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Philanthropist

Fashion that pays to be fashionable

Fashion forwards finally can invest in pieces that give back. Philanthropist, a spacious 1,600 square foot boutique nestled in Presidio Heights, houses everything from high-end runway pieces from New York to contemporary basics from Los Angeles. All proceeds from the sale of any item on the floor benefit a select charity, which like fashion, changes with each season. For this fall-winter The Raphael House is the beneficiary.

The founders who integrated passion for fashion with compassion for the community are Jessica Moment and Sally Fowler. Both have ample retail experience including merchandising positions at Gap, Inc. Together the two merged their retail know-how and created a place where fashion benefits charities not just through annual events such as galas, auctions, or balls. Instead, Philanthropist benefits a charity every day of the year.

The boutique is in an elegant space which looks like a dreamy maxi-wardrobe closet that is replete with a 3-clover hot pink seat in the front and an antique seating area in the back. The requisite chandelier and glass coffee table are in place. The hardwood gleams as brightly as the Great Gatsby mirror that leans against the wall. Silver green wallpaper bursts with fireworks of flowers. In the midst of it all stands a bar serving indulgent, dazzling jewelry pieces which range from $200 to $10,000.

There are two sections. The first opens with looks from young American designers that have attracted editorial attention as well as the Council of Fashion Designers of America. A 2006 winner, Doo-Ri Chung, continues to offer sophisticated pieces such as a navy dolman sleeved blouse ($756) or a pair of charcoal pants cut in wool with artful seam work ($607).

Another New York darling is Zac Posen who offers a chic Neptune dress with a cowl neckline in the back and a demure keyhole in the front ($1,633). Next to Zac Posen hang elegant pieces from Vera Wang. Somehow Wang is able to make a black tank look new with precise appliqué designs ($460).

Past the jewelry bar are the resort collections and designs from contemporary designers such as Rag & Bone, Charles Chang Lima, Rachel Roy, and Richard Chai. Rag & Bone, known for understated sportswear, offers skinny jeans and a great wool coat in ash. The trench coat reflects classic British tailoring. Making this purchase certainly gives back not only to the Raphael House but to your wallet. The coat is marked down from $924 to $462.

For those of you who are looking for holiday or special event looks, Rachel Roy has an emerald green angora sweater marked down from $995 to $487. Marchesa offers quite a number of selections such as a solid black or a zebra print one-shoulder trapeze dress ($720). The braided neckline adds a nice twist. Else for a punch of color, go for the cobalt blue or fuchsia dress that has great swish (originally $790 but now $553).

Markdowns on designer clothes are not the only fetching draw to Philanthropist. Be on the lookout for upcoming seasonal parties that Philanthropist throws not only to launch new looks but also to bring awareness to a new charity.

Philanthropist donates all proceeds to the sponsored charity. So when you see that must-have pair of jeans or sequined dress, consider Philanthropist where it pays to give.