Kimono & Issey Miyake couture: Torso Vintages at San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.

vintage kimono

Do you remember when I visited Torso Vintages, the famed San Francisco purveyors of vintage fashion? I was swept away by their museum-like collection of hats, robes, purses and jewelry from past eras. If only I could play dress-up with their wardrobe…

Thanks to my dear Trevor and the staff of Torso Vintages, this fashion fantasy became reality. Enjoy this very special shoot, featuring a floral kimono, Issey Miyake set, and beautiful flowers!

conservatory of flowers, san francisco

San Francisco was a tad rainy, so Trevor and I scouted out an indoor location. We settled on the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park — a Victorian greenhouse that looks like something out of American Horror Story. Neither of us had ever been here before, which added to the anticipation.

japanese kimono model, fashion

This lush setting was a perfect match for the kimono and purse, which are decorated with flower and leaf motifs. Trevor was my stylist and photographer for the day (you can see more on his Instagram). Love the shape of the fringe top that he picked out for me.

purple orchid flowers

The Conservatory of Flowers is a treasure chest of rare flowers and plants. The skeleton structure dates back to 1878, making it the oldest in America.

san francisco greenhouse, garden

The wings have different climates and themes: Lowland Tropics, Highland Tropics, Aquatic Plants and more.

Trevor sits on a bench in the Potted Plants room, which was probably our favorite. We wished we could sit here all day, reading or meditating.

indoor garden, san francisco

In the Victorian era, upper-class collectors would display their exotic plants in greenhouses like this.

flower kimono robe

This round picture-window created the perfect frame for my Torso Vintages kimono.

issey miyake purple jacket

For my second look, I wore a dark purple Issey Miyake pleated top, jacket and skirt. The Japanese designer is famous for his high-tech, pleated garments.

vintage japanese coat sleeves

Close-up on the sleeves. What an intriguing, custom fabric. (You can get a similar Issey Miyake jacket here.)

三宅 一生 fashion

Pleats, please! The first outfit is traditional, the second futuristic, and both are quintessentially Japanese.

bell shaped plant

I wish I knew more about plant species (I confess I have a bit of a black thumb). I was mesmerized by the hundreds of exotic varieties in the Conservatory, like this trumpet-shaped one.

vintage japanese designer fashion

Follow me, and I’ll show you more marvels…

heart shaped leaves

… like heart-shaped leaves. Look at the delicate veins and strands.

rare issey miyake pleated skirt

It’s intriguing to see the influence of nature on man-made designs. Love the big collar, paneled skirt and shell-like curves of Issey Miyake’s coordinate.

tube shaped plants

Trevor and I could have taken a thousand photos inside the Conservatory. Those colors and patterns!

avantgarde japanese clothing

We kept remarking at how fresh the air was. I felt like my lungs had been cleansed from the inside out.

glass conservatory flowers

It’s a jungle in there. Towering, living, breathing.

blue purple red colored hair

The green theme matched my current hair color: an ombre that flows from blue to purple to magenta. My hairstyle / color is by extraordinarily talented Stephanie Hoy, stylist at Stratosphere Salon in Vancouver.

different shaped green leaves

I didn’t want to “leave”…

decadent green jewelry, bracelet

Details of this magnificent bracelet, which looks at home next to purple orchids.

black purse with flowers

Trevor picked out this velvet purse to match. The flowers and fashion make magic together, don’t you think?

tropics sign

Old-time elegance…

big pink ruffled flower

Explosive flowers… it was a vintage dream come true. Thank you, Trevor and Torso Vintages, for making this shoot happen!

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

There’s a lot to enjoy in San Francisco, no matter what type of traveler you are. (Here are all my SF travel tips, to help you plan a trip).

san francisco botanical gardens

The Conservatory of Flowers is a perfect example of a place that anyone can enjoy.

It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am – 4:30pm, and admission is between $2-8. Address: 100 John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. More info on their website.

kimpton hotels robe, bathrobe

Another look at my blue-purple-red hair. I’m wearing an animal-print bathrobe — these are found in all Kimpton Hotels. (Remember when Rose and I wore these robes at the Seattle Kimpton?)

kimpton hotel prescott room

I stayed at the Prescott San Francisco, a boutique hotel in the SOMA district. It’s part of Kimpton, one of my favorite hotel groups. I particularly look forward to chatting with the staff — they give personalized recommendations, and wear bow ties!

My room was big enough for Trevor to spread out all the clothing he borrowed. The close-up of the purse reveals all the intricate detailing.

black silk retro cocktail dress

I wore long, black silk gown from Torso Vintages for the daily cocktail hour. That’s right: free local wines and cheeses. Yet another reason I heart Kimpton.

kimpton cocktail hour, decor

Kimpton’s decor has an Art Deco feel — yet the rooms are modern and the WiFi is  fast.

kimpton palomar hotel

We went for dinner at the nearby Palomar Hotel, another Kimpton property. The lobby’s light-box seat and bicycle are crying out for Instagram photos. (Yes, I took one of Trevor.)

kimpton hotels san francisco

The recently renovated Palomar has an artsy, hipster vibe.

hip restaurant dirty habit

The decoration is all about big, eye-catching visuals.

Dirty Habit san francisco

We had dinner upstairs at Dirty Habit, an inventive new restaurant that specializes in craft cocktails.

cool hipster san francisco restaurant

We’re adventurous drinkers, and tried the cocktail with a porcini mushroom infusion. Weird, in a great way.

steampunk clockwork wall decoration

Dirty Habit has a laid-back vibe and young clientele. The clockwork gears on the wall are a draw for Steampunk lovers.

dirty habit food san francisco

The menu is constantly changing, and is a mix of fine favorites (like seared scallops) and unexpected combinations (how about yuzu and bacon crumble on coffee cream?). For dessert, we had a memorable Pavlova with madras curry. It doesn’t sound like a combination that would work, and yet it does.

leather swing

It was a short trip to SF, but a fun one! I also did a TV interview with ABC Nightline while I was here, in case you missed it.

Do you wear vintage? What do you think of Torso’s couture collections?



  1. Belly
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Such an awesome read La Carmina

  2. Amui
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    sign me up too I want to go ^-^

  3. Clement
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    WAAAAAAAAAAAA ! cool 写真
    完璧 perfect !

  4. Dolly
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    I cant wait to visit this place! ur life!

  5. Dolly
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Gawd ur so wonderfully wonderful

  6. Alyx
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    The black silk gown was beyond gorgeous! I loved all of those looks and will have to set out to see the conservatory of flowers myself! Maybe take a stop in Torso Vintages as well. Thank you for another wonderful post

  7. Suz
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    The pleats of your top reminded me of the wonderful Fortuny pleated gowns of the 1890s – which were some of the most beautiful clothes ever created

  8. Leah
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Can I join Ms. Carmina? Been trying to reach in messages for a while

  9. Lucid
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Best smelling shoot? ;)

  10. yukiro
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    love that purple madness outfit!! :D

  11. Silver Base
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    awesome hair >_<

  12. prentice
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    always looking super fabulous

  13. Sierra
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    We miss you!

  14. Coco
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:12 am | Permalink


  15. charlie
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    what a pretty place and photos

  16. Sala
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink


  17. boucher
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    just wanted t wish you a happy day.

  18. Benjamin
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Happy valentine’s day

  19. Seran
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 1:59 am | Permalink


  20. Mark
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    awesome colors and textures : ]

  21. QUEEN H
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 5:22 am | Permalink


  22. unicorn <3
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 5:22 am | Permalink


  23. drew
    Posted February 15, 2015 at 4:05 am | Permalink


  24. Darn lo
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Luxurious places.

  25. Start Business in Delhi
    Posted April 9, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Great article, Thanks for your great information, the content is quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.

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