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The Best of the Valley: Style

Kate Evans, Carolyn Jung, Anh-Minh Le, and Lydia Lee | January 4, 2017 | Story Best of the Bay

Read more from the Best of the Valley 2017 here.


Accessories: Kayu

Burlingame
Even the most tech-savvy and forward-thinking among us can appreciate old-school traditions. That seems to be especially true of admirers of one local accessories company. “Our collection is rooted in the past and the luxury of the handmade,” says Kayu founder Jamie Lim. “Our bags take many days to make and are made using techniques that have been passed down through generations.” Lim grew up in Southeast Asia, surrounded by artisanal crafts. With Kayu, she is able to “preserve and promote these crafts and also provide jobs to the artisans,” she adds.

After launching six years ago and getting her clutches and totes into more than 200 stores—including Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and J.Crew—Lim opened her first brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Burlingame, not far from her headquarters, in July 2016. The 500-square-foot flagship stocks the entire Kayu range—including the best-selling St. Tropez seagrass tote adorned with colorful pompoms—as well as lines that complement Lim’s: naturally dyed scarves by Dear Indigo, handsculpted pieces by Takara Jewelry and Amour Vert apparel that relies on sustainable fabrics. Since a portion of profits are donated to charities such as Unite for Sight and Awareness Cambodia, shoppers can further feel good about their purchases. 112 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, 650.235.9699


Menswear: Brogue Gentlemen’s Shop
Menlo Park
It’s a classic entrepreneurial tale: See a void and fill it. In Mack Yuan’s case, he recognized a need for a top-of-the-line men’s clothing boutique in Silicon Valley and opened Brogue Gentlemen’s Shop in April 2016. “To me, fashion means something timeless and the finest quality—not only the look or style,” he says. Hence, he has stocked his 750-square-foot store with handmade shoes by Alden; haberdashery by tie- and shirt-maker Robert Talbott, whose button-ups for Brogue are fabricated in Monterey; and apparel by Burgus Plus and Dehen 1920. For the new year, Yuan plans to bring in more exclusive designs by Alden, the most popular brand in his shop. “On the first day we opened,” he recalls, “some Alden fans even came from Sacramento.” Devotees in the Valley are fortunate to have an easier trek to satisfy their sartorial cravings. 781 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650.561.4237


Jewelry: Sethi Couture
Los Altos
Edgy meets Old World elegance—that’s what Sethi Couture, the newest fine jewelry store in downtown Los Altos, is all about. Pratima Sethi started the jewelry line in 2009 and was joined a year later by her younger sister, Prerna. The duo took over the space previously occupied by Earthworks, which also carried their jewelry. This marks the first retail store for the sisters, who plan to move their entire operations down to Los Altos (their studio is currently in San Francisco). For the two, who grew up in Sunnyvale and attended high school in Palo Alto, it marks a coming home of sorts.

The store is done up in tranquil dove-gray shades, all the better to show off the sparkle of the pink, green, black and other colored diamonds for which they are known, in antique settings such as the rose, which is flat on the bottom and features a crown of triangular facets that narrow like petals. It’s no coincidence that they specialize in diamond jewelry. After all, they grew up with a mother who started a diamond business 40 years ago.

The sisters take inspiration from their heritage, especially their grandparents’ home in India, adorned with mosaics of delicate scroll and deco details. Their top sellers are diamond stacking ring bands, each of which can be purchased separately, often to mark a special occasion, and can be mixed and matched according to whim. Besides their own line, with pieces that start at $800 for a simple pendant necklace, the store also sells jewelry by 15 other designers, along with select lifestyle items such as leather totes and handmade wooden chopping boards. “Our philosophy is to elevate the everyday,” says Prerna. “Jewelry and the finer things should be treasured every day, not just tucked away for a special occasion.” 290 Main St., Los Altos, 650.948.5141

Originally published in the January issue of Silicon Valley

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