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Enduring Elan

Silicon Valley’s style-savvy set flocks to designer J’Amy Tarr’s chic outerwear.


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Kimoni GT in camel, $458

Photo: Courtesy of J'Amy Tarr

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Wool blanket coat in cream, $698

Photo: Courtesy of J'Amy Tarr

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Salmon jacket with removable faux collar, $578

Photo: Courtesy of J'Amy Tarr

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Local designer J’Amy Tarr creates gorgeous yet functional outerwear specifically for women in the Bay Area. The reason? “Microclimates are real,” she says. “You can leave your house when the sun is out and then get caught a few hours later in the freezing fog. A midweight jacket is your best friend.” And since Silicon Valley style is refreshingly optimistic and the the weather is often warmer than San Francisco, “women wear more color and pattern,” she says.

Tarr studied fashion and textile design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she learned to express a unique point of view from her lead instructor, Simon Ungless, a contemporary of the late Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. “Ultimately, [I learned] how to use shapes, color stories from nature, or found objects that could translate into the most beautiful finished collections,” she says.

She debuted her first outerwear collection in 2013, and she describes her design aesthetic as feminine and edgy. For spring 2019, Tarr evolved her line to include silver metallics, lightweight blazers with contrasting collars, twill biker jackets with removable collars, and featherweight capelets. Her most sought-after jackets include the moto jacket, the blanket coat, the cape, the capelet and the kimono GT.

She recently expanded her atelier in Mill Valley, which is half workshop and half retail area, giving the customer a Project Runway type of experience. It’s become a favorite stop for women driving from the Peninsula to Napa Valley for the weekend (to pick up lightweight toppers for cool wine-country nights). Tarr personally designs all the garments in Mill Valley and works exclusively with two facilities in the San Francisco Bay area to manufacture and sew the entire collection.

Celebrity fans of her work include sports reporter Kerith Burke, sports agent Kelli Masters and Saturday Night Live stylist Christina Natividad, Tarr says. And if she could design for anyone? She’d choose actor/singer Juliette Lewis of Juliette and the Licks. “She is a free spirit who is able to bridge an authentic rock ’n’ roll attitude with old Hollywood fashion and glamour.” By appointment only, 38 Miller Ave., Ste. 11, 415.450.9677


Originally published in the April/May issue of Silicon Valley

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