Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gems of the City - Architecture at its Best

A sampling of San Francisco's Gems of the City, a list of the top 25 buildings in the City By the Bay, compiled by the American Institute of Architects' San Francisco Chapter, reported by

Here is the list:


Grace Cathedral, 1051 Taylor St., 1928, Lewis Hobart

St. Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Gough St., 1971, Pietro Belluschi, Pier Luigi Nervi and McSweeney, Ryan & Lee

Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., 1926, Arthur Page Brown

Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon St., 1894, Arthur Page Brown

First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin St., 1888, George Percy/1970, Callister Payne & Rosse


Plaza Apartments, Sixth and Howard streets, 2006, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects and Paulett Taggart Architects

Curran House, 145 Taylor St., 2005, David Baker + Partners, Architects

3200 block of Pacific Avenue, houses from 1900 to 1913 designed by architects including Ernest Coxhead, Bernard Maybeck, Willis Polk and William Knowles

Russell House, 3778 Washington St., 1952, Erich Mendelsohn

Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St., 1886, Peter R. Schmidt


San Francisco Federal Building, 90 Seventh St., 2007, Morphosis/SmithGroup

1 Bush St. (former Crown-Zellerbach Building), 1959, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Hertzka & Knowles

Hallidie Building, 130 Sutter St., 1917, Willis Polk

Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery St., 1972, William Pereira

JPMorgan Chase Building, 560 Mission St., 2002, Cesar Pelli


Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., 1909, Trowbridge and Livingston

Circle Gallery, 140 Maiden Lane, 1948, Frank Lloyd Wright

Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., 1915, Bernard Maybeck

War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building, Civic Center, 1932, Arthur Brown Jr. and G. Albert Lansburgh

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 1878 (restoration architects, 2003: Architectural Resources Group)


M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, 2005, Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects

City Hall, Civic Center, 1915, Bakewell & Brown

Yerba Buena Gardens: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 1994, Fumihiko Maki; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 1994, James Stewart Polshek; Metreon, 1999, SMWM, Gary Handel + Associates

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., 1995, Mario Botta, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum

Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 1916, George Applegarth

Source: American Institute of Architects

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Knitting Lifestyle

I owe my greatest activities to my friends' ideas and inspirations. Just do it, like Nike says....

C mentioned a month ago that she's going to learn how to knit. She posted a few pics of design by Proenza Schouler (jazz-age-inspired coat) and Diane von Furstenberg (oversized cardigan), and wanted to bring in the pictures to her knitting circle.

I was definately inspired and checked out the scene here. To my delight, San Fran is a knitting town....

Fabulous yarn stores are easily within reach, offering hand-dyed wool, merinos, silks, mohair, cotton, and high-end thready blends that shimmer and shine on their spools, cones, and balls. Chairs are set up inside the store near windows, inviting you to start your project then and there, surrounded by other knitting enthusiasts.

If you are a knitter, you have to go to:

Artfibers (designer yarns in magnificent colours), SF Financial District, Sutter Street, for the company, and the really cheap knitting classes!

The Craft Gym, Bush between Polk and Van Ness, for their Start-to-Finish Knitting Basics series, perfect for those starting out. I was lucky, when I signed up, no one else was able to attend, and I got private lessons from Leah, originally from Maine, where parents have a designer yarn store....

The Urban Knitting Studio on Fell in Hayes Valley, for their cables and twists classes...

Jon's Knit Blog, for some fashionable projects by a hip city blogger. Check out his miles and miles of stockinette stiches entry, he is so cute....

...and so many more stores than I can count. In North Beach on my walk home, through Grant Avenue, there is an unnamed store that I encourage you all to try to find. It's a giant knitted products storefront, where I left with a turtleneck poncho and a parisian knit wrapped sweater with small flowers along the v-neck....

Delicious Offerings from Artfibers Yarn Catalog, with names like Haiku, Golden Siam, Kyoto, and Alfabeto....

A Fisherman's Cable, from DCist, my current practice basic cabling technique and to combat the cold fog here on the Bay....

A basic poncho with pompons: pattern by the Craft Yarn Council.

Inspiring Projects:

And for more advanced knitting...

Katy, a blogger in Argentina, provides a wonderful pattern for her Saxon Braid poncho, below:

Friday, April 13, 2007

So Many Hats...

so little time. Millinery Boot Camp winding down.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Tuareg Jewelry at Sujaro...

Head of an Oba (Chief)

Origin: Benin, Nigeria Composition: lost wax caste bronze

This bronze head is thought to represent an early Oba or Chief. The Oba has reigned in Benin, Nigeria with his ancestors, since the 15th century. Since that time, bronze heads in the image of the Oba and other royal court officials have been caste using the lost-wax method and given as a tribute to the Oba and royal family. They were kept as possessions to demonstrate the prestige and power of the royal family. Historically, the head would be placed on a royal altar, and displayed as signs of the wealth of the Chief. The hole in the back of the head was originally intended to house an ivory tusk, which would protrude from the head and also be an object of prestige. The holes in the face are thought to be made to function to hold a veil of beads.

...or, how your friends show you more of the world. Last year, I met a new friend, K from Chicago, who attended a training seminar with me here in San Fran, for certification of a predominant software in our industry.

During the week here, she discovered a fantastic African gallery near our offices in the financial district. Sujaro.... purveyor of African Textiles and artwork. We spent nearly two hours downstairs in the cellar gallery, filled with totemic idols and feathered gods, wood and bead and stone and bronze and copper and paint, (C, much like our Southern Philippines, the statuary and beadwork and textiles from the different tribes and villages were so beautiful.) She told me that she and her brother went on a visit to Africa some time ago and brought back some wonderful artwork and statuary from their travels, a few pieces carried by hand rather than checked into the luggage cargo.

K pondered the jewelry case last and we learned about the Tuareg Tribe of Niger, West Africa. She left with 2 beautiful pieces of silver and onyx.

From the gallery website:

Traditionally the Tuaregs, including the Koumamas, were nomads living in the Sahara desert. Some of the family have now settled in Agadez in northern Niger. Agadez is an ancient town at the crossroads of the camel caravan trade routes.

Every piece of Koumama jewelry is handmade, and most pieces are variations on the traditional designs. Some jewelry is made by the ancient lost wax method. First a piece of jewelry is carved in wax. The figure is then encased in clay and fired. Next liquid silver is poured into the mold. After cooling the clay is broken off and the silver piece is cleaned, filed and engraved. Finally, carbon is rubbed into the silver to highlight the engraving and the jewelry gets its final polishing. Other jewelry is made by first pouring molten silver into a small trough to form a bar. The bar is then repeatedly heated, pounded and shaped.

Lilly Daché

I'm in the midst of a self-imposed millinery boot camp that is running for another week, so posting will be light until then.

In the meantime, enjoy some images from Lilly Daché: Glamour at the Drop of a Hat, a small exhibit currently at The Museum at FIT. Lilly Daché's popularity during the millinery heydey of the thirties and forties was extensive--so much so that during a strike in the forties picketing workers displayed signs that read, "Please do not patronize Lilly Daché, America's foremost milliner." The show is a chance to learn about her life and a rare opportunity to see her work, which is testament to her imagination, talent, and skill.

"But the right hat on the right head is poetry."

Pillbox hat with silk, velvet, and cotton flowers in shades of pink, c. 1948.

Fashion illustration, c. 1950

Wide-brimmed hat in black straw covered in heavy off-white cotton lace with silk bows, c. 1965

All images from the brochure that accompanies the exhibition, organized by the graduate students in the Fashion Institute of Technology's MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

San Francisco's Best Kept Secret


On Grant Avenue in North Beach. Unpretentious old-school tailor shop. Mod-Fab coats in embroidered wools. $300 and above, depending on style and materials.

The best...

Al's Attire.
1314 Grant ave.
North Beach San Francisco 94133 415-693-9900

Attention to Details:

Hand-Embroidered Label with your name on it:

My favorites:


Louis Vuitton Trunks for some great times abroad.

A fabulous sketch or print, above, Gunnar Norrman, Kust, Drypoint, 1983, at the Fitch-Febvrel Gallery.

Burberry's Icon Collection, a magnificent fur-trimmed leather trench.

Cinnabar bangles in Chinatown.

Pito Tubes for Traveling...all TSA compliant....and they don't spill a drop....

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Deanna Gibbons, Milliner

My favorite milliner is the talented and whimsical Ms. DeAnna Gibbons, a San Francisco local who has worked in wholesale, retail, and bridal millinery since 1990. Her own business specializes in custom headwear for both men and women. In addition, she has worked as a milliner for the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and American Musical Theater of San Jose. BA, San Francisco State University; studied, SACI, Florence, Italy.

Her theatrical confections span the gamut of style history: from Film Noir (below), to fantastic whimsy (pale blue sailboat hat, paired with Vivienne Westwood at the De Young), to darling sunhats for days on the water in the summer, and ending with daring cocktail hats for an evening in Paris, or at the Academy Awards (paired with the uber-talented Erin Mahoney, dress designer, San Francisco.)

The cocktail fedoras with Erin Mahoney's gorgeous and sleek evening wear literally took my breath away. There was the combination of relaxed elegance, and a sassy nod to hiphop glamour, with hand-moulded drapings accented in feathers and leather.

Best of the Bay, 2006's What We Love....:
From 1930s-style cloche hats to chic holiday creations, DeAnna Gibbons teaches the basics of fit and form in her popular millinery classes. Her studio, Brimming Over, has kept San Franciscan heads fashionably covered for 16 years, and Gibbons has outfitted both the San Francisco Ballet and Opera. But don’t let her credentials intimidate you. The three-session workshop will guide you through the fundamentals of hat making, and you’ll emerge with a chapeau of your own design.

Photoshoot at Alfred Hitchcock's sprawling 200 acre estate in the Santa Cruz mountains. Pics by Dina Scoppettone. Black asymmetrical brim hat with brown leather by Deanna Gibbons for Brimming Over ( Corpse's black fedora with pink feathers by DeAnna Gibbons for Brimming Over (

Highlights from SF Fashion Week 2006 and Preview of the 2007 Collection, Dresses by Erin Mahoney, hats by DeAnna Gibbons for Brimming Over.