Each month we share five unmissable things to see and do in the Golden State. You heard it here first.



A New Boutique Prioritizes Olfactory Inspiration

The storied selection of unique and difficult-to-find fragrances stocked at The Scent Room has arrived in Larchmont, joining a beauty-filled boulevard known for its grouping of outposts including Credo, Thirteen Lune, and Diptyque. The boutique, first founded in Dallas, debuts in L.A. with an extensive selection of more than 500 rare perfumes from a worldwide trove of independent makers, plus fragrant candles and room sprays — all available to smell and layer. Cofounder Sam Clark designed the 1,100-square-foot space with natural materials including wood, stone, and metals to evoke the intersection of plants with people who use ancient or modern methods to create scents from fragrant flowers, fruits, and aromatic herbs and spices. Perhaps the smell of the forest canopy feels refreshing, or salt spray from the ocean evokes a particular memory, or a field of blooms is calming. Finding a new perfume or spotting a long-lost favorite while wandering through the collection of ambient smells may even result in a bit of self-discovery. 142½ N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A., 310-526-7746; thescentroom.com. E.V.

The SF Ballet Kicks Off a Fresh Season with a New Director

After nearly 40 years at the helm of the SF Ballet, Helgi Tómasson bid adieu to his beloved troupe. This season at the War Memorial Opera House marks a changing of the guard with the arrival of the company’s new director (and the first woman to hold the post), Tamara Rojo, the Spanish phenom who was a lead principal dancer and then artistic director at the English National Ballet. Rojo drew inspiration from San Francisco for her debut season, which kicks off this month with Mere Mortals, a modern dreamlike retelling of Pandora’s Jar, which draws many parallels to today, including the unintended consequences of technology. The season continues with a performance of Marguerite and Armand, which was created in 1963 specifically for dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, who were famously arrested in San Francisco during the summer of love after trying to evade police by jumping across rooftops. Dos Mujeres features the timeless stories of Carmen and of Frida Kahlo — another Spanish woman whose creativity was unleashed on the city by the bay. 301 Van Ness Ave., 415-865-2000; sfballet.org. K.M.

The Slanted Door Finds a New Home in Napa

For ten years, Charles Phan, the James Beard Award–winning chef-owner of San Francisco’s legendary restaurant The Slanted Door, quietly searched for a location to expand in Napa Valley. Eventually he stumbled upon a standalone farmhouse-style building off the beaten path: He was drawn to its proximity downtown Napa and Oxbow, but liked that it was removed enough to be a go-to spot for locals. The modern, spacious 220-seat Olle Lundberg–designed eatery, which opened recently, features a circular bar and an interior courtyard with a roaring fireplace. On the menu are longtime favorites like the shaking beef and the daikon rice cakes alongside a roster of newfangled Vietnamese dishes (think chicken claypot, caramelized shrimp, and gua choy cua). For a town with a famously early bedtime, perhaps the best part about Phan’s latest endeavor is that dinner is served until 10 p.m., with a special bar menu in the works for gourmands in search of a (near) midnight snack. 1650 Soscol Ave., Napa; slanteddoor.com. K.M.

A Reimagined Oceanfront Hotel on a Rocky Cliffside

On the cliffs above Main Beach in Laguna, Casa Loma Beach Hotel is emerging as a reimagined boutique hotel, tapping into the region’s roots as a seaside haven for creatives, bohemians, artists, and surfers. Venice-based architecture and interior design firm Electric Bowery is helming the redesign of the 70-room property, incorporating the sandy neutral tones and textures of the cliff-top coastal environs and the green shades of both the adjacent Pacific Ocean tide pools and the Mallorcan coves of the Mediterranean. This month, the first new rooms open at Casa Loma, formerly The Inn at Laguna Beach, with panoramic views of rocks teeming with barnacles, sea snails, anemone, kelp, and fish as well as close proximity to the city’s downtown restaurants and galleries. Clay tiles in the lobby bar and lounge evoke the city’s famed makers and craftspeople, while custom beds and built-in guest room desks are influenced by the region’s surfboard shapers. Part of Marc & Rose Hospitality, the storied hotel includes a pool overlooking the dramatic seascape, and the organic shapes of the slopes leading to the sea are echoed throughout the interiors. 211 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 800-544-4479; casalomalagunabeach.com. E.V.

Closet Confidential

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are opening the doors to one of the most important collections of 20th- and 21st-century women’s costume in the country — and spotlighting the inimitable style of Bay Area tastemakers over the past 100 years — with Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style at the de Young Museum, which runs January 20 through August 11. Through the work of more than 50 fashion designers, from unique pre-1920s Callot Sœurs ensembles and early haute couture pieces by Chanel, Lanvin, Patou, and Grés to looks by Saint Laurent, Galanos, Ferré, Galliano, McQueen, Rodarte, and Christopher John Rogers, the exhibition is the first in more than 35 years to share the depth and breadth of the institution’s costume holdings. Highlights include Christian Dior’s iconic Soirée de Paris haute couture evening dress designed by Saint Laurent for fall/winter 1955 and worn by philanthropist Eleanor Christenson de Guigne; a Sybil Connolly evening ensemble that Denise Hale wore to meet Queen Elizabeth in 1983; and a jacket for Comme des Garçons’ fall 2015 collection from the avant-garde wardrobe of Norah Stone. Other looks and accessories chronicle the style and times of San Francisco’s social swans and influencers like Jeanne Magnin, Elizabeth Meyerfeld Roos, Ethel Harriman Russell, Dodie Rosekrans, Ann Getty, Yuri Pascarella, Christine Suppes, and Tatiana Sorokko, in a bid to put The City by the Bay on the same fashion footing as Paris, London, Milan, and New York. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., S.F., 415-750-3600; famsf.org. D.N.


January 2024

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