Fashion Hause: Guardian style intern Chloe Schildhause talks trends and togs.

A shopping experience should be a symphony of contradictions. It should take your breath away and make you hyperventilate with excitement. It should make you feel deprived if you have purchased nothing, and yet somehow satisfied by just by witnessing the awesome creations that you have just touched and caressed (or possibly even tried on!)

Few boutiques create such an emotion to that ultimate climax. My favorites are both in Europe: Dover Street Market in London and Colette in Paris. But, there is American hope in a little boutique called Acrimony, nestled on a side street on the Hayes Valley strip.

Nuj Novakhett.jpg
The Hayes boutique carries fashionable couture from designers like Nuj Novakhett.

Shopping at Acrimony is an amazing experience. Their collection includes pieces by high brow designers such Hussein Chalayan and the well-constructed fashions of Quail, Hellz Bellz, United Bamboo, and YMC. It’s the place where you can spot all those too-cool-to-be true fashion you find in magazines like i-D and Purple.

On my first visit, I tried on a gorgeous sailor-inspired strapless dress with navy fabric and white trim on the bodice. It was sailor inspired, but not costumey and tacky, and it felt like a dream. I’d have to be in a dream to afford the $500 price tag, but I felt happy in that moment just being able to wear it. Too bad I had to leave it behind.

Although I left with no dress, I did leave with some Japanese candy offered at the counter and a shaky feeling of excitement that comes when one has just experienced a euphoric moment. That is Acrimony – just go, trust me.

515 Gough, SF. (415) 861-1025,

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