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					                           THE GET

                                                    I N- S T O R E   California Closets
                                    SUSAN FOSLIEN DRESSES THE BAY AREA THE AVANT-GARDE WAY.
                                         SANDRA BALLENTINE MEETS THE RADICAL RETAILER.

       1. Nothing makes Susan Foslien                                1                          denim,’’ she says. ‘‘These jeans
              hotter under her Comme des                                                        are so cool and minimal. Most
          Garçons collar than people who                                                        importantly, they suck you right in.
          think Northern Californians have                                                      Women are buying them like
         no style. ‘‘It’s irritating,’’ she says.                                               popcorn.’’
              ‘‘We have more fashion here                                                       7. Foslien collects art the way
          than you think.’’ Foslien opened                                                      other women collect accessories.
         her stylish store Susan in the San                                                     A favorite artist, Susan P. Long,
           Francisco suburb Burlingame in                                                       died four years ago, but that hasn’t
      1983 and has since opened another                                                         stopped her from trying to buy more
            Susan in San Francisco, with a                                                      works, like this one from Long’s
      more casual offshoot — the Grocery                                                        estate. ‘‘Her pieces depict real
                Store — near each of them.                                                      moments in life for me.’’
          2. Foslien proclaims this the                                                         8. For this season, Foslien’s
            season of the dress. Those by             2                                         buying buzzwords were ‘‘romantic,’’
       Lanvin, she says, are ‘‘killer.’’ She’s                                                  ‘‘feminine’’ and ‘‘slightly safe,’’
         especially taken with this geisha-                                                     all embodied by this silk-and-lace
             inspired silk number, which is                                                     frock by Barbara Tfank, a former
       $1,890 at Susan. ‘‘You can wear it                                                       costume designer for films.
            to a wedding — or even down                                                         ‘‘Barbara’s designs are beautifully
           the aisle! — with Lanvin’s black                                                     orchestrated,’’ Foslien says.
            satin platform shoe, or dress it                                                    ‘‘I would wear it to a chic garden
            down and wear it over pants.’’                                                      party.’’ ($3,120 at Susan.)
         3. By day, the Bay Area is pretty                                                      9. Her candidate for cutest
        casual. ‘‘We have a Mediterranean                                                       evening bag? This calf leather
         climate,’’ Foslien says, ‘‘so knee-                                                    wristlet from Balenciaga. The

                                                                                                                                         1. AND 4. ROBYN TWOMEY. 7. ESTATE OF SUSAN LONG. 10. TONY CENICOLA. ALL OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENS MORTENSEN.
           length shorts, like this pair from                                                   crystals form the zodiac sign for
                Marni, and a great ballerina                                                    Taurus. It’s $1,495 at Susan.
               flat are really practical. This
               print makes Bermudas look                                                        10. Foslien’s musical taste is as
            fresh again.’’ ($520 at Susan.)                                                     varied as her closet. When she’s
                                                                                                not singing along to Gwen Stefani’s
                                                                                                ‘‘Hollaback Girl,’’ she skews
                                                                                                highbrow with the pianist Fujiko
                                                                                                Hemming. Hemming’s recordings
                                                                                                are at
                                                              4                                 11. ‘‘San Francisco isn’t what
                                                                                                I’d call a sexy town,’’ Foslien says.
                                                                                                ‘‘It’s more of a sensual town. I’m
                                                                                 9              not going to buy a truckload of
                   5                                                                            miniskirts, cleavage to the navel or
                                                                                                too-sheer fabrics.’’ Instead, she
       4. Susan carries a cache of one-                                                         focuses on limited editions, like this
           of-a-kind pieces by the Parisian
      jeweler Taher Chemirik. ‘‘He used to
        design jewelry for Chanel,’’ Foslien
       explains. This gold, diamond, pearl
      and tourmaline necklace is $10,400.
         5. With a keen eye toward the
       East, Foslien imports 10 Japanese
              lines. Her most recent Tokyo            6
              find is Toga, designed by the
       newcomer Yasuko Furuta. ‘‘This is                                                        hand-woven silk dress from
          the first season she’s been sold                                                      Rodarte, $8,740 at Susan. ‘‘Our
       outside of Japan, and I think she’s                                                      customer doesn’t want
          one to watch.’’ Her feather-light                                                     things that everyone else has.’’
      bolero is $325 at the Grocery Store.
                                                                                                12. Last but not least, one of
        6. There’s no doubt in Foslien’s                                                        Foslien’s all-time favorites: Junya
             mind as to which pants would                                                       Watanabe. ‘‘I was the first American
          look best under the Lanvin dress                                                      to carry him.’’ She’d put this trench
             above: J Brand’s dead-simple                                                       (shown from the back; $1,560 at
      stretch-cotton cigarette jeans ($180                                                      Susan) over a tee and jeans. ‘‘When
        at the Grocery Store). ‘‘We’ve had                                   7                  I buy designers like Junya, I’m not
       enough raggy, ripped, embellished                                                        buying clothes; I’m buying art.’’ ■