Taste, Luxury, Humor: Barneys New York Opens in San Francisco

It’s hardly possible for the opening party of Barneys in San Francisco to have been more glamorous. The excitement of seeing the store for the first time. The glamour of all the guests. The fun disco-themed after party. It was a spectacular start to whole new chapter in the life of fashionable people here.

The moment I stepped into the store I had a lovely surprise — I met Simon Doonan, the great arbiter of style and culture (in a groovy Thom Browne suit), who has truly made Barneys what it is today. It’s largely through his wizardry as creative director that the stores have become internationally famous as destinations for just pure, total, glamour. One can spend an entire afternoon at Barneys with all those beautiful things, and not feel as if one is actually “shopping.” He calls the experience a “glamorous distraction.”

Simon Doonan. “Barney’s is unique because our motto is ‘Taste. Luxury. Humor.’So we have this full-on commitment to designer fashion, to glamour… But we add to that, humor. Humor in our windows. Humor in our advertisements.”

There are so many cool little details and surprises throughout, I won’t even begin to describe the interior (no need to ruin the fun for you!) I will say, though, that I adore the fact there are no ugly clunky escalators in the store!

Isabel Toledo and husband Ruben Toledo

As I made my way through the store, bumping into all sorts of fabulous people like Danielle Steel (in Christian Lacroix), Marissa Mayer of Google (she looked fabulous so I don’t know why she was camera shy!), Minnie Driver, and enough Trainas to form a baseball team, my biggest surprise was when after admiring the new Anne Klein collection I turned around and saw the designer of the line herself — the great Isabel Toledo!

I had no idea that she was going to be there. An absolutely delightful woman. She introduced me to Barneys’ fashion director, Julie Gilhart, who has brought this season’s Anne Klein collection to San Francisco as a Barneys exclusive. It’s definitely worth a visit to the store just for that alone. Isabel Toledo stands among Claire McCardell, Edith Head and Donna Karan as one of the country’s most inventive female fashion designers ever.


Danielle Steel

But enough of my rattling on and on — I know you just want to see more of Drew Altizer’s photos from the evening. You’ll notice there are several photos of the the Trainas — that’s because the opening was also a very special evening for the family. The event raised funds for the Nick Traina Foundation, which supports organizations that deal with mental illness. It was founded in 1998 by Danielle Steel as a legacy to her son, Nick, who lost his life to manic-depression.

Vanessa Getty and Stephan Jenkins
Vanessa Traina and Samantha Traina
Zara Traina
Maxx Traina and John Traina
Katie Traina, Todd Traina, and Dede Wilsey
Trevor Traina and Alexis Traina
OJ Shansby
Tyler Dawson and Chloe Warner
Minnie Driver
Joy Bianchi
Denise Hale
Yurie Pascarella and Mary Jo Kovacevich
Andre de Baubigny and Juliet Flint de Baubigny
Afsaneh Akhtari and Joel Goodrich
Irene Neuwirth and Katie Schwab
Patrick Barber, Melissa Barber and Gavin Newsom
Jennifer Siebel and Dana Tannenbaum
Robyn Paret and Alexander Paret
Marcy Carmack in Stella McCartney
Vanessa Getty and Danielle Steel
Karen Caldwell (with the most glamorous ’40s hair style) and Michael Dianda
Zem Joaquin
Jan Schlottman, Tracy Lee and Derek Lam
Katrina Garnett, gorgeous in Lanvin
  • Shopping: Barneys [77 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco]
  • Photos: Drew Altizer [drewaltizer.com]
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