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Filippa K

A Swede Welcome

A shake-up of sorts rippled through Union Square. The Virgin Megastore whose café I duck into for shopping breaks will be no more as it closes its doors in April. Further along Market Street, Shoe Pavilion’s lights are off along with a number of other dark storefronts scattered in a vibrant shopping destination for locals and tourists alike. In its wake, though, old spaces change hands and revive.

Newly anchoring the east end of Maiden Lane resides a U.S. first -- the Swede design house, Filippa K, has overtaken a former bank and opened a glass paned storefront that showcases simple, artistic clothing. The brand values high quality workmanship and great comfort for both men and women. Under these lofty ceilings, Filippa K covers 2,000 square feet of white space that spreads in rows of industrial metal racks hanging with painted skirts and blonde tables displaying whimsical mini check ties.

Filippa Knutsson is one of the two founders who established the label in 1993. With her colleague, Patrik Kihlborg, the business at home grew to an establishment that expands from its own brand stores to selective retailers in at least 20 countries. San Francisco is the first flagship store in the U.S. market.

What has attracted a loyal following of sophisticates with an appreciation for design can be seen in Filippa K Woman’s current fall-winter collection. The fabrics are very tactile; think cashmeres and silks to start. The colors hover over neutrals white, black and grey but bursts of orange gloss or shiraz add vivid contrast.

The Boob Zip Dress ($399) drew me immediately not because of its style name (although fetching) but rather because of its sheen and deep mandarin orange hue. Its strapless body explains its style name. Nearby hangs a black silk scarf dress ($365) that drapes beautifully on anyone with great shoulders. The pieces are simple cuts with keen attention to how they fall on a woman’s body. The effect is sensual.

There are plenty of staples such as white tees and long slip tanks ($99) that pair nicely with Filippa K’s own stretch denims and fitted trousers. The timeless pieces appear to be central building blocks of a wardrobe that conveys effortless style.

Filippa K Man offers classic pieces as well. The long black wool coat makes a statement. The lines are clean with no hanging zippers, toggles, or buttons interrupting the sleek blackness of it all. Also there is the grey knit cardigan ($369) that is an absolute must-have layering essential in San Francisco.

There is some dash evident in the current collection as evidenced by a rich walnut velvet ensemble. The jacket ($599) and pants ($259) are le smoking. Equally dandy is a refreshing crimson tweed jacket ($599) that breaks up the dark winter hues.

In the coming weeks the spring collection will bloom into the white space. The men’s collection promises a milky palette of blues and grays. Pistachios and corals add another dimension when splashed on dress shirts and trousers. There’s a tailored and unrestrained look about the jackets and shorts that go well with a simple knit cardigan or a mini dot print shirt.

For the Filippa K Woman, the silhouette will emphasize volume. Expect maxi pants and full skirts. Fabrics are soft and bleached in colors that have sat in the sun. There’s a breezy comfort in all these pieces for this upcoming season.

As for the current season, Filippa K is continuing its clearance of the current collection to make way for the new. In the meantime shoppers can take advantage of the 60 percent discounts on just about everything on the floor. With these markdowns, it certainly is a Swede welcome for those feeling the pinch in their wallets.