Tuesday, Prada celebrated the grand opening of the new San Francisco flagship store at 201 Post Street, with a spectacular gala event catered by none other than award-winning Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se acclaim.
The Italian luxury fashion house that is Prada had been planning to open a flagship store, or Epicenter as they like to call it, in the City by the Bay for well over 10 years. According to Joanne Ramey of Women's Wear Daily, the original plan was to open a 10-story steel-sheathed Prada Epicenter which was to be designed by the influential Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas (designer of the Los Angeles Prada Epicenter) across the street from what is now the new flagship space. This was to rival the ones in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo, but over the course of the decade, this plan fell through for various reasons, strategic and economic. The current Post Street space housing the new flagship was acquired six years prior to its opening and was left uninhabited in spite of the high rent market of San Francisco to allow for flexibility for its opening. This location on the corner of Grant Avenue and Post Street is ideal considering it is in the midst of other luxury high fashion houses such as Armani, Dior and Versace.
And so this brings us back to the much anticipated day of the opening. The event began promptly at 6pm with a crowd of people - city elite, fashion divas and gastronomes alike, standing in line outside of the building within a black velvet-roped, black carpeted sidewalk that was even flanked by a line of men dressed in all black standing guard side-by-side on the corner of Post & Grant. It was quite the spectacle, with droves of tourists, business folk and city dwellers passing by and wondering what the commotion was all about.