North Beach could soon become San Francisco’s go-to destination for retro fashion fans. Since the well-received arrival of Vacation earlier this year, two more vintage clothing stores have recently joined the neighborhood shopping scene.
Last month, Missing Audrey Vintage opened at 1767 Stockton Street. Owner and North Beach resident Sabrina Bodnar ran the online store for seven years before branching out with her new physical space.
“For the neighbors in North Beach, it’s kind of a hike to get to Mission and Haight, so it’s great that there’s more vintage popping up here,” she tells Hoodline. “The locals have been so kind and supportive.”
Bodnar named her store after the punk band she was in as a teenager. She also chose this name because it evokes a nostalgic vibe.
“It’s about missing an era or a period,” she explains.
The artfully designed interior by Missing Audrey exudes a groovy bohemian vibe. An eye-catching ribbon of stripes painted in bold shades of brown, rust and yellow snakes along the top of a wall. Other decorative touches include a large framed photo of a young Jefferson airplane perched on a shelf among leather bags as well as posters of classic 60s movies like Barbarelle and Explode.
A photo of Jefferson Airplane sits among retro leather bags at Missing Audrey Vintage. | Photo credit: Dorothy O’Donnell
Bodnar has a thing for 60s and 70s fashion, but she also has a variety of pieces from other eras.
“We have clothes from the 1910s to the 1990s here,” she says. “I like to think we’ve got all our bases covered.”
You’ll find some of these older garments among the silky pastel-hued nightgowns and bathrobes that fill a nook near the walk-in closet. The shop also has a solid assortment of rare vintage band t-shirts.
Audrey’s missing landlady Sabrina Bodnar (left) and employee Summer Givens pose among a sea of retro nightgowns and bathrobes. | Photo credit: Dorothy O’Donnell
A few blocks away, a mix of sophisticated glamor and fun casual dress awaits you at Via Margutta Vintage (1455 Grant Avenue). Buzz about the store has been building since it opened two months ago.
Owner Jason Galloway and his husband Victor Perez had a vintage store in Los Angeles until the pandemic forced them to close it. The couple decided to make a fresh start in San Francisco where they had both previously lived.
Owner Jason Galloway in his new Grant Avenue boutique, Via Margutta Vintage. | Photo credit: Dorothy O’Donnell
“We didn’t know if we were going to be able to reopen the store, but rents in North Beach are pretty good right now,” notes Galloway, who manages the store and purchases most of its inventory. “It was one of those things where you couldn’t say no. I’ve always loved Grant Avenue and the shops here. We thought our boutique would fit in perfectly with the North Beach vibe. The response has been fantastic.
The old-school Hollywood aesthetic of Via Margutta reflects the couple’s passion for film. (It’s named after the street in Rome where Italian director Frederico Fellini and his wife, actor Giulietta Masina lived.) A large black-and-white photo of a Masina kid adorns the back wall of the shop. Other images of movie stars like Isabella Rossellini, Meryl Streep and Fernando Lamas stare at you from other walls. And it’s hard to miss the delightfully kitschy pink and turquoise painting of a caped Elvis greeting you near the entrance.
Fun and a touch of Hollywood glamor coexist at Via Margutta. | Photo credit: Dorothy O’Donnell
Galloway’s background in costume design helped spark her interest in vintage clothing and accessories. During his previous stint in San Francisco, he spent eight years as a librarian at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and took care of its costumes. He also worked in costume research for a TV show and wears costume-worthy clothes in Via Margutta.
Classic designer pieces and other treasures fill the shelves of Via Margutta. | Photo credit: Dorothy O’Donnell
According to Galloway, designer resale, such as classic pieces by Christian Dior and Carolina Herrera, is proving popular with its buyers.
“I just sold the most beautiful La Mendola dress from the 70s,” he says. “But we also have $18 t-shirts and quite a few options for men. So we have a bit of something for everyone.
He says he enjoys learning the history of the plays he organizes for Via Margutta. And he loves to hear stories from customers who buy them. The woman who bought this La Mendola dress, for example, said she was a Jeopardy contestant and used part of her winnings to buy it.
Of course, you don’t need to strike it rich on a game show to score your next vintage gem in North Beach. With three great stores catering to a range of tastes and budgets, you’re sure to hit the jackpot.
Via Margutta is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Audrey’s missing hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.