These gents have style in spades. A closer look reveals the personalities behind all that panache.
Jeff Schlarb at Holbrook House, which he designed; it’s located in the new Conservatory at One Sansome.
FOUNDER, JEFF SCHLARB DESIGN STUDIO
“My design aesthetic is described as modern-day maximalism, rooted in classical design,” says renowned Bay Area designer Jeff Schlarb (jeffschlarb.com), whose sartorial presentation to the world is similar. The man takes chances, much like his style icon, David Bowie. “He was so fearless and bold in his fashion and style,” says Schlarb. “He loved a skinny suit and had great hair—his style was so worldly. I love a well-tailored suit, and I love to mix patterns with my ties, shirts, sport coats and even my socks.” When he dresses casually, the designer loves to wear lots of colors. “As I’ve matured as a designer, I’m much more comfortable layering patterns and colors in my outfits.”
WHAT’S ONE THING THAT YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT YOU? I’M NOT AFRAID TO BE VULNERABLE.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FASHION BRANDS? I LOVE MAGNANNI (MAGNANNI COM) SNEAKERS AND ZEGNA (ZEGNA.COM) SHOES. FOR WARDROBE, MY FAVORITES ARE ETRO (ETRO.COM), BRUNELLO CUCINELLI (BRUNELLOCUCINELLI.COM) AND BURBERRY (BURBERRY.COM).
WHAT ARE YOU USUALLY WEARING IF YOU’RE GOING TO A PARTY? I LOVE A BEAUTIFUL ETRO JACKET WITH A PAIR OF SKINNY JEANS.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS? MY UNCLE TOLD ME THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR ANOTHER GOOD ONE.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR 21-YEAR-OLD SELF? DON’T BE IMPATIENT. BELIEVE IN THE PROCESS OF LETTING THINGS EVOLVE. EVERYONE ELSE IS JUST AS NERVOUS AS YOU ARE ABOUT SUCCESS. NONE OF THIS MATTERS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL A TINY PART OF A GIANT UNIVERSE. IT HELPS TAKE ALL THE PRESSURE OFF YOURSELF.
Blake McCall at his downtown SF salon, Blake Charles Salon and Spa
OWNER, BLAKE CHARLES SALON
Blake McCall (@blakecmccall) is a man who stands out in a crowd. As the owner of Maiden Lane’s Blake Charles Salon and Spa (blakecharlessalons.com), the charming and handsome father of three is always impeccably dressed. “It’s a modern yet classic look,” McCall says of his signature style. “A lot of classic pieces like sweaters and sport coats but worn in a modern way.” McCall explains that fashion and salons go hand in hand. “It would be difficult to be in the salon industry without having a sense of style. Many salons have their unique style that, in many ways, reflects the owner’s individuality. We’re no different,” he says. McCall had no experience in the beauty industry when he was handed the keys to the space that formerly housed Joseph Cozza’s flagship. Still, McCall knew he wanted to be in a world “where I could add value and help people grow professionally and individually.” Although there has recently been a negative narrative around downtown amid store closures, McCall says “We've never had more new business than we do now.” He’s committed to helping revitalize Union Square and the surrounding area.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PASTIME? MAKING PASTA FROM SCRATCH AND HANGING OUT WITH MY DAUGHTERS.
WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST FASHION INFLUENCES? JAMES BOND AND MICHAEL JORDAN
FASHION ACCESSORIES YOU’LL NEVER GIVE UP? MY CARTIER (CARTIER.COM) WATCH AND NO-SHOW SOCKS WITH WHITE SHOES. ALWAYS WHITE SHOES!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FASHION BRANDS? BRUNELLO CUCINELLI (BRUNELLOCUCINELLI.COM), TED BAKER (TEDBAKER.COM) AND THEORY (THEORY.COM). I TURN TO R. DOUGLAS CUSTOM CLOTHIER (RDOUGLAS.NET) FOR TAILORED TUXEDOS AND SPORT COATS.
Doug Dalton at the new Dawn Club downtown
If anyone believes in San Francisco’s undeniable greatness, it’s entrepreneur Doug Dalton (@dougdalton) of Future Bars (futurebars.com), the parent company of nightspots like Bourbon & Branch (bourbonandbranch.com), SWIG (swigbar.com) and Nightingale Bar (nightingalebar.com). Opening Dawn Club (dawnclub.com) amid endless discussion of downtown SF’s demise is Dalton thumbing his nose at this chatter. Since it opened in June, the club—a brilliant jazz bar in the location where Lou Water, a legendary musician and band leader, had a space until the 1950s—is packed every night. “As part of the rebirth of San Francisco from the pandemic, bringing the Dawn Club back and celebrating the history of San Francisco is just what the city needs,” says Dalton, whose new space showcases live jazz, world-class cocktails and rare whiskey flights.
Dalton, who grew up in the DC area and regularly slipped into the renowned 9:30 Club as a teen, says he’s always appreciated the style of performers, whether it’s rocker Kurt Cobain or skateboarder Tony Hawk. “I had the pleasure of getting fashion advice from John Varvatos (johnvarvatos.com), and I wear his designs often. I love Seven Diamonds (7diamonds.com) shirts and Mavic (mavic.com) pants, Ezekiel (ezekielusa.com) jackets and Converse (converse.com) shoes.” Juggling work while maintaining sanity is often challenging; the best advice he ever received? “When people want more of your time, learn it’s OK to say no. There’s always another party or show, so take time for yourself,” he says.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU? I RECEIVED MY MASTER’S DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE. I MOVED TO CALIFORNIA TO ATTEND BERKELEY AND BECAME ONE OF THE EARLY ENGINEERS AT NETSCAPE. I WAS ALSO A SPONSORED SKATEBOARDER IN HIGH SCHOOL—I ’M ALSO A PRIVATE PILOT.
WHAT DO YOU WEAR WHEN YOU GO OUT WITH FRIENDS ON A SATURDAY NIGHT? I LOVE A BOMBER JACKET AND A BAND T-SHIRT DU JOUR, WITH BLACK JEANS AND WHITE CONVERSE.
WHAT ’S THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED? NEVER SHOW UP LATE TO A MEETING AND ALWAYS TREAT ANOTHER PERSON’S TIME AS IF IT WERE WORTH A MILLION DOLLARS—BECAUSE ONE DAY IT WILL BE! ESTEE LAUDER ACQUIRED MY START-UP, GLOSS.COM. I WAS 30 MINUTES EARLY TO OUR FIRST MEETING, AND THAT’S WHAT THE CEO, FRED LANGHAMMER, TOLD ME. HE ALSO FIRED EVERYONE WHO CAME TO OUR EXECUTIVE MEETING LATE.
Joey Zwellinger in his SF boutique
As the co-founder of Bay Area-based sustainable shoe and clothing brand Allbirds (allbirds.com), Joey Zwillinger says he has an engineer’s veneer, which is sometimes hard to see through. “I can appear tough and sometimes even callous because of my logic-driven thinking. But the reality is that I’m a people-centered leader, partner and dad, with a reverence and longing for creativity and love.” As Allbirds has grown worldwide, Zwillinger leans on advice from Victor Frank: “Everyone has full control of how they respond to any situation, no matter how obscure or difficult the environment might be—personal agency is the mantra that I live by.” The executive favors Japanese brands like Beams (beams.co.jp) and UES (japaneseselvagejeans.com), Danish brands No Nationality (nn07.com) and fisherman-inspired sweaters and cardigans from S.N.S. Herning (sns-herning.com). “I reserve my most pointed style movements and verve for my feet, where I [favor] the genius Allbirds color team,” he says.
WHAT’S THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED? AFTER MY FIRST DISASTROUS STINT AS A PEOPLE MANAGER, MY DAD TOLD ME I NEEDED TO STOP BEING THE MANAGER I THOUGHT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AND START BEING MYSELF.
WHO WAS YOUR STYLE ICON WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD? MY GRANDPA: DAPPER AND ALWAYS IN A THREE-PIECE SUIT TAILORED WITH HIS OWN HANDS. HE RAN A GARMENT SHOP IN HIS APARTMENT ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE OF NEW YORK, MAKING UNIFORMS FOR GROUPS LIKE THE U.S. MILITARY AND PINKERTON DETECTIVE AGENCY.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY? COMBATTING CLIMATE CHANGE. AFTER COLLEGE, THAT TOOK ME TO A BIOTECH FIRM CALLED SOLAZYME, WHERE WE ENGINEERED MICROALGAE TO REPLACE PETROLEUM WITH CARBON-NEUTRAL OIL. I WAS COMPLETELY CAPTIVATED BY THE TECHNOLOGY; THE VISION WAS TO BE THE NEXT SOURCE OF LIQUID FUEL FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD.
YOUR BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT? I SAW THAT BRANDS PAID LIP SERVICE TO SUSTAINABILITY. FORTUNATELY, I CROSSED PATHS WITH MY ALLBIRDS CO-FOUNDER, TIM BROWN, VIA OUR WIVES—BEST FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE—AND IT STRUCK US BOTH THAT THERE WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT MY PURPOSE ON THE ENVIRONMENT WITH HIS DESIGN SENSIBILITY AND INTUITIVE SENSE FOR WHERE CONSUMERS WERE HEADED.
HOW HAS FASHION IMPACTED YOUR LIFE? I RARELY HAVE SYNTHETIC FIBERS TOUCHING MY SKIN. ALLBIRDS HAS CRACKED THE CODE ON COMFORT, AND I’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO TURN BACK.
Julian MacKay is a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet.
PRINCIPAL DANCER, SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
Surprising people is part of Julian MacKay’s (@julianmackay) growing lore. A principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet (sfballet.org), MacKay is the first American to graduate from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy and is CEO of MacKay Productions (@mackay.productions), a global arts production company he founded with his brother, Nicholas. Fashion also has been one of his foundations. “My mom worked for Haute Couture in Paris, and I was always encouraged to be creative with my style,” says MacKay. “She always loved the concept of casual couture and mixing things, so as I traveled for school and work, I would pick up pieces along the way.” His go-to brands include Dior (dior.com), YSL (ysl.com), Yohji Yamamoto (theshopyohjiyamamoto.com) and Burberry (burberry.com). He always aims for comfort with classic and modern elements. How does MacKay dress when going out? “I recently picked up awesome Dries Van Noten (driesvannoten.com) pants in Tokyo. For shoes, I usually go for something classic but modern like Jordans (nike.com). I’m also always rocking an awesome pair of Oliver Peoples (oliverpeoples.com) sunglasses.”
WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? ASAP ROCKY, KEANU REEVES AND RUDOLF NUREYEV
WHAT’S A SIGNATURE LOOK YOU ALWAYS SPORT? SUIT PANTS WITH SNEAKERS AND A [WILD] SHIRT WITH A PATTERN. I’LL USUALLY THROW ON A LONG OVERCOAT. MY FAVORITE IS A GRAY AND BLACK ONE I WAS GIF TED AND TAILORED FROM BURBERRY IN LONDON FOR A RICCARDO TISCI (@RICCARDOTISCI17) RUNWAY SHOW I DID WITH THE BRAND.
WHAT ’S THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED? ONE OF MY FIRST TEACHERS SAID, ‘WORK SMART, NOT HARD.’ AS AN ARTIST AND BALLET DANCER, THERE’S THIS CONSTANT DESIRE TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION. IN REALITY, YOU’RE WORKING WITH THE HUMAN BODY. THAT’S WHY MAKING LASTING PROGRESS IS CRUCIAL—NOT JUST [PUT TING IN] HOURS OF MISTAKES THAT CAN LEAD TO INJURIES.
WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? I GREW UP IN MONTANA AND HAVE ALWAYS DREAMED OF TRAVELING THE WORLD. GETTING TO DO THAT IS AN IMMENSE JOY, BUT DEEP DOWN, I’M STILL THAT KID DANCING ON THE DRIVEWAY IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.
Photography by: TOM WERNER/GETTY; COURTESY OF JEFF SCLARB; TRACY EASTON; TRACY EASTON; TRACY EASTON; NICHOLAS MACKAY