Totally Geek to Totally Chic

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as the go-to personal stylist for successful men and women in the public eye, Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com) shares her thoughts with us today on Silicon Valley style.

The Cast of HBO’s Silicon Valley

Mike Judge was most definitely on to something with his hit HBO series, Silicon Valley, and not just because the cast nails every single techie stereotype known this side of the Mississippi. No, I’m here to recognize his wardrobing genius.

Vans, hoodie sweatshirts and the coding uniform of ill-fitting jeans and button ups run the gamut on this show, and it couldn’t be more accurate. What is exciting here is the possibility. Silicon Valley is arguably the funniest show on TV right now, with a huge viewership. What that means, and Mike Judge I hope you hear me here, Silicon Valley the show could literally transform the way the real Silicon Valley (the Slim Shady of technology) dresses.

As a celebrity stylist and one who has worked with a multitude of men and women in tech — some of which run companies that are among the top performing in the world — I can vouch that the issue of showing even the slightest interest in fashion or sporting, say, a skinny tie or a pocket square, can quickly put a male techie into a category of douche baggery. God forbid he wear some black skinny jeans and a shirt that actually fits him.

Drabby and Shabby: HBO’s Silicon Valley (l), a Conference at Twitter HQ (r)

Those that have taken direction seem to lead the charge in attitude because, let’s be honest, how you look is how you are perceived by the rest of the world. The tech industry is no longer a microcosm of coding — it is the future for every industry and is opening doors across the demographic spectrum.

The totally geek fashion philosophy is going to lose momentum, and in the words of Cindy Mancini (RIP) and her minions, will go from totally geek to totally chic.

Totally Chic: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey combines Techie Casual with Dior Homme

For women in tech, investing in designer pieces or wearing heels (especially ones with red soles) can devalue your professional stature in a male dominant industry. Khakis, flats and sweater sets are somehow okay, but a leather skirt and blouse with a smart jacket and heels would be suggesting you don’t care about your job. And why?

Can we all just agree that being feminine or wearing heels is just as bad ass if not more so then those hush puppies and matching sweater set. Chicness can equal smart, authoritative and powerful. Period.

Tech Women of Substance and Style: Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Minted’s Mariam Naficy and One Kings Lane’s Alison Pincus, Peek’s Ruzwana Bashir

I guess what I’m getting at here is that this is an industry that needs a little creativity and a big push in the right fashion direction.

I’m not sure who will lead the charge and become the new IT (no pun intended) fashion girl/guy in tech, but I fully intend to help create her/him. Yahoo’sMarissa Mayer has held the best dressed title among the fashion crowd thus far because she is open to wearing couture for red carpet events, like the Met Gala. But she can’t be the only one!

Marissa, Kevin Systrom, Sean Parker — each of them show interest in fashion and could capture the attention of the world by subtle and yet intentional wardrobe choices that could literally free the rest of the tech world from this benign fashion standard. They could introduce the world to burgeoning designers that catch their eye, introduce them to their executive colleagues and change the fashion game as we know it. Imagine that — the technology industry could change more than just how we pay our bills or how we communicate with Aunt Zelda in Hoboken.

SV’s Fashion Future? Karl Lagerfeld and Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom

There’s got to be a handful of willing tech execs up for the challenge. You can do it –- we believe in you. Let’s change the fashion world together, shall we?

Oh and Mike Judge, call me, maybe we can fast track this movement together. Next season of Silicon Valley will go from a satire to a fashion drama. I like it.

Originally published for SF Luxe on September 2, 2015.

Go Ahead, Tie One On: The Amazing, Versatile, Timeless Scarf

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as the go-to personal stylist for successful men and women in the public eye, Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com) has some tips for us on how to use a scarf to enliven an outfit on a summer day.

Summer weather can leave you bored and can create quite the fashion conundrum. I, for one, like to layer up, and dream longingly through the months of June, July and August of pre-Fall’s hautest collections. It’s like anticipating Santa Claus’ arrival on Christmas morning. Who doesn’t long to wear Saint Laurent’s colorful collection of suede fringed tall boots and Balenciaga’ssupple leather jackets? I mean, really?

If you live in a city that doesn’t allow for layering in June (I’m sorry), you can find yourself settling for Mrs. Roper caftans and Birkenstocks. As chic (insert sarcasm) as that sounds, do not relent. Please, there are options.

Scarves from Saint Laurent and Balenciaga

Lucky for me, I spend a fair share of my Summer in San Francisco. As the brilliant Mark Twain put it, “The coldest Winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco.” Truer words were never spoken.

Perhaps this is why I find the scarf such a practically chic accessory. I mean, it’s main and arguably sole, purpose is to keep us warm through the colder months.

I must confess, however, my use of the scarf isn’t so practical most of the time. Being a stylist challenges me to use accessories in various ways. To set new standards and trends and to encourage my clients to make their wardrobe stretch, if you will. I try to find ways to make the scarf work in the Winter and the Summer, or, in the case of San Francisco, the Swinter.

Eva Mendes, Wearing a Scarf as Turban

I like to tie lighter, printed silk scarves around my head like a turban on bad hair days, or tie it in a perfect bow around my neck for some style vibrato.

Pretend you just “threw it on” in a frantic attempt to keep the chill away. Meanwhile, we’ll all look at you with admiration and a bit of style envy… “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Fei Fei Sun in a scarf that’s perfect for the San Francisco Swinter!

Try a heavy printed scarf wrapped like a blanket tight across your favorite blazer. When temperatures dip, as they’re known to do during SF’s June gloom, the scarf adds extra warmth and more importantly, varying texture and depth to an otherwise boring look.

Scarves from Temperley London and Dolce & Gabbana

Perhaps my favorite and most frequent usage, however, is wearing my cashmere pashminas as a belt. Replace the belt on that old black pencil skirt or cinch that Mrs. Roper caftan with it to create a waist. Suddenly, you went from fashion meek to totally chic. Feel free to do this in San Francisco or St. Barths. In fact, you can pretty much pick my clients out on the street because of this obsessive styling trick of mine. It is so different, so fashionable and will literally transform that Dolce & Gabbana dress you’ve worn to death.

Bringing old couture new life?! Why, yes please and thank you. I dare you to try it and wait for the compliments. “Oh this old thing… I just threw it on.” Exactly. Effortlessly chic. Go ahead, tie one on.

Originally published for SF Luxe on June 21, 2015.


Jazz, Pizzazz and Pizza! A Festive Party for Betty Lin and Suno

Betty Lin, one of San Francisco’s most popular boutiques, has a new location in Pacific Heights at 3625 Sacramento Street. Among those at its opening party was celebrity stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com), here to share her impressions from the festive event.

Exceptionally good looking valet drivers in white dinner jackets opened my door, as I approached the grand opening of Betty Lin’s new and improved boutique on Sacramento Street recently. A Casey’s Pizza truck was also there, parked conveniently in front so as to offer a bite or two upon entry just in case guests were hungry – I was.

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The Speakeasies Band played a bellowing, lively selection of jazz that kept the well-dressed, super chic crowd on their toes. Children were bouncing this way and that, as the event was advertised as a “kid friendly, come one, come all” soiree. All encompassing it was, offering a brightly colored, glow in the dark ping pong table, an LED corn hole toss and miniature golf stations among a sea of gourmet finger goods and champagne. There was something for everyone. Did I mention there was a pizza truck?

It seemed like all the cool kids got the memo, as I glanced across the room. A bevy of high fashion hipsters were gabbing about New York and Paris and, of course, Betty Lin, all while noshing on skinny crust pizza and bite-sized tacos. The demographic was diverse with women and men from all parts of the city. Uptown, downtown and everything in between, Betty Lin’s store opening was a beautiful sight for those of us who long for New York-worthy fashion events (Bravo, Allison Speer).

Fashion brand consultant Sonia Maria Edwards, uber hot Parisian jewelry ambassador Muriel Devoucoux, Vogue editor Emily Holt, food writer Katie Sweeney, and local artisans from Twiga tribal arts gallery were all in attendance making for a buzz-worthy event. We even got a group selfie to document such a fabulous fashion moment.

Suno founders Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty were lovely and approachable and took photos, kissed cheeks and encouraged guests to shop the collection that lined the shiny, new racks at the store.

Max’s mother (her name is Suno!) was in attendance and equally chic in her oversized, dark rimmed glasses. Everyone was intrigued by her and clamoring to meet the name behind the brand. She was polite, but made it clear that this was about Max and Erin. Max and Erin are down to earth, smart, progressive and exceptionally stylish. Their keen eye, their incredibly successful brand and their ability to figure out the complicated San Francisco market has made them an exceptional team.

Max, donning an olive green cargo jacket and a classic white t-shirt is a native San Franciscan who proudly owns his roots and proves it by ensuring his collection is available here in his hometown.

And Erin, styled to perfection in a black-and-white striped pencil skirt with floral details just had a baby boy, now five months old. Her energy was astounding and she was eager to talk about the future for Suno while also showing us photos of her darling newest addition. This duo is most definitely ready to take on the fashion world with a level of heart and soul that seems to be missing too often in the design world.

Betty wore a dress by Suno that was perfect on her. Long and belted and in the prettiest blue floral print, she was a vision of fashion possibilities.

It is so rare that an independent boutique opens up in San Francisco and does so well that time calls for expansion. Betty’s newest space is twice the size of her last space with a beautiful back garden area and a private in-store studio for photoshoot work. She has thought through every potential project as she prepares for continued growth with her store. With brands likeStella McCartney, Peter Pilotto, Roland Mouret, Raquel Allegra, EachXOther and, of course, Suno, the sky is the limit.

We look forward to seeing the possibilities that will undoubtedly unfold for Betty Lin. The future is so very bright. Bravo on a beautifully crafted store opening!

Visit Betty Lin at 3625 Sacramento Street, San Francisco.
415.345.8688 | 

riginally published for SF Luxe on May 26, 2015.

Martin Margiela in San Francisco

John Gallianos work for the Martin Margiela label is on display in San Francisco in a historic Frank Lloyd Wright building, Maison Margiela at 134 Maiden Lane. Interiors designed by the Margiela team for the two-story, 2,900 square foot space are in typical Margiela surrealist style. Optical illusions, or trompe l’oeil, as they say in France, upside down hangers, backwards pictures in a palette of mostly black and white with a red lips sofa by Bocca, similar to the original design bySalvadore Dali. Shoppers can find men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and runway collections, bags, jewelry, shoes and fragrance.

n the 1980s, Belgian designer Martin Margiela helped set the groundwork for limitless possibilities in fashion design by introducing a style concept known as deconstruction. His clothes challenged many a discerning eye with inside-out seams, extraordinarily long arms and the use of bizarre materials such as canvas and wigs.

The House of Martin Margiela launched in 1989, its clothing labels recognized by a discreet trademark consisting of a piece of cloth with numbers 0-23. Margiela preferred to remain relatively unknown as his clothes gained popularity; he was rarely seen in public and all media contact came through outside sources – think faxes and phone calls with personal assistants. His unabashed socially reclusive behavior paired with his undeniable talent set Margiela apart and led to a greater fashion following for the brand.

In October 2009, Maison Margiela, the company, became in name only, as the designer disappeared from the creative process and left his design team to pick up the pieces. They staged silent marches in Paris and San Francisco to launch a brand collaboration with H&M in November 2012. In October 2014, British designer John Galliano, removed from the helm at Givenchy for anti-semitic remarks, became Maison Margiela’s creative director, and promised to bring the brand full circle in design genius.

Galliano is known for his rather triumphant approach to fashion and he spares no expense with his most recent collections. Raw edges, incorporation of metals, lab coats with matching latex gloves and elaborate headpieces are finding their way back into the newest collections, turning what was Margiela into a reality once more. For women there are hand painted pieces, daisy skirts, kimonos, daisy rings and earrings so large they speak for you. For men, avant-garde silk printed button down shirts with billowy, scarf-like sleeves.

The grand opening celebration for Maison Margiela San Francisco on April 23, 2015, was hosted bySabrina Buell, Yves Béhar, Alicia Engstrom and Hosain Rahman in honor of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at California College of the Arts.


Originally published for Red Carpet Bay Area on May 17, 2015.

Festival Style: What to Wear to BottleRock and Outside Lands

Headed to BottleRock and Outside Lands this summer? If you're anything like us (and of course you are!), you've been planning your festival look for months. Here, San Francisco expert wardrobe stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney tells us what she's packing for Napa come May 29.

Look 1: Tribal Quest

Mary says: "Pretty in prints, but still ready to rock out."  

// Kenzo dress ($755); Yigal Azrouel scarf ($385); Designs by Alina pearl earrings ($400) and leather-and-diamond bracelets ($450-$650); Giada Forte clutch ($286); and Illesteva sunglasses ($290); all at Elizabeth Charles (Lower Pac Heights), elizabeth-charles.com

Look 2: Hootie and the Boho

Mary says: "A little boho-chic never hurt anyone."  

// Stevie Howell print tunic ($395) at steviehowell.com; Charlene Court Designs silk braided teardrop necklace ($3,500) and Isabel Marant dicker bootie ($635), both at Elizabeth Charles (Lower Pac Heights), elizabeth-charles.com; “What a Hoot” handbag ($258) at Mary Frances Accessories (Lafayette), maryfrances.com.

Look 3: A Little Bit Country

Mary says: "Sweet but chic, effortless but eccentric. "  

// Vintage silk skirt and top ($195); Mimi London leather box bag ($395); African sequin disc necklaces ($28 each); and silvertone arc necklaces ($45 each); all available at Eden & Eden (Jackson Square), edenandeden.com

Look 4: A Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll

Mary says: "You just can't go wrong with tan easy breezy jumpsuit and a moto jacket over it. We're not even plaid about it."  

// Azalea strapless jumpsuit ($89); Neuw Denim leather jacket ($659); Komono sunglasses ($60); Olive & Pique hat ($48); Pamela Love crescent moon ring ($190), silver star/moon collar ($250), and lariats ($190-275); Vanessa Mooney earrings ($87); AK Vintage gold necklace ($82); Lauren Wolf star ring ($64) and spikey ring ($97); Stone Unearthen rings ($106); Faris circular bracelet ($195); Fay Andrada thin gold bracelets ($129/set of three); Soko gold collar ($81) and cuff ($58); and Circadian Studios cuffs in gold ($122), rose gold ($124), and brass ($38); all available at Azalea (Hayes Valley), azaleasf.com.

Originally published for 7x7 on May 15, 2015.

The Battle for the Best Denim

We can’t wear red carpet gowns all the time, yet we want to look red carpet stylish everyday. To that end, we asked celebrity wardrobe stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney to weigh in on the best denim around, right now. The advice:

Which are the best jeans out there? I get asked this loaded question all the time. First of all, there is not one jean that works for all women. If that were true, you wouldn’t need my advice. The most important thing to do is to try as many designs, washes and brands as you can. I am in the business of telling the fashion truth so I will do my best not to steer you astray in the Battle for the Best Denim.

If you are tall, lean and long in the torso, you can get away with wearing Stella McCartney’s high waist, wide-leg jean. The cuff of the jean hits the ground with a grand throwback, ’70s inspiration that makes me swoon. Super euro chic, this jean can be dressed up or down. My suggestion: wear it like Stella would with a matching denim shirt or a boy blazer. Victoria Beckham makes a similar style with front pockets and button details that are so cute I could kiss them.

Frame Denim is one of my favorite brands for various reasons, but most importantly because of the stretch each pair provides and the variety in washes and colors. They look good on most of my clients, particularly the designs that taper at the ankle allowing for boots, booties or stilettos; shorter skinny versions available for the spring and summer. Of course, they also have wide-leg and boyfriend options. If you are feeling particularly saucy, give their distressed skinny denim a try in black or gray. They’re sexy and a little rock ‘n roll.

 

Mother denim is another great option for those looking to tuck and accentuate. I like to call it the Mother ship of denim since the company took the lead in curating an on-trend jean that was well made with thick fabric and in flattering styles. It was no surprise to me that in February 2015 Mother chose bombshell Candice Swanepoel to collaborate and create her own capsule collection for the brand. You know when a Victoria’s Secret Angel takes to designing she will cater to your curves. Plus, it’s 90s inspired, which makes it so very on trend. Please don’t stop with Candice’s designs, try them all, you will thank me.

Finally, I find that Current Elliott and J Brand can both come in and clinch the win when nothing seems to fit right. If you have wider hips or a shorter torso, these brands seem to have your number. Makes sense, considering Emily Current and Merritt Elliott started as wardrobe stylists. They know the female body and they make a boyfriend jean that knows it, too. J Brand is one ofKate Middleton‘s favorites and you know she has tried them all! Easy to wear, great stretch and more conservative, J Brand also provides a dressier jean option for the woman who wants a cleaner look.

 

There you have it – the arsenal you need to lock it down and win the endless denim battle. So, go on, get your jean on and if you need a second opinion, you know where to find me.

Originally Published for Red Carpet Bay Area on April 22, 2015.

Pretty Not Peculiar: Words to Live By

It was a sunny 70 degrees in San Francisco on April 2, 2015 when Neiman Marcus presented current fashions and pre-fall looks on the runway at a benefit luncheon and show for the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary. An audience of some 450 chic supporters gathered at the Fairmont Hotel for the occasion.

As I entered the cocktail reception, per usual, I focused in on the sights below the necklines. As a wardrobe stylist, my business is paying attention to the details from the neck down. At first glance, I noticed a bevy of stylish, sophisticated women double kissing and showering one another with Emily Post appropriate niceties. They all looked lovely, but then I zoomed in on something extra enticing —  a Mary Katrantzou flirty, baby blue structured ballerina dress. Later, I saw the same dress in the runway show. Next I noticed a bold and uber chic off the shoulder Faith Connexion tuxedo jacket and metallic pleated skirt with Sophia Webster gladiator heeled sandals and a chartreuse, or was it yellow, Dior clutch — it was none other than Sonya Molodetskaya. I would be remiss not to mention the Rubin Singer cream and black printed dress with a structured cape on the gorgeousSobia A. Shaikh, or the fact that Damion Matthews was as dapper and chicly understated as ever in a black fitted suit and monochromatic shirt and tie combo, his hair styled to perfection. I served as Damion’s fashion accessory in a few Drew Altizer photos, wearing my own geometric, metallic Kenzo dress and Gianvito Rossi sandals.

The quintessential “ladies who lunch” definitely aspired to turn up their own fashion quotient in freshly pressed Dolce and Gabbana printed dresses and multicolored handbags. Some misses, of course, but I won’t kiss and tell here — call me for the scoop! A rainbow of pastels paired with moto jackets, dramatic costume jewelry and even a few white pumps — as seen on the marvelous Karen Caldwell — made it into the room. It was as though Ken Downing sent out a memo asking everyone to step up their fashion game.

Ave Seltsam took the stage looking like a porcelain doll in her picture perfect white floral print dress and her even more perfect red hair and thanked the crowd for their overwhelming support of the San Francisco Ballet. Mr. Ken Downing then sauntered in, hands in his pockets, with presence and charisma that only he can own. He began by reminiscing about the 1960s and ’70s and referencedStevie Nicks as his style inspiration for Neiman Marcus’s first collection. “Pretty not peculiar,” he told the audience, were fashion words bestowed on him by his mother. I am unsure if the majority of the audience adhered to that rule, but they nodded feverishly nonetheless.

here is nothing quite like a bellowing Stevie Nicks song to get the fashion party started. The show began with fringe handbags worn over jackets and vests paired with long, voluminous peasant skirts that skimmed the floor so gracefully I swear I had to wipe a tear from my eye. Modern, oversized leather motos in cream, cozy knitted cable sweaters thrown over beaded evening gowns and structured gold embellished Saint Laurent “Sergeant Pepper” inspired jackets hung delicately over the models’ shoulders while they walked with serious intention. Hair was equally serious, parted ever-so-carefully down the middle, chignons and slicked back ponytails.  An occasional feather headdress donned the heads of some of the models, leaving some of us confused but amused. It’s fair to say, the immaculate white runway hardly stood a chance against the rebellion of Ken Downing’s styling touch.

The second segment was dedicated to creams and whites and included a Veronica Beard white jacket with a metallic collar and matching white tuxedo pants, long cream trenches over monochromatic printed maxi dresses, and big and burly faux fur vests in cream made their cameo and not surprisingly with spring so fervently in the air. I was so lucky to have remembered my own white tuxedo jacket. God forbid I not fit in!

Lastly, Downing encouraged the amused audience to dance on their chairs ala Studio 54 and just like that, a barrage of glitter, shimmer and rock and roll proceeded down the runway. I’ll admit, the Tom Ford sequin jersey dress that Beyonce wore while on tour in Amsterdam in 2014 is a bit played out and may have encouraged a yawn or two, but the Tom Ford shimmer bell bottoms that bounced their way into my heart did not disappoint. Gold brocade coats over mod floral printed dresses and short shorts paraded down the runway like a scene from Disco Inferno.

The show ended with a thoughtful applause and most everyone stood in ovation for Neiman Marcus’ fashion director, Ken Downing. Leaving me in amused bewilderment over those that chose to stay seated (Emily Post would not approve). All audience members were then encouraged to come shop the runway show at Neiman Marcus. Many left, but the tried, the true and those with money to burn, couldn’t get there fast enough. Besides, who can pass up an opportunity to shop and be styled by the man, the legend himself, Ken Downing? All in all, a successful event for the San Francisco Ballet and one I hope to attend again next year.

— STORY BY CELEBRITY STYLIST MARY GONSALVES KINNEY@MGKSTYLE

—PHOTOS BY DREW ALTIZER PHOTOGRAPHY

Originally published for Red Carpet Bay Area on April 11, 2015.