Haute Secrets: Joy Venturini Bianchi Shares Her Fashionable Guide to San Francisco

Joy Venturini Bianchi in a Tom Ford Suit, vintage Yves Saint Laurent boots, and Tom Ford ring and handbag.
Joy Venturini Bianchi in a Tom Ford Suit, vintage Yves Saint Laurent boots, and Tom Ford ring and handbag.

Photo Credit: Ari Seth Cohen

Joy Venturini Bianchi is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable fashion icons. In fact, with her signature black Gucci glasses, chic silver chignon, and flashy fashion choices, she may actually be the city’s only recognizable fashion icon. And rightly so. A lifelong philanthropist and fashion lover, Venturini Bianchi is the founder of Helpers, a charity that provides aid to the developmentally disabled. She oversees Helpers House of Couture, a vintage clothing store filled with designer pieces donated from socialites, international royalty, and celebrities. All of the proceeds from the boutique are used to fund Helpers. While she’s not acting as a fashionable fairy godmother to the mentally challenged, Venturini Bianchi is a girl about town. Store openings, galas, fundraisers — it’s all in a night’s work for Venturini Bianchi, who floats from one event to the next in animal print, sequins, and thigh-high boots. With such enviable head-turning fashion sense, we couldn’t help but wonder: where else does this lovely lady hang out? Here are Venturini Bianchi’s haute secrets, her guide to San Francisco, in her very own words.

Where were you born:  Marina District, San Francisco

How long in San Francisco:  77 years

Neighborhood: Richmond District

Occupation:  Director, Helpers Community, Inc.

Favorite Restaurant:  Gary Danko

Best Sushi:  Roka Akor

Best Italian:  Original Joe’s

Best dessert:  Jonathan Waxman

Best place for a romantic date:  Coit Tower

Best Sunday brunch:  Ritz Carlton

Best place for a power business meeting: Helpers. 2626 Fulton Street.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Campton Place

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Helpers House of Couture and Helpers and the Helpers Bazaar, Ghirardelli Square

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Cartier

Best Spa: Never been a client of one…even though that is hard to believe!

Favorite Charity Event: Helpers Annual Gala

Favorite Cultural Event: San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Opera.

Favorite Cultural Institution: San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Opera

Best Steakhouse:  Harris’

Best Pizza:  Tony’s Pizza

Best Lunch:  Mel’s Diner

Best Gym/Athletic Facility:  A stroll through Union Square

Best Massage:  Bernard Osher Center

Best Limousine/Driving Service:  MDM Limousine

Best Museum/Exhibit: de Young/Balenciaga

Describe your city in three words: Welcoming. Accepting. Alive.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Nob Hill

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco:  Ghirardelli Square

Best Aspect of San Francisco: Children. People. Menagerie of animals.