It may be a small space, but it packs a lot of punch. Alexis Bittar is officially open for business in San Francisco, and the launch party Saturday night had people spilling onto the foggy sidewalks of Fillmore.
The store stands out like a gem, with walls painted by artist Marcela D'Aprile, Bittar's ongoing taxidermy animal fixtures, and the requisite jewelry collection. When asked what took the designer so long to open an SF store, Alexis answered, “We came kinda gangbusters. We did four stores at once; one in San Francisco, two in LA, and Chicago. I think the location is absolutely perfect. We scouted in June and it's changed even since then. More stores have opened.” When I pointed out that Kiehls is relocating their upper Fillmore store to right across the street, Alexis cooed, “Oh, I love that.”
Local jewelry designer Jeanine Payer played hostess and a case of her designs was set up exclusively for the party. It turns out, the two go way back. Bittar explained: “Eighteen years. We started out designing together. She has a totally different sensibility but amazing craft. Her skill is incredible. And she said why don't I host a party for you as a welcome to San Francisco.”
While sipping on bubbles and nibbling on Alexis Bittar emblazoned chocolates, fans devoured the vanity cases, the most popular items being lucite bangles, dramatic earrings, and Swarovski-crystalized anything. Bittar's SF approach is dead-on: “When you think of the San Francisco women, it's similar to NY, but it's very individualistic, slightly casual, a little bohemian, with more artistic influence. There's a real independence here. There's less fear than other cities; women want to step out and look original. We have the whole collection here, which we can never do if it's another retailer. We steered it so it had more bohemian flavor.” You can also find a special case of antique jewelry from around the globe collected by the designer.
Now that the San Francisco store is a-go, Bittar can celebrate his just-launched bridal collection and his next-to-launch Curiosities capsule. which is all about “Picking different objects from around the world, in terms of homewares, accessories--not jewelry--and curating a collection that represents my aesthetic.” Alexis Bittar, the lifestyle brand, emerges.