San Francisco may abound with French potties and tea houses and high-priced paella restaurants, but its fashion sense still leaves much to be desired.
We are, as the conventional wisdom goes, an international capital of newly minted billionaires in flannel shirts and hoodies. The city that institutionalized casual Fridays. The birthplace of The Gap.
This weekend, one of the city's oldest highbrow institutions is giving us a chance to change that image.
The San Francisco Opera is opening its costume shop and putting a whole array of ruffly frocks up for sale. If you've been scouring thrift stores for a suit of armor, or a Renaissance Faire peasant costume, or a ball gown for someone of generous girth -- look no further.
This is only the fifth time that San Francisco Opera has tried to unload its wardrobe onto the public, and it's evidently racked up some gems since the 2009 sale -- which included pieces worn by Placido Domingo and Dame Joan Sutherland. Among this weekend's display items are a whole line of robes and sandals from last year's world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, perfect for anyone planning a toga party. Also: designs by Gianni Versace, who conceived the costumes for Richard Strauss' 1990 production of Capriccio.
Add to that the standard panoply of feathered hats and waistcoats and low-bodiced raiments, and all of Market Street can become a version of the Edwardian Ball. Which would at least disrupt the city's standard Abercrombie color palette.
Costumes range from $1 to $750, though we assume the lower price point is for a lock of hair from Barber of Seville. (SF Opera spokeswoman Gelane Pearson tells us the sale will include fabric, buttons, and other scraps from the sewing-room floor, leftover for die-hard afficionados.) The sale runs Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.