C California Style

Photographed in the European and Decorative Arts Gallery at the LEGION OF HONOR MUSEUM, KATIE TRAINA (left) and DEDE WILSEY flank designer ANDREW GN while wearing gowns from his eponymous label’s Pre-Fall 2015 collection.
HILLARY THOMAS (left), ALLISON SPEER and DR. CAROLYN CHANG in a retrospective of the designer’s gowns that echo the sumptuousness of the restored salon.
Arts philanthropists YURIE PASCARELLA (left) and AKIKO YAMAZAKI and their Gn gowns perfectly evoke the ancien régime details of the Legion’s Salon Doré.

Patrons’ Saint

by C California Style

Paris-based designer andrew gn finds a second home in the Bay Area, where his fresh take on Old World Grandeur and emphasis on fine craftsmanship play to a rapt audience. Together, he and his “Gn-ettes” hold court at the Legion of Honor.

Bowing his gloriously bald pate, framed in a signature black turtle-neck, fashion designer Andrew Gn briefly fusses over the fold on one of his gowns and swiftly adjusts the lay of its hem. Then he repositions for the camera with his friends and models, Bay Area arts patrons Yurie Pascarella and Akiko Yamazaki, in the Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco.

This restored 18th-century French neoclassical setting is picture-perfect for the Paris-based designer’s glamorously lush creations. Draped in Gn gowns, the Gn-ettes, who for this shoot also include Katie Traina and her mother-in-law, Fine Arts Museums Board President Dede Wilsey; Dr. Carolyn Chang (vice chairman for the Department of Plastic Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center); PR pro Allison Speer; and interior designer Hillary Thomas. “The ‘Gn-ettes’ is an endearing term I came up with out of love for my friends here. It’s not like we’re a gang,” he giggles.

Singapore-born Gn, 50, is at home amongst the Legion’s vast trove of 16th- to 21st-century European decorative arts, sculptures and paintings. He grew up surrounded by art and determined at a young age to study fashion design. He graduated from the renowned Central Saint Martins art school in London and earned his master’s at the prestigious Domus Academy in Milan. Upon graduation in 1992, Gn was immediately hired to assist Emanuel Ungaro in Paris.

In 1996, he launched his eponymous label in France where he manufactures the majority of his collections. Sans stand-alone boutiques, Gn sells his collections online on Moda Operandi and globally, at the likes of Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Harrods in London and Saks Fifth Avenue Dubai.

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Photography by Aubrie Pick.
Written by Catherine Bigelow.