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Ryan Holliman and Taylor McClure

Norma Martinez

Art of Skin

Best of the City

What’s not to love about San Diego? It’s stylish, cultured and so on the rise! Here are the people and places that top our list for 2013.

Headline Muse
“I haven’t carried a local designer in seven years. Then Ryan came along,” says Laura Gambucci, La Jolla’s ahead-of-the-curve boutique owner. Hanging in her shop alongside chic Euro brands are garments by Ryan Holliman, San Diego’s rising-star stylist and designer. “My style is Euro street-meets-Cali beach culture,” says the knit-capped and Givenchy T-shirt-clad Holliman. “My mother is English and my dad is a surfer,” he adds. From his Bankers Hill studio, he whips chiffon and Lycra into body-hugging separates. A standout is a second-skin knit pencil skirt covered in matte sequins. “Everything is high-end, but nothing too precious,” says Holliman. His label straddles the line between contemporary and ready-to-wear: the sweet spot he calls “bespoke contemporary.” In an old-school move, Holliman visits clients with his friend/muse/fit model Taylor McClure, an emerging talent herself with Next Model Management. “She tries on everything, which was common in the ’50s. I love that we’re bringing it back.” Laura Gambucci boutique, 7629 Girard Ave., 858.551.0214

Viva Chaplos
She helped define the Baja Med culinary genre working alongside pioneer Javier Plascencia, but now Norma Martinez has left that boy’s club to open a chic space on Cortez Hill where “vintage American” rules the menu. Chaplos features familiar, comforting dishes rendered as bright as the restaurant’s cascading Tiffany lamps. (Those lamps, along with a salvaged bar, are a style nod to the Hill’s Victorian pedigree). On the menu: lamb chops cha-cha with a balsamic mint reduction, pork ribs slow-braised in Stone Brewery’s Arrogant Bastard ale, and, in a TJ-street-food-spin, the local catch is served grilled over crispy fries chistorra al ajillo style (with a garlicky chorizo and wine sauce). For the lunch crowd, sandwiches like grilled bleu cheese with prosciutto and slices of salt-crusted roast pear annihilate neighborhood deli fare. 925 B St., chaplos.com

About Face
NorCo’s best new pampering spot is Art of Skin, a luxury medical spa offering waitlist-necessary appointments with dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Melanie Palm. Go for the multisyllabic treatments of the skin-tightening variety or the new aesthetic services, from peels to waxing. 437 S. Highway 101, artofskinmd.com

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