Haute Secrets SF: Fashion Designer Altana Danzhalova

Altana wears a look from Major Obsessions
Altana wears a look from Major Obsessions

Although she’s only lived in San Francisco for seven years, fashion designer Altana Danzhalova is living life in the fast lane. She has an incredibly popular namesake collection and is the mother of an adorable two-year old little girl. Late last year with partner Sonya Molodetskaya, she launched another fashion line, Major Obsessions, which has quickly become a favorite of SF’s swans. In between attending charity and political events with Molodetskaya, Altana spends most of her time at her sewing machine where she crafts luxurious ball gowns and sumptuous velvet robes. Since we’re a huge fan of the designer, we wanted to get to know her more. Here, Altana shares her secrets to living the haute life in SF.

Where were you born: I was born in the city Ulan-ude, Siberia. A lot of people get confused about where I’m from when they look at me!  I am a Buryat from the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. Buryats are northern Mongolians who separated and became a part of Russia.

How long in San Francisco:  I came to San Francisco in 2009 to learn English, so I’ve lived here for about 7 years.  

Neighborhood: I currently live in the very cute neighborhood of Bernal Heights, which is a hidden gem of San Francisco. It’s a small and friendly community.

Occupation: I have my own line under my name, Altana Danzhalova. I’m also the creative director and co-founder for a fast growing fashion brand, Major Obsessions.

Favorite Restaurant:  Kokkari is my favorite restaurant. Greek food is actually similar to Russian food. They have the best lamb chops and the service is impeccable.

Best Sushi: Ozumo has amazing sushi and I definitely recommend their happy hour.

Best Italian: I’ve tried so many Italian restaurants in the city but my favorite is Vega. It’s a family-owned restaurant in my neighborhood. I always get the gnocchi alla boscaiola. It’s the best. Everything there is amazing.

Best dessert: The cream puffs at M.Y. China are absolutely delicious. They taste like a holiday.

The Big 4
The Big 4

Best place for a romantic date: I really like the dark and intimate atmosphere of The Big 4. It takes you back to the golden era of California. The live piano music is a great addition to a romantic date!

Best Sunday brunch: Top of the Mark. From seafood to champagne to desserts, they have an excellent menu with an amazing variety. Plus, the view is a must see!

Best place for a power business meeting: I always prefer Four Season lounge for power business meetings, especially after they remodeled the bar. They have a great wine list and it is an awesome spot to take a client.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? For a while, I preferred the Palace Hotel because of their luxurious interiors. However, lately my taste has changed toward the Battery because it is more convenient for guests. The Battery has everything. They have an amazing bar, a library, a great restaurant, and even an outdoor patio.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: I like Neiman Marcus! As a busy designer, I prefer to go to one place that has all the best choices in front of me. The Rotunda is a nice place to take a break from shopping.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Rada Katz is a friend of mine who owns a jewelry boutique at Four Seasons. She’s a great advisor when it comes to jewelry purchases.

The lobby at Serenity MedSpa
The lobby at Serenity MedSpa

Best Spa: I really like Serenity MedSpa. I like their exfoliating treatments. This spa is innovative, has relaxing treatments, and tasteful décor.

Favorite Charity Event: Family Builders is very inspiring to me because there are a lot of children in need of homes. I have a 2-year-old daughter and I understand the value of a loving family foundation.

Favorite Cultural Event: Fashion shows of course!  They’re always inspiring. I love going to the local fashion shows here and supporting San Francisco-based designers.

Favorite Cultural Institution: I’m Buddhist and I support my Mongolian community. It’s a huge community with over five thousand people in the bay area.

Best Steakhouse:  Ruth Chris! The steak comes to your table right off the grill. Even the plates are hot. You can even buy a glass of Silver Oak there too!

Best Pizza: Cotogna is the best pizza place. It’s actually a wonderful place to have brunch, too.

Best Lunch: I am staying with Cotogna.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Jewish Community Center

A bird's eye view of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
A bird’s eye view of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Best Massage: I recently went to the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay with my girlfriends and I had such a memorable time. It’s absolutely peaceful and beautiful!

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Power limo has great service. You can find a variety of car options from a Sedan to a major SUV.

Best Museum/Exhibit: The architecture at the SFMOMA is gorgeous and I can spend a whole day there. I enjoy starting at the sixth floor and working my way down. Tomas Saraceno’s exhibition is a must see!

Describe your city in three words: Magical, liberating, and beautiful.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: The Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a very powerful symbol.

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: Golden Gate Park is filled with a variety of activities. I also especially like the Japanese Tea Garden. So peaceful!

Best Aspect of San Francisco:  The people.