Joy Bianchi with one of her favorite YSL dresses
I recently paid a visit to Joy Venturini Bianchi and toured her amazing treasure trove of couture on Fulton Street in San Francisco, where the sale of Bianchi’s extensive collection of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories supports Helpers of the Mentally Retarded, a private non-profit organization.
Joy Bianchi has been passionate for decades about caring for those struggling with mental retardation. As she is also passionate about beautiful clothing, she’s very lucky in being able to unite the two. She helps those who need help, and has fun surrounding herself with unique clothing that spans the decades.
Joy with Friends, circa 1966
One needs to make an appointment in order to shop from the large private collection (which is housed in a very secure location in the City), but she often hosts shopping parties to open the collection up to larger groups of people — I recommend that any serious collector of vintage couture make it a point to check out the collection.
I was truly surprised by the variety in the collection. There are important 1960s pieces from Norman Norell, Givenchy, Courreges; iconic 1970s pieces from Yves Saint Laurent and Halston; and major contemporary pieces from Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Rucci. But the most eye-opening part is the extensive Geoffrey Beene collection, which spans the designers career from the 1960s through the 1990s (all of the dresses seen below are by Beene.)
You will also find shoes, bags and costume jewelry at the house. Here are some pieces that caught my eye.
Chanel Camelia from 1994. $465.00
Butterfly brooch. $268.00
Shoes by Christian Dior
Shoes by Manolo Blahnik
Text and Photos: Damion Matthews
Further Information: Helpers of the Mentally Retarded [415 – 387 – 3031]