860 California St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410837.792286 -122.408620
Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Northeast
This boutique was worth the wait... – I must have walked by this boutique nearly a half dozen times and stopped in awe each time. Walking down the street past Grace Cathedral, then the Fairmont Hotel, I stopped in my tracks as I was drawn to the most beautifully decorated window I had ever laid eyes upon. And of course, every time I stopped, it was closed. That didn't deter me from pressing my nose on the glass as if trying to squeeze myself into the shop, to gaze upon the petite silk purses with brilliant cabbage roses, the bright orange and pink hats and too many more jewels to mention. I found the phone number for the boutique and before I knew it I was chatting with one of the owners, Josephine. We agreed that I would come to the boutique the next day. I rang the bell and a petite woman greeted me at the door. I walked in and immediately wanted to position myself on the little red sofa centered in the room. From there I would be able to see the most beautiful designer silk clothing, hats ranging from small to outrageous, purses that if you weren't using could be used as decor and much much more. I didn't sit down though, rather Josephine and I tried on hat after hat, modeled purse after purse. I didn't even get to the jewelry. From there we talked about the photos and autographs covering the walls and front door. This boutique is worth the stop even if only to meet one of the sisters (but you WILL leave with something, I promise). The history they share with San Francisco is amazing. Photos from the 1960's of two exquisite identical twins in designer clothing out and about town in the evening. Stories of movie stars and entertainers shopping at their tiny boutique. But I digress. If you want something unique, one of a kind, colorful or outrageous but positively beautiful, this is the place for you. For me, I left with an exquisite off white linen hat with cabbage roses adorning the side. I'm not sure when or where I'll wear it but when I do, I'll most definitely feel 'armoire'. Thank you Josephine and Rozzalynd.
Mysterious and lovely, quirky yet oddly homey; colorful with no rhyme or reason - but poeic as hell – Like the Scyllus and Charybdis in Ulysses' travels, this boutique cries out to you with it's siren's song as you hang off the streetcars on Califomia Street - making your way down from the high falutin' heaven that is Nob Hill to the depths of Chinatown and the Financial District. It's bright colored unique hats and Carmival-ready masks await in the beautifully decorated windows.
When you finally enter, all breahless in anticipation, you are not disappointed by what awaits you. Brooches that defy the sun with their array of crystalline light blind you as you try on the unique chappeaus covered with blooms of different hues. You look fabulous in EVERYTHING!
The woman in charge is just as mystical and fascinating as the apparel of laces and brocades, an velvets; and try as you might to try her on for size, she is elusive and quixotic - at first welcoming and then just out of reach like a colorful butterfly. You discover that she is a twin, and that these twins are quite unique in their sameness. She defines both their sameness and their differences by their strength of character and adulthood.
Her demeanor and her wardrobe epitomize the shop. She appears to be from some era around medieval times or the Renaissance - except as conceptualized by Andy Warhol.
I wanted everything in the shop. there was a purse that consisted of a single HUGE bloom. A beautiful ruby red balloon skirt, an absolutely gorgeous hat that I just cannot dscribe adequately except that I looked glorious in it.
I'm going back tomorrow. Even if I have to mortgage my cat.
And you need to go, too, to find that side of you that is longing to be expressed. It'll be lovely...and so will you.
Editorial Review by Citysearch Editors – Since 1969, identical twin sisters have kept this Nob Hill women's boutique stocked with handpicked designer dresses, hats and accessories.
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