Palo Alto. The most glamorous town in the South Bay is home to Stanford—the university and the hospital—and is the birthplace of world-changing tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Tesla. With such a pedigree, it makes sense that it also has one of the best outdoor malls in Northern California. In the past nine months that mall, the Stanford Shopping Center, has debuted an extraordinary makeover. The Simon Property Group, which owns the 61-year-old, 1.4 million-square-foot mall, initially announced its remodel plans back in 2012. The old Bloomingdale’s was then demolished, four new retail buildings were added in its place, and a scaled-down Bloomingdale’s opened.
Renovated common spaces, walkways, and landscaping now include gardens, plenty of beautiful seating, grassy areas, and a wildly chic open-air fireplace. Luxury stores, such as Coach and Louis Vuitton, have been grouped near Neiman Marcus. A handful of boutiques that aren’t at every other mall—Everything But Water, Frette, and Shreve & Co.—have opened up shop or relocated to newly designed spaces in the mall. New dining options, from cake maker Pink Posy to seasonal salad sensation Tender Greens, have also appeared at the high-end retail mecca. A visit to the luxuriously revamped center is the best way to experience all the new shops. With that in mind, here is our haute guide to the new Stanford Shopping Center to ensure you can navigate the beautiful regional retail enclave.
Fans of boho chic Anthropologie will be thrilled to set foot inside the company’s massive new two-story concept store, Anthropologie & Co. The downstairs is a series of rooms showing off an extensive selection of furniture and decor. Wander through a cozy bedroom with billowing cream curtains and a mountain of Moroccan pillows with tassels, or through another styled as a living room with a plush oversize couch in customizable colors of velvet. Gold silverware, vintage-inspired glassware, polka dot table linens, and stacks of cookbooks—on meals for newlyweds, juicing, pickling, and more—are displayed in the kitchenware section. There are also sections devoted to handmade jewelry by local artists, shoes, petite clothing, accessories, and beauty—with makeup and potions for the skin. Terrain, the company’s gardening supply shop, stands in one downstairs corner. Here, you’ll find terrariums, outdoor planters, antique-inspired watering cans, heirloom seeds, and seasonal wreaths. A restaurant inspired by this botanical boutique, Terrain Cafe, is accessible from the store. Upstairs is the BHLDN Weddings boutique, Anthro’s carefully curated wedding brand with an assortment of glorious white and cream-colored gowns, bridesmaid dresses, jewelry, and bespoke extras like veils, votives, and love trinkets.
Elsewhere in the Stanford mall is Amour Vert, an eco-conscious San Francisco–based brand founded in 2011 by French engineer Linda Balti. While living in Silicon Valley, Balti noticed that fashion available in the area lacked serious sustainable and ethical clothing options. So she set out to create a collection made from specially engineered textiles, blended fabrics, and low-impact dyes. Today, the line is sold at large department stores such as Nordstrom and counts celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow as customers. The Palo Alto store is Amour Vert’s second stand-alone shop, and it holds a special place in Balti’s heart because the brand was founded in her Palo Alto apartment. It’s filled with flirty printed dresses, soft striped tees, flattering silk tops, and lots of denim. “We’ve focused on denim in the store. Sustainable denim is actually really hard to find,” Balti told Haute Living. “Most denim wastes a lot of water and uses harsh chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. We’ve curated the largest collection of sustainable denim in the world, and the Palo Alto store has the entire collection. We’ve partnered with denim brands including Citizens of Humanity, Agolde, and Levi’s Made & Crafted to create exclusive styles and washes for us, and our assortment continues to grow.” Dried cotton branches hang from the walls and imbue the boutique with an earthy and stylishly rustic ambiance. The store is open and bright with high ceilings, and it makes an excellent place to host an event, which is something Balti does often. “Our goal is to be a place where women (and men) gather to learn, share, and empower each other,” Balti says. “We partner with like-minded brands, influencers, and local businesses to build strong relationships with our local community and our customers.”
Photo Credit: Jen Kay
Designer Jenni Kayne (learn more in this issue’s profile of her) specializes in Cali-luxe separates in a neutral palette. Think cozy cashmere sweaters, stylish everyday work shirts, and comfortable yet elegant D’orsay flats. All of these items and a curated selection of home goods and jewelry can be found at her first Northern California boutique, which opened late last summer. Kayne says of the warm, pristine shop: “My newest stores are always my favorite, but I think Palo Alto really is. It is so beautiful. It’s the first store, because we were in the new section of the shopping mall, that we really built from the ground up. It’s special. It’s exactly like I wanted to see it, everything I envisioned, and a real expression of the brand.” The shop is stocked with separates perfect for the busy Bay Area woman’s lifestyle—layering sweaters, plaid boyfriend flannels, silk striped kaftans, hip-hugging jeans, and shearling Birkenstocks.
Photo Credit: © Daniel Hennessy
Last fall, the French luxury jewelry designer and watchmaker Cartier opened near Neiman Marcus. The boutique’s design as a series of intimate rooms was inspired by architect Bruno Moinard, who has designed many of the brand’s locations. A crystal chandelier hangs from the white ceiling and the space is decorated in gold, from carpets and walls to glass jewelry cases. Each room displays distinct Cartier products like fine jewelry and watches, the famed Love collection, as well as sunglasses and handbags. Although the mall is loud and bustling, the Cartier shop embodies a cool, quiet calmness. In January, Cartier announced a special partnership with the nearby Pace Gallery. Artist Tara Donovan is currently showing at the gallery and two of her one-of-a-kind pieces from the Drawing (Pins) series, are exclusively on display at Cartier.
Photo Credit: Stella McCartney
Fans of Stella McCartney’s stylish tailoring and sustainable ethics head to Palo Alto to experience the British designer’s only stand-alone boutique in the Bay Area. The sixth (of seven) McCartney shops in the United States, the Palo Alto location boasts 1,200 square feet of luxury women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrances, lingerie, and children’s clothing. The store is a beautiful study in white marble, brushed brass, hand-dyed concrete floor panels, and crystal plinths; it’s the perfect backdrop for displaying McCartney’s signature designs mixing masculine and feminine details. This spring, sophisticated Bay Area women should shop for lightweight alternate-suede coats, fitted blazers, jeans with interesting shapes, paper bag skirts, and flirty blouses.
Photo Credit: Glassybaby
At Glassybaby, a jewel box of a boutique that opened in spring 2015, shoppers can find pretty handblown votives and gifts that are made by artisans in Glassybaby’s Berkeley hot shop. Production of each votive involves three steps in which a piece of clear glass is shaped, colored, and cut to form the brand’s signature oval bubble shape. The smooth glossy candleholders come in a rainbow of vibrant hues—each with a special name like little boy blue, goodness, and home sweet home. Glassybaby was founded by Lee Rhodes, a cancer survivor who was inspired by the light refracted through a handblown glass candleholder. Votives are sold individually or in themed sets like “mother of the bride” and “at the cabin.” Glassybaby also makes drinkers, elegant little three-inch-tall glasses that hold about eight ounces. Ten percent of every sale is donated to charities such as the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center.