Allison Speer dusts off her social guidebook to share intel on where to shop and how to prep for fall soirees.
Allison Speer, one of San Francisco’s soothsayers of all things fashionable and of the moment, can’t wait for the city to become, well, eminently engaging again. Her work as marketing pro for some of Northern California’s most luxurious brands matches a worldview that continuously seeks joy. “The best business advice I ever received was from my parents—do something that makes you happy,” says Speer, whose career has included gigs at I. Magnin, Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani. Above all, Speer is a tastemaker; her reputation for bringing together diverse groups of people throughout the Bay Area is as impressive as her knack for planning evenings of revelry. Her post-pandemic mantra is straightforward. “Live every day like it’s your last,” she says. “I had COVID this time last year, and my family has had a lot of health issues in 2021. I say yes to everything now and have no regrets!”
We sat down with the social dynamo to get her take on how to shake off the cobwebs when it comes to enjoying the social set again—and how to look amazing.
Once our city safely opens, what are you most excited about? The return of dressing up: sequins, pearls and color. I think we’ll see signs of Roaring ’20s themes in dressing. I have my eye on a [fabulous] Andrew Gn white crystal embroidered feathered top—I’m so excited that his work is now being carried at Neiman Marcus San Francisco.
What recent fashion accessory are you obsessed with and can’t live without? My Elsa Peretti gold cuff at Tiffany & Co. With Elsa Peretti passing away this year, I wanted to own one of her iconic pieces. It was so fun to see her and Liza Minnelli wearing the cuffs in Halston on Netflix this spring. Put the cuff on—it instantly adds so much style to any outfit.
What’s your latest Bay Area boutique discovery? I love Sue Fisher King, Found by Maja and Decoration on Sacramento Street for decor items—Decoration is the most recent. Sacramento Street has really become a design destination. For clothing, I love Betty Lin on Sacramento Street, as she carries La DoubleJ, a great brand from Italy founded by my friend J.J. Martin. Betty Lin also recently picked up Anne Sisteron jewelry. She recently opened a men’s store next door. On Union Square, the newly renovated Gucci store is stunning—it feels like you’re in someone’s home. I also adore going to the Tiffany & Co. boutique for its recently refurbished midcentury design feel. Those two boutiques are two crown jewels on Union Square.
We’re throwing parties again. What are three essential elements every bash should have right now? For a fabulous fall soiree, I recommend gorgeous flowers from Flowers Claire Marie. She has a wonderful Instagram account (@clairemarieflowers), which will inspire everyone. For delicious food, I’d choose Nosh for more intimate events, and I’d opt for Taste Catering for large-scale parties. Naturally, I’d recommend having a great DJ or band—I think people are ready to dance again!
What book have you recently read and loved so much you keep recommending it to friends?The Paper Palace (Riverhead, 2021) by Miranda Cowley Heller about a love triangle, which takes place at a retreat on Cape Cod. For hostess gifts, I love giving You’re Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining (Rizzoli, 2020) by Stephanie Booth Shafran—it’s a great book about entertaining at home.
Photography by: PHOTO BY JOHN MERKL/COURTESY OF CHAIRISH