Fillmore’s Smokin’ New Shop

The party crowd at Elizabeth Charles’ boutique opening last week was so hot, the place caught fire.

Oh don’t worry, folks, it was just a little fire. Barely a flame. Only a few of the party goers noticed, and not a single Manolo was singed.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a true blaze, because you might have lost an opportunity to buy from the shop’s fine selection of dresses and tops.

Ms. Charles and her husband Tony have created the boutique — their second in the United States — to be a platform for both established and up-and-coming designers.

Browsing the racks you can tell that each piece was chosen for its unique sort of chicness.

Every item feels special, and indeed many of the pieces are available no where else in the country. The shop features designers like Australia’s Martin Grant and Megan Park, and New Zealand’s Mala Brakjovik and Karen Walker, among some more recognizable labels.

The other Elizabeth Charles store, in New York’s West Village, counts Gemma Ward, Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Swank, Jennifer Lopez, Rebecca Weinberg, Rashida Jones and Helena Christensen as customers, among others.

At the opening on May 29, many of San Francisco’s most stylish dropped by to get a peak at the offerings, and of course to shop shop shop. A percentage of sale proceeds went to Raphael House.

Among the shoppers were Kimberly Bakker (whom I noticed looking totes fab in one of the dresses she tried on), Joy Venturini Bianchi, wearing Bill Blass, Amber Marie Bently (with husband Christopher… and yes, they’re still cute), Sophie Azouzaou, Afsaneh Akhatari, Daru Kawalkowski, Rosalina Lydster, Kimberly Wilsey, and Lori Puccinelli.

Rosalina, by the way, was wearing one of the rings she designs. An absolutely stunning piece, which caught my eye from across the room! Her jewelry is sold at Neiman Marcus, and can be viewed online at Jewelrybyrosalina.com.

Was it the combined hotness of these three ladies that set the place afire? Claudia Ross and the two Kimberlys (Wilsey and Bakker) can heat up any room.

Or was it one of these suspects…

A. Jong and Tony Charles; Joy Venturini Bianchi and Kimberly Bakker.

Rosalina Lydster; Damion Matthews and Po Kim.

Christopher Bently and Amber Marie Bently; Elizabeth Charles.

Afsaneh Akhatari and friend; more happy shoppers.

And one cute baby.

* (The Answer: None of the above. A stack of tissues got too close to a candle, and the flames were quickly extinguished)