It’s appropriate that when the new Giorgio Armani boutique opened its doors in San Francisco last week, it was in the early days of Mayor Willie Brown’s administration. It was the Brioni-suited Brown who spoke out publicly against casual-dress Fridays when he took office in January, ushering in a new sartorial style to the Bay Area.
Brown, who inspected the store arm-in-arm with power shoppers Denise Hale and Charlotte Maillard Swig, was later asked about his fashion likes and dislikes. He began to respond, then stopped abruptly.
“I better shut up — there’s The Gap,” Brown said, gesturing toward Gap founder Donald Fisher, who was sipping champagne just a few steps away. Movie producer George Lucas, meanwhile, was checking out the suits in the second-floor men’s department.
“I’ve been shopping in New York for the past 15 years, and now it’s nice finally to have it all here at home,” he said.
Wearing black jeans, a T-shirt and a brown suede jacket, Hollywood’s original Armani poster boy, Richard Gere, entertained a pack of friends, including some Tibetan monks, at the opening of a Los Angeles exhibition of his photography the same night — but finding time for idle conversation wasn’t easy for the actor.
“I call her the Reality Reaper,” he said, watching his notoriously controlling publicist, Pat Kingsley, as she left an anteroom at the Fahey-Klein Gallery in Los Angeles. “Quick, she’s gone — now we can have some fun.”
Fun wasn’t the only thing Gere was serving at his opening. Guests like Isabelle Adjani and Jeremiah Chechik, her “Diabolique” director, were also treated to a prayer chanted by visiting monks. The photographs themselves range from portraits to landscapes and are priced from $1,500 to $1,800. All profits from sales during the two-week show go to the Gere Foundation to promote awareness of Tibetan culture.