little too “inspired” by a designer’s work. You’ll find a hefty amount of background in this Business Week story from earlier this year.

Other recent online campaigns launched via and aimed at the fashion industry have successfully helped to pressure labels such as Versace against sandblasting denim, a process that’s been described as harmful to garment workers.

For their part, Carlson and Wu have reportedly filed suit against Forever21 over the matter.

More San Francisco fashion news

Photography courtesy