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Indian Summer

[whitespace] Interviews by Christa Palmer
Photos by Erin Kategley
Stylist Diana Rupp
Makeup by Janet Halter-Levy

Fashion's dictates are more relaxed this fall in San Francisco than they are in other style-conscious cities like New York and London. While style fiends in San Francisco peel off the layers, fashion cohorts in other parts of the world prepare to button up. A warm autumn also gives San Francisco designers a chance to play around with skimpy dresses and short sleeves, while still adhering to the demands of a more traditional fall production schedule with heavy tweeds and knits. Metropolitan caught up with some people on the street who shared their fall fashion experiments with us. Here are real people in their real clothes and in the fall fashions of San Francisco's very own designers.

Ledisi Embarcadero

Ledisi, jazz, R&B and funk singer, somewhere between 21 and 28

Is the dress you're wearing something you would buy for yourself?: Yeah. Just because it's light, and it's not heavy. It's just sexy, you know what I mean?

Would you perform in something like this dress?: Pretty much. As long as it's comfortable. I also like high, chunky shoes because it gives me power. This dress would be good for performing because it moves with your body.

What else would you want to do in this dress?: Strut.

What is your favorite item of clothing?: These flared stretch jeans from Express that are a dark, dark blue. They make you look skinny. You can wear them with high black-lace boots or sneakers or you can dress them up with a blouse. I bought them last month; it was a lucky find.

Acetate slip dress in burnt orange, Manifesto. Sweater (her own) from Crossroads.

Andrea Chu Chinatown

Andrea Chu, photographer, 24

What is it that you like about this outfit?: I think this pocket on the side of the shirt's sleeve is a really cool pocket.

Why do you like the pocket the best?: I don't know. I'm just fascinated by this pocket for some reason. Things with pockets are really, really cool. Little pockets are cool, you know?

And the pants?: They're comfy.

Is this something you would wear?: I probably would, except the cords. I'm not really the corduroy type person, but I like this style. The shirt, though, is cool.

Who is the corduroy type?: I don't know, maybe Brit-pop guys? I grew up in cords so it also reminds me of when I was a 5-year-old trapped in corduroys. I hated it because it would be 85 degrees out, and my mom would make me wear them.

Nisa T-shirt in black with red, white and blue stripes. Black bell-bottom cords, both at Asphalt.


Washington Square

Laurant, chef, 30

Are the clothes you're wearing comfortable?: If I didn't feel comfortable in the clothes I wouldn't have tried to do tai chi in them.

So they made you feel like you wanted to do tai chi?: Yeah, you know you have some clothes that you wear that make you feel shy? Well, these clothes kinda made me want to try something new. I like the shirt and the jacket. The jeans are kind of tight, though.

Are those your jeans?: Yeah. It's not the right shoes for tai chi either.

What would you do in those shoes?: The shoes make me feel like sitting down and having a cappuccino.

Four-button jacket and light gray pocket shirt, Wyt Shoes (his own) from Bulo. Jeans (his own).

Marcus Shelby Mission

Marcus Shelby, musician, plays string bass, either 23 or 32

You said that you've never worn red before?: I've never worn red before, but hey, this could be a change. I kind of like this shirt. Ordinarily, I won't go to a store and even try a shirt on like this, but now that I have it on, I kind of like it.

What does it make you feel like doing?: I kind of feel like Michael Jordan right about now. I should have worn some Jordans. It makes me feel like I want to go slam dunk or something.

What else would you do in that shirt?: Maybe go to a cocktail party.

Are you going to come to our party tonight?: Hello. Nobody told me about a party tonight.

Kweejibo linen shirt in red, Asphalt

Swave & Deboner guayabera in black with white-and-red embroidery, Manifesto. Pants (his own).

Lavay Smith Fort Point and Potrero Hill

Lavay Smith, chanteuse, barely 30

How would you describe your look?: Fifties va-va-voom. I like the plunging necklines and tight-fitting gowns of the '50s.

What is your favorite item of clothing?: I like halter dresses. They are stretchy and tight-fitting. During the day, I like to wear pedal pushers and cashmere sweaters.

Where do you get most of your clothes?: All over, really, because I shop all of the time. I like to mix and match vintage with new. I like XOXO a lot because they make inexpensive items and a lot of halters, so I go to Macy's sometimes. My favorite vintage place, though, is Martini Mercantile on Haight Street.

Did you like the dress you had on for the photo shoot?: I liked it because it was a halter dress. Halters are my favorite. Whenever I go into a store, I ask right away where the halters are. As long as it's sexy, I like it. I don't want no grandma dresses. I'll have plenty to time to wear those when I get older.

What was your worst style phase?: Punk was my worst style phase in the early 1980s. I didn't wear that too well. It was too dyky-looking and not very sexy.

Whoa Katie! Pale turquoise, silk halter minidress and magenta Phobos & Deimos swing coat with starfish buttons, Asphalt. Marne full-length sweater coat in black, Penelope Starr. Hats (her own).

Swook Kyung Yi Chinatown

Swook Kyung Yi, concierge at the Hotel Triton, 25

Is there anything in particular that you like about this dress?: I like the length and the Asian-like pattern.

Where would you go in a dress like this?: To a club or a restaurant.

How would you describe your personal style?: I like to dress kind of funky sometimes. I like vintage clothing, too. I can be pretty extreme in my taste.

What was your worst style phase?: When I wore all black in the sixth or seventh grade.

KPP "Keiko" dress, Grand Phobos & Deimos red-velvet nightingale sandals, Asphalt. Bracelet (her own).

Sherry Olsen

Financial District

Sherry Olsen, artist, 35

Do you like the outfit you have on?: The red dress is more me than the pants outfit I had on earlier.

Why?: I don't know if I'd wear a pinstripe pants with a see-through shirt. I mean, I like it fine, it's just that I like to wear simpler things like solid colors. The red dress made me feel really good, and red is one of my favorite colors. I love the way I feel in a good dress.

Do you usually dress more casually?: In my work clothes, I'm such a big slob. I have to be because I get so dirty. So when I dress up, I really, really like to dress up. I work at home, and when I wake up I just roll into my work clothes, and I stay that way all day.

Masuyah Nusbaum sheath dress in red, Grand. Shoes (her own).

Wayne Ludvickson


Wayne Ludvickson, writer, 28

Do you care about fashion?: Yeah, I'm pretty narcissistic. Style is sexy, that's how I feel about it. [He laughs.] I look in the mirror, and I want to make sure I look good.

Do you like Western-style clothes?: It makes me feel like I want to lust after a woman. It makes me feel like I want to take a woman.

Is this a cowboy thing?: Clothes bring out a feeling. This outfit is sleek and makes me feel aggressive. Clothes evoke style and a mood.

Sui Generis maize ranch shirt with black piping and ranch-hand black pants, Asphalt. Cowboy hat, Costumes on Haight. Shoes (his own).

Style Finder
Asphalt 551, Hayes St., 415/626-5196
Bulo, 437-A Hayes St., 415/864-3244
Costumes on Haight, 735 Haight St., 415/621-1356
Grand, 1435 Grant St., 415/951-0131
Manifesto, 514 Octavia St., 415/431-4778
Nisa, 415/865-0451
Penelope Starr, 136 Fillmore St., 415/621-7970
Wyt, 415/495-8743

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From the September 7-20, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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