Jenny, sitting pretty in a Zero Maria Cornejo Dress and Chie Mihara yellow platforms (not pictured) at her desk.
Many of us daydream of opening a super-cool shop all our own, only to have it blossom into something even bigger—a smash hit. As luck would have it, this is not fantasy but reality for San Francisco-native Jenny Chung, with her edgy (and not to mention mega-successful!) Hayes Valley retail spot, Acrimony. Stocked with anti-fit wares by moody designers like Veronique Branquinho, Nom de Guerre, United Bamboo, VPL, LD Tuttle, and others, this Bay boutique has become the to-go spot for ultra-hip, black-loving locals and tourists alike. And now that Chung has just signed a lease on a second yet-to-be-named location in North Beach, we thought it was time to check in on the girl-about-town, this time in her very own Inner Richmond crib, and chat with her for a little My Style Q&A.
A look at Jenny's light-soaked living room.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your apartment?
"The style is modern yet romantic. I don't like clutter or mess—I love when everything is actually where it belongs! I'm fortunate enough to have three bedrooms, so everything can be tucked away in its own place. Every morning, the sun shines bright through my living room windows. I don't have any shades or window coverings because I love the feel of natural light. This is what makes my apartment romantic, I don't have to force it with lace drapes or floral cushions."
"I need a big clock in front of me to keep me on schedule. I can get lost in work for hours at a time," says Jenny of her desktop accessory (left); Jenny in her backyard in a Vena Cava dress, Karen Walker shades, and Marc Jacobs patent wedges.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I often hear people say 'Wow, you look so different!' meaning yesterday I was dressed down, and today I'm dressed up. I'm sort of a chameleon—I can dress for any occasion. It mostly depends upon my mood. I usually get away with making my own Halloween outfit because I have lots of pieces in my closet that resemble costumes! One year, I was a tightrope-walker and wore a black tutu, which I normally wear out, and a black lace top. Another year, I was a 'Fafinette,' a character created by French female graffiti artist, Fafi. I wore striped socks, a throwback Nike denim hoodie, high tops, and a blue wig."
An ombre Prada handbag, one of Jenny's many investment pieces.
Why hello there...
On the other hand, how would you describe the Acrimony aesthetic?
"It's very much like my own aesthetic: Minimal, humorous, practical, and sometimes all over the place. Fashion is really about what you like, and how your eyes see it. It's really hard to identify, put a label on it, and sell it like a package. I think that's why my store appeals to a lot of different types of people."
Jenny in her bedroom, wearing a Kai-Aakmann jumpsuit, Rachel Comey pink elastic belt, and a chime necklace (left); The porcelain cow salt-and-pepper shakers on Jenny's glass kitchen table are reminiscent of those she used during childhood.
You see so much clothing doing what you do. How do you decide what makes it into your own closet?
"When I was younger, I used to shop a lot of separates. These days, I shop by designer and I spend on staple pieces that I can wear for a long time. I'm done with overly trendy, wear-it-for-one-season kinds of things. Most of my favorite items are things I've had for years and years. It doesn't have to be current if I loved it from the start."
A sampling of Jenny's enviable shoe collection, including items by Miu Miu, Chanel, Lanvin, and others.
Perhaps the best accessory in this house is your cat, Tiger! Tell us about him.
"He's an American Tabby from New Orleans. He actually survived Hurricane Katrina and lived on his own for a month before he could be rescued. I love this picture of an old-timey cat in a bow tie and blazer (below, right). I think he looks just like Tiger's Great-Uncle! And I always have a plate of hard candies right next to it. Werther's Originals are my favorite butterscotch candy and the ginger chews are calming. I usually have to replace the plate every week, they go fast!"
Tiger hanging out on the couch (left); A framed pic of Tiger's possible dapper Great-Uncle (right).
We're loving your workspace. How did you decide to decorate it?
"I work at my desk every morning and everything in my workspace has a purpose! I regularly clip fashion editorials that I like or that inspire me. The two that are up now from Victor & Rolf and Olivier Theyskens are there to remind me to take risks. The cat calendar is from United Bamboo, I laugh every time I look at it. And I love the letter A, it's my favorite in the alphabet. I love the way it looks and the many different forms it has. Thus, the brass stencil! Acrimony and our second location, which we're opening in North Beach, also has a name that begins with an A. I'll probably name all my kids A-names, as well!"
A peek inside of Jenny's jewelry box, full of edgy (some quite literally!) baubles.
What do you love most about your 'hood?
"I love the Richmond for a million reasons! The food is amazing, there's lots of parking. I live right by Golden Gate Park, steps from the Golden Gate Bridge, and it's a quick bike ride to the beach. It's quiet and safe, and I have a huge apartment that I probably couldn't afford in any other neighborhood."
A card from Jenny to her zombie-obsessed boyfriend (right); Jenny hanging out in her 'hood in a DRKSHDW jacket, Martin Margiela top, LD Tuttle boots, and Topshop jeans.
You have a nice little stack of cookbooks. Do you throw down in the kitchen?
"I'm slowly getting better! My family is in the restaurant business, so I figure it's in me somewhere! My Grandfather even has his own cookbook. I just love reading cookbooks of famous chefs. To me, they arent recipes to re-create, they are simply to read and appreciate how much goes into preparing amazing meals. I once thought I'd try to make David Chang's steamed pork buns and gave up after finding out there were 30 steps and it took two days of prep! Currently, I'm mastering rotisserie chicken. It sounds simple, but it's actually tough to get it perfect!"
Jenny's cookbook collection.
Photos by Lydia Hudgens