Post Street Retail is Having a Moment

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The new Shreve & Co. location, above, is only steps from its old building, but it’s doubled in size
The new Shreve & Co. location, above, is only steps from its old building, but it’s doubled in size

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Post Street is a storied San Francisco shopping fairway running from the Presidio down to Market Street and commanding the northern side of the city’s illustrious Union Square. The street specializes in both highbrow and low-brow international clothing, accessories, home goods, and jewelry. It’s home to Goyard, Cartier, Burberry, Zara, the North Face, and Nike. While Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Williams-Sonoma have held court here for years, other purveyors have tended to move out as rents rise to stratospheric levels, producing some of the highest, and fastest increasing, premium retail rents in the world. Even the venerable Christian Dior was forced to vacate its prime Union Square location on Stockton Street to avoid skyrocketing rent and move into a new home on the corner of Grant Avenue and Post. There was more shuffling when Shreve & Co., the famed San Francisco jeweler, had to give up its namesake building thanks to astronomical rents. A long list of changes like these have altered the face of Post Street shopping. Here are some of the most notable changes.

A look at the new men’s floor at Sak’s Fifth Avenue
A look at the new men’s floor at Sak’s Fifth Avenue

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

In April 2015, Saks Fifth Avenue (384 Post Street. 415-986-4300) announced that it would close the stand-alone Men’s Store at 220 Post Street and incorporate menswear into the Saks San Francisco flagship a block away. The change went into affect in October 2016 when the department store debuted its new Men’s Floor on five. A strongly curated selection of merchandise features designer and international classic collections. Think Alexander McQueen, Ermenegildo Zegna, Isaia, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Givenchy. The men’s clothing is elegantly presented in a large circle around the escalators. The contemporary women’s collections that were on the fifth floor moved to the fourth floor. Both floors have a refreshing, clean look, making it a pleasure to shop for distressed jeans, silk shirts, and stylish suits.

A rendering of the new Tiffany & Co. storefront
A rendering of the new Tiffany & Co. storefront

Photo Credit: Tiffany & Co.

Another old standby that’s undergoing a modern makeover is Tiffany & Co. (350 Post Street, 415-781-7000). In honor of the jeweler’s 25th anniversary on Post Street, the store has gotten a much-needed refresh. Outside, a beautiful glass facade offers a clear view into the grand entry. Inside, the larger Tiffany & Co. store features more engagement rings, watches, and high jewelry than ever before in a bright and modern setting. The new design is open and airy, with marble and wood flooring, pale blue walls with gold accents, and plenty of well-lit glass jewelry cases. A grand staircase leads to the second floor, where shoppers find Tiffany’s first-ever outdoor space, a large, sheltered stone terrace with lounge seating, marble tables, potted plants, and white and green cushions. “I have no idea who came up with the patio, but I think it’s fabulous!” Alexandra Winokur, Tiffany’s group vice president of U.S. sales, told Haute Living. “I know of no other retailers in San Francisco that have a private outdoor space like ours. The terrace is unique. I believe it is our only outdoor space in the entire Tiffany U.S. network.” The Post Street store is also one of few locations that has a nine-foot statue of the Greek god Atlas holding a clock over his head, greeting customers as they enter.

The new Apple store
The new Apple store

Photo Credit: Apple

Apple (300 Post Street, 415-486-4800) opened its new San Francisco store, on the corner of Post and Stockton streets in May 2016. The new store has stunning 42-foot windows, living trees, a giant video screen, and a fountain by local sculptor Ruth Asawa. The first floor is devoted to retail sales of iPhones, computers, and iPads, while the second floor is home to the genius bar and customer support area. As Apple’s new West Coast flagship, the store is meant to be an extension of the city. There is an indoor-outdoor quality to the space and on warm days, the glass windows actually open. It’s a revolutionary concept that Apple hopes to translate to other cities in the future.

Coach corner
Coach corner

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Coach Corner at the intersection of Post and Grant streets is a location the luxury handbag and leather goods maker has occupied for 30 years. In June, the American company debuted a newly renovated boutique. Although not enlarged, the new Coach premises (190 Post Street, 415-392-1772) seem bigger and brighter. You feel as if you’re in a chic Brooklyn loft: It’s all high ceilings, chrome shelves, dark wood details, and graphic carpets. The space is both feminine and masculine in an inviting retail scape. The first floor houses women’s handbags, whimsical accessories, and men’s backpacks, belts, and wallets. Downstairs, there’s Stuart Vevers ready-to-wear and shoe collections with flirty printed frocks, sumptuous bomber jackets, cheeky sweaters with embroidered dinosaurs, cushy high-top sneakers, and sturdy wooden wedge heels. The most notable new addition is the craftsmanship bar that commands the space between the men’s and women’s leather collections. The bar offers personalized leather services such as monogramming, cleaning, and repair. A leather specialist, outfitted in a deluxe leather apron, staffs the bar, which also displays vintage one-of-a-kind Coach handbags from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. This haute new craftsmanship bar ensures that Coach will occupy its downtown corner for many years to come.

Even the chandeliers at the new Shreve & Co. resemble dripping jewels
Even the chandeliers at the new Shreve & Co. resemble dripping jewels

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Shreve & Co. (150 Post Street, 415-421-2600) has been San Francisco’s preferred jeweler for 165 years, and this winter it opened a glittering new store that oozes understated opulence. With two floors, several private spaces, and more than 10,000 square feet of selling space, the new Shreve is double the size of its old location. There are high ceilings, mirrored columns with a vintage-inspired tint, and a grand spiraling staircase. Three custom-made Yellow Goat chandeliers hang from the ceiling above the staircase; made from crystals, gemstones, and mirrors, the chandeliers look like hundreds of unclasped, dangling bracelets. Downstairs, there is a large area dedicated to Patek Philippe, the Swiss watchmaker that has a unique relationship with this retailer, given that the company has been selling watches to Shreve since the late 1860s. Plus, both are family-owned businesses that stress the importance of craftsmanship, quality, and maintaining customer relationships. Lane Schiffman, Shreve’s co-owner and managing partner says the long-lasting relationships the brand has built are crucial to its success and a key focus of the new boutique. “The new store has enabled us to be very intimate with our clients—that’s the whole purpose of this. We have all this magnificent presentation, magnificent merchandise, but none that truly matters unless we have a relationship with our clientele,” Schiffman told Haute Living. “[It’s about] how we make our customers feel, how we help them make good decisions and enable them to be proud of their decisions long term, caring for them, and doing it through to the next generation. It’s not just what the product is; it’s much more what it means.”

Serenity MedSpa
Serenity MedSpa

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The city’s most luxurious cosmetics spa, Serenity MedSpa, from the brother and sister team of Dr. David Kang and Dr. Lisa Kang, has expanded. The spa now takes up two complete floors at 126 Post Street, with the second floor housing facial treatments and the new sixth floor focusing on body work. The beautiful and soothing space was designed by Sophie Azouaou of SophiSticate Interiors and has white marbletiled floors, grey tufted love seats, sculptures, and artwork by local painter Sergey Konstantinov and photographer David Perea. It’s not at all clinical but luxurious and inviting.

Adeeni Design Galerie
Adeeni Design Galerie

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The city’s newest destination for design and art, Adeeni Design Galerie, has opened at 664 Post Street. The intimate space is filled with exotic treasures, plush pillows, and unique artwork. The gallery is artist and interior designer Claudia Juestel’s brainchild and showcases her Austrian heritage. Ebony cabinets, gold hardware, and other sleek touches anchor the space’s black-and-white palette with its splash of chartreuse.

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