These successful Bay Area gents prove that success also comes with an eye on the art of fashion.
Co-founder and creative director, Gershoni Creative
When Gil Gershoni was a child, his biggest fashion inspiration was a gaucho from Argentina who was a traveling salesman: his grandfather. “When he immigrated to Israel and started his life with nothing, he built a successful company from the ground up,” says Gershoni, the co-founder of Gershoni Creative, with offices in San Francisco and Dallas. “He built his business on the honor of his word and impressed upon me the importance of relationships. He always dressed in meticulously tailored suits, silk ties and polished shoes—and he took great care of himself.”
Gershoni follows suit, so to speak, and also takes care of himself and clients like Google, Apple, Spotify, Nike, the BBC, Patrón and the San Francisco Art Institute. This Bay Area creative also is dyslexic and is the founder of Dyslexic Design Thinking, an initiative that showcases how dyslexia offers a heightened advantage—or what Gershoni calls hyper-ability. He has spoken on the subject at South by Southwest, UC Berkeley, the California College of the Arts and San Francisco Design Week. “I’m now collaborating with some fellow dyslexia advocates in San Francisco and in London,” he says. “We’re working on a public art project that will raise awareness for the many talents of dyslexics both here and abroad.”
When it comes to style, Gershoni says fashion is all about self-expression. “It’s a reflection of my character to the outside world,” he says. His favorite designers are fellow dyslexic Paul Smith, Dries Van Noten, Hed Mayner (@hedmayner), Abasi Rosborough and Dzojchen. “Right now, I’m enjoying Balenciaga’s couture version of men’s streetwear, as well as Ozwald Boateng shirts and Deveaux jackets.”
“I look for clothes with a story—pieces that represent a sense of place, experience or person,” Gershoni adds. “However, for certain parties, I’ve been known to visit the costume department at the American Conservatory Theater for a full look.” And how did the pandemic impact him, fashionwise? “There are people who’ve never seen me without a tie on, and that certainly changed over the pandemic,” he says. “I have, however, found a new desire to experiment with fashion as I slowly begin to reenter society. I’m drawn to support small businesses, thoughtful independent designers and gender-neutral clothing. I’m embracing a minimal-maximalist ideal. I only want to wear a few things that give me excessive joy.”
Interior designer and branding expert, founder of frenchCALIFORNIA
For Guillaume Coutheillas, work is tied inextricably to style. The founder of frenchCALIFORNIA says the name he gave to his company, an award-winning branding and design studio founded in 2016, matches the aesthetic that emerged over the course of his life. “It’s at once the Old World sophistication of my Parisian roots blended with the barefoot sensibility of life in California. Nothing too precious, everything with purpose and all of it beautiful,” he says.
The designer, who has lived in both Paris and New York, says the Bay Area has its own fashion microclimates—a sensibility he loves. “You see people really dressed up going to the symphony in couture gowns, and, a few blocks away, everyone is wearing Patagonia. It’s almost as if each neighborhood had its own style, personality and its own climate.” As for a post-pandemic perspective, Coutheillas says the year gave him an opportunity to reexamine life and find gratitude in the simplest things. “Maybe this somewhat sunnier disposition has snuck into my style a bit. I find myself gravitating toward a lighter and brighter palette.”
For nights on the town, Coutheillas has a range of go-to looks, including a Saint Laurent suit with Converse Chuck Taylors, or a vintage Lanvin tuxedo blazer with black Levi’s 512 jeans and sneakers. He also favors suits by Tom Ford, shoes from Del Toro and jewelry from Kim Dunham, especially the custom signet ring he wears daily. Local boutiques he can’t live without include Sui Generis for vintage pieces and D&H Jewelers for chains and rings.
Coutheillas also has a rule when he and his husband host guests at home: They dress the same as if they were going out. This is also when he’s happiest: “When we’re having people over, and I look around the table and everyone is laughing and drinking, and then I see my husband at the other end of the table—or next to me—enjoying himself and telling stories.” Style points, indeed.
Co-owner, Sacramento Kings
Chris Kelly is one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific entrepreneurs. As a young lawyer, he realized the importance of privacy in the digital era and became the tech industry’s first chief privacy officer. He brought the title to Facebook in 2005 and became employee number 25 at the company. In the years that followed, he dabbled in a little bit of everything. He ran for the office of the attorney general of California. He produced films, including the award-winning documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. He launched an investment firm that funds companies seeking to improve the world through media, film and technology. Today, he’s focusing on applied quantum intelligence and the video podcasting platform Fandor. Oh, and he’s the co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
A man with this many eggs in his basket might not have time for fashion, but it seems Kelly has time for everything—including his style. He’s a massive fan of Trunk Club, Nordstrom’s personal styling service, and has been a longtime shopper at Wilkes Bashford, where he seeks out his go-to designers, Zegna, Joseph Abboud and Ike Behar. Kelly enjoys fashion because it’s “a way to say who you are without having to speak,” a quote he attributes to stylist Rachel Zoe.
There’s an element of humor to many of his more formal looks. Kelly says he loves “contrasting fancy sneakers with more formal suits” and wears OluKai flip-flops with fancier clothes. One thing he never leaves the house without? His intent bracelet with the word “flow” engraved on it. “It reminds me to concentrate on releasing and allowing things to flow,” he says. Making going with the flow fashionable? Now that’s something we can all get behind.
Vice president and general manager, Neiman Marcus Palo Alto (neimanmarcus.com)
Todd Hoyles spends his days surrounded by fashionable designs, bespoke home goods and luxury beauty products. The vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus, Palo Alto, knows style. While his entire career has centered around the retail industry—Hoyles worked at Bloomingdale’s, Gap, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue before arriving four years ago at Neiman Marcus—“I’m so excited and grateful to be approaching my first full year in Palo Alto,” he says. “After working in San Francisco, Atlanta and L.A., to name a few, I absolutely love it here.”
What does he love in terms of clothing? “A fitted black Dior suit with a tailored boot and crisp white shirt,” he says of a look that Hoyles wore pre-pandemic at one of the many social events Neiman Marcus sponsored. He also favors “a formal velvet jacket with black denim” for fall. Hoyles’ go-to designers include Tom Ford; he says he “loves his confidence and the unapologetic way he approaches fashion.” Hoyles also admires Kim Jones and the impact the designer has had at Dior (“It’s elevated and so cool”). Besides Neimans, Hoyles shops at Paul Smith for fun and whimsical accessories, Todd Synder for great basics and Just One Eye, a boutique in L.A., for special, unique pieces. His go-to accessory is the scarf, and he has quite the collection. “I have many. It’s the quintessential accessory that can be iconic and a great travel piece.”
Hoyles is constantly on the hunt for fashion inspiration and finds it in the usual (Instagram and print magazines) and unusual (people-watching at Neimans) places. “Never underestimate people-watching,” he says. “We live in such a fast-paced, digital society; it’s amazing what inspiration I find every day by doing this!”
Photography by: Photographed by Brendan Mainini