Best Dressed 2019

By Erin Carlson and Anh-Minh Le

Rachman chose an Armani tuxedo in midnight blue for his Nob Hill Gazette photoshoot, adding a Boss shirt, Givenchy shoes, a knotted French cufflink as a lapel pin and a vintage bow tie given to him by his late father-in-law. (Spencer Brown)

Models have runways; Nicole Lacob has a courtside seat at Chase Center. The head of the Warriors’ charitable foundation remains one of the highlights of attending a game. Those in the know wonder, “What’s she going to wear this time?” Lacob’s love of dressing up underscores her deep respect for the art and craft that goes into creating the risk-taking, fashion-forward ensembles she gravitates toward. With similar exuberance, Jonathan Rachman wears his signature tailored tuxes with a wink, setting a match to the myth that San Francisco is losing its style to soulless athleisure. Fine, maybe there’s some truth to the Lululemon epidemic. But when someone preemptively declares the death of fashion in San Francisco, all you need to do is show them this list as evidence to the contrary. Mic drop.

Jonathan Rachman

Besides creating dreamy interiors for a high-profile clientele and running his beloved namesake shop on Market Street, Rachman creates highly coveted Italian leather travel bags (available in his store and through his website, And he’s branching out into scents and will release his first collection next year, with de Gournay packaging each bottle. (Spencer Brown)

In person, Rachman evokes the beautiful rooms he designs: joyful, warm and irreverent. The interior designer recently wowed the City at the San Francisco Decorators Showcase, where he reimagined a drawing room in Le Petit Trianon mansion as a fantasia of luxurious color, pattern and whimsy. He is a collector of curios and people from all over the world; born in Sumatra and based in San Francisco, he’s also lived in Switzerland and Paris. He credits his education and early years in Europe for influencing his polished personal style. “I know what’s appropriate and what’s not,” he says.

For Rachman, that means dressing for the occasion and with respect to one’s hosts. “If you overdress, for me, it’s as bad as underdressed,” he adds. Rachman prefers “quiet luxury,” a twist on the classics from tailored tuxedo jackets to bespoke bowties. And he loves midnight blue. He chose an Armani tuxedo in the color for his Nob Hill Gazette photoshoot, adding a Boss shirt, Givenchy shoes, a knotted French cufflink as a lapel pin and a vintage bow tie given to him by his late father-in-law. “He was so dapper and he liked to dress up also,” recalls Rachman, who believes that clothing shouldn’t overtake the person wearing it. Rather, the person should shine through.

Another chic, but still interesting, look we photographed — a jacket and shorts by Thom Browne, accessorized with Giuseppe Zanotti loafers. “It’s me, it’s fun and whimsical,” he explains. “I’m not too serious, yet there’s an air of elegance to it.” Rachman’s friend Amy Kelly embroidered his design company logo — a bust of the Greek goddess Athena — on the pocket square, another personalized touch.

Despite his wild success, “When it comes down to it, I’m just a humble island boy,” he says. “I really am. I think you’ve seen that part of me. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a formal occasion or I’m going to the beach or I’m going to fly to [Bali] or to London, what you see is what you get.” — Erin Carlson

For a soiree in her garden, Lacob wears a 16Arlington dress trimmed with ostrich feathers, along with Prada earrings and Rochas block-heel sandals. (Drew Altizer Photography)

Nicole Lacob

Full sparkle in an Ashish top, Dolce & Gabbana pants and bracelet by Jason of Beverly Hills at the SFMOMA Art Bash. (Drew Altizer Photography)

Wether she’s helping make dreams come true through the Warriors Community Foundation or eliciting smiles for her bold fashion sense, Nicole Lacob is doing her share to bring joy to others. As the president of the Golden State Warriors’ philanthropic arm, her days are spent monitoring some of the 60-plus organizations that the foundation supports.(Her specialty is grantees focused on high school through college.) And while she does enjoy relaxing evenings at the Atherton home she shares with husband Joe — the majority owner of the NBA team — and their four dogs, when Lacob hits the town she’s hard to miss.

“I love adding a little flair, whether it’s a sparkle or a fluff or just something unexpected,” she says of her idiomatic style. For last month’s San Francisco Symphony gala, which she co-chaired with Rachael Bowman, Lacob opted for a dramatic black-and-white Oscar de la Renta gown with a strapless bow bodice and a frothy skirt composed of layers of tiered tulle, paired with bejeweled black Miu Miu high-heeled mules.

Her ensembles almost always include heels that add 4 to 6 inches to her 5-foot-9-inch frame. “I think being around basketball players makes you want to feel taller,” she notes. (Flats are typically reserved for travel, with Gucci Princetown slippers among her favorites.) Blue, yellow and gold pieces as well as those with a hoops theme — like the custom sequin Libertine jacket commemorating the Warriors’ 2017 championship and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC’s burnt orange handbag that mimics the look of a basketball — populate her wardrobe.

For the 2019–20 season home opener on October 24, Lacob hasn’t yet decided what to wear. She used to sport jeans and a T-shirt on game day, she says, “then I realized that such a large part of my life was going to the games and fashion was missing from that part of my life. So I started dressing up and it’s become my thing now. I like making the crowd and the people who are there happy.” — Anh-Minh Le

Honorable Mentions

The Nob Hill Gazette has chronicled San Francisco’s fashion mavens for four decades — and the list is so epic, it could fill the entire issue! Here are just a few of the standout men and women who grace our pages on the regular.

Power couple: Jack Calhoun and Trent Norris

Calhoun is the former global president of Banana Republic and now works a senior adviser at McKinsey & Company; his attorney husband, Norris, is partner at Arnold & Porter. Together, they’re two of the City’s finest dressers. Calhoun favors a tailored, preppy look, and designers including Prada and Hermès. Norris, meanwhile, prefers classic suits with a sleek, subdued color palette — boardroom chic. Leave the velvet blazers to Calhoun.

John Duggan

The owner of Original Joe’s, the beloved North Beach hangout, is the most dapper restaurateur in town. Duggan regularly sports a sharp suit and tie, and he’s got unparalleled taste in designers — think Brioni or Kiton. It must run in the family: Duggan’s son, John Jr., has inherited his father’s throwback, always-appropriate sense of style.

Pamela Joyner

The philanthropist and art collector is a shining star on society’s best-dressed lists, and her aesthetic —timeless elegance, with a touch of the unexpected — deserves further tribute in the Gazette. Joyner credits Katharine Hepburn as an inspiration. Like the Hollywood icon, she defies fashion trends to blaze her own stunning path.

Hall of Fame

This year’s two winners will be added to our Best-Dressed Hall of Fame. While they won’t be eligible for future honors, their impeccable sense of style will continue to inspire us.

Rosemary Baker, Patrick Barber, Wilkes Bashford, Cheryl Baxter, Kimberly Bini, Nic Bini, Zach Bogue, Jean-Charles Boisset, Barbara Brookins-Schneider, Willie Brown, GibbsBrown, Karen Caldwell, Geoff Callan, Paula Carano, Bandel Carano, Dolly Chammas, Robin Collins, Ted Deikel, Justice Franklin Elia, Ann Getty, Billy Getty, Vanessa Getty, Joel Goodrich, Angelique Griepp, Troy Griepp, Lisa Grotts, Denise Hale, Jim Herbert,Joanne Horning, Stephanie Jenkins, Pamela Joyner, Matthew Kelly, Jean-Charles Larette, Howard Leach, Gregg Lynn, Charlot Malin, Alan Malouf, Stephanie Marver, Marissa Mayer, Ken McNeely, Alex Mehran, Sonya Molodetskaya, Gavin Newsom, Matt Paige, Deepa Pakianathan, Yurie Pascarella, Paul Pelosi, Leslie Podell, Mary Poland, Michael Polenske, Therese Post, Maria Quiros, Urannia Ristow, Sobia Shaikh, OJ Shansby, Gary Shansby, Clara Shayevich, Charlotte Shultz, George Shultz, Tatiana Sorokko, Danielle Steel, Christine Suppes, Lewis Sykes, Paul Thiebaud, Michael Tilson Thomas, Paul Touw, Trevor Traina, Vanessa Traina, Victoria Traina, John Traina, Dede Wilsey, Paul Wiseman, Richard Wollack

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