The Chics About Town, June 2015 Edition

Oh Chicsters, forgive us, for we’ve been remiss at keeping you in the know! A mixture of life, busyness and sheer laziness kept The Chics from tuning in but, rest assured, NO MORE!

As you know, The Chics exploded unto the scene by interviewing fashion icon, and the inspiration of A Pile Of Chic, Betsey Johnson! Next up was supermodel Kate Upton, followed by a very busy month of March that saw them politely stalking, meeting and filming Margaret Cho, ending with a big splash that was their interview of Danish actress, incredible visionary, philanthropist and activist, Connie Nielsen!

Their interview with Connie was their first professionally filmed interview. What do we mean? Well, we are so excited to announce that A Pile Of Chic has their very own Team Chic, comprised of videographers Nancy Ericsson, John Chris Lopez and Stefunny Pettee! Welcome to our world of Chic guys!

Now let’s delve in, shall we?

May 7th the incredible Writer/Director/Producer Jill Soloway, of Transparent fame no less, was in town for a conversation with Michelle Tea and Eileen Myles at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Of course, our Chic actress Leila Radan rushed on over and met her! Does that get our Chics one step closer to maybe interviewing Jill some day? We do not know but we do know this, what The Chics decide they want, The Chics will get so we reserve bragging rights for the day that interview is indeed scored! Jill Soloway, we’re coming to getcha!


May 11th saw The Chics in the company of Justin Fichelson, San Francisco native and one of the stars of the upcoming reality TV show, Million Dollar Listing San Francisco! Michele was under the weather but gracefully showed up for moral support and in solidarity with Leila as Leila interviewed Justin at one of their favorite San Francisco stores, Wonderland SF. Thank you Irene Hernandez-Feiks for welcoming The Chics into your incredible world with open arms!

Check out the sneak peek of the show here, our candid shots below and stay tuned for our interview with Justin!



May 20th Michele and Leila proved their hard core admiration of none other than acclaimed director John Waters, by being first in line for his sold out (within the first 4 minutes of it being posted online we were told) book reading at local San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books on the Park! Though they have yet to score an interview with Mr. Waters, they are pursuing him and have even tracked down his very lovely and polite publicist and come Fall may be able to talk one on one with the Pope of Trash himself, the very Prince of Puke, or as he likes to refer to himself, the one and only Filth Elder! Oh yes they will!

They did, however, manage to get some Chic guerilla footage of the man himself reading from his latest book, Carsick, and answering their questions in the Q&A no less, but we’re gonna tease you for now with the below snapshots and show you the footage at a later date just because we can! So, for now, the below is all the John Waters Chicness you get!



May 27th Leila and Michele interviewed former model and celebrity photographer Mr. Nigel Barker, of America’s Next Top Model fame, as he made a stop at Macy’s San Francisco to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and to promote his latest book, Models of Influence! Oh yes, THE Nigel Barker! What can we say? The man was a true gentleman and as charming, intelligent, passionate and polite as he is handsome!

Here’s a little side chat Leila had with Nigel, dedicated to her high school Sri Lankan friend Sasha, and a couple of shots, both that Nigel himself snapped with Leila’s iPhone 6Plus. Does this mean that The Chics have been photographed by Nigel Barker? Why yes, yes it does!


And last, but definitely not least, we are beyond thrilled and honored to announce that we are partaking in quite the fun and exciting Fashion Incubator San Francisco panel Using Blogs to Build Your Brand, moderated by our favorite writer, fashionista-in-the-know, San Francisco Chronicle STYLE contributor and fashion commentator Tony Bravo! Spread the word and come on down and join our Chics as they add their voices to those of leading fashion and lifestyle bloggers from j’adore couture and Stylenik as they all reveal what works and what won’t in building followers to grow your brand. Get your tickets here and join us this Wednesday the 17th, from 6:30pm – 9pm! Don’t miss it!

How’s that for an update? But wait, to recap and to add a bit more goodness to the mix, stay tuned for:

  • The posting of our Justin Fichelson interview.
  • The posting of our guerilla footage of director John Waters.
  • The posting of our Nigel Barker interview.
  • The posting of our first panel experience.

HUZZAH! And on we go with the show. YO!

Chic Talk with Betsey Johnson!

[YO! This is a long post. Like, long! If you don’t want to read, simply scroll on down and, BAM, the interview is there in all its Betsey Johnson glory!]

Welcome to the official launch of our spur-of-the-moment labor of love and fun! “We” are Leila Radan and Michele Gates, heretofore known as The Chics. If you want to get to know us better, read up on us here because we are most certainly NOT going to monopolize our first post by talking about ourselves. We would much, much rather talk to you about bigger and better, namely, Betsey Johnson.

Yes, you read right! I said Betsey Johnson, the amazing, inspiring, fun-loving wonder-woman of a fashion icon herself because, well, we got to interview her! YES! You read right AGAIN! (Great job, by the way).

A little over a month ago, Michele reached out to me, her soon-to-be partner-in-chic, and asked me if I would co-interview Betsey Johnson with her.

The day of the interview finally arrived and I had a vision of what to wear all mapped out! My shoes? Jeffrey Campbell gold glitter Litas! My dress? A prom-tastic Betsey Johnson dress I scored oh so many moons ago at Crossroads and had yet to debut! My jewelry? A black-and-white bow ring and white lacey earrings and a skullicious necklace all by Betsey Johnson! My nails? Acrylic, long, sharp, edgy and black!


Makeup ready and minutes away from needing to be in my car, I dove into my dress, hurriedly zipped it up half way, decided that the other half of my zipper’s journey needed my husband’s guidance, rushed over to him whilst envisioning myself zipped up and already in my car with Pearl Jam blasting as I sped to Macy’s to meet my fashion-icon but, instead, had my smooth morning-to-be and my delightful-fantasy-that-wasn’t jarred by the husband’s distressed part-lecture-part-calm exclamation of “WHAT DID YOU DO?!?! You are stuck in your dress! How did you get so much fabric into the zipper? I can’t even get you out of it! It’s stuck at the waist! STUCK!”

He pulled the zipper up, he tugged at it, he pulled it down, he held the fabric together and tried it all by himself, but no go. I held the fabric together and tried pulling it up and pulling it down but it wouldn’t budge! We pulled up some more, we pulled down some more, I sucked in my stomach but could not account for my hip bones’, or my breasts’, or my shoulders’ protruding existence and so the dress remained on my waist, stuck. We pulled and we pulled until the metal pull-thingy of the zipper broke! No worries, that’s what paper clips were for. I breathed deep breaths as we swooped the paper clip into the zipper and pulled some more. We pulled and we pulled and we got so serious about our pulling that we even enlisted the help of jewelry pliers to truly pull and to truly tug like we’d never pulled and tugged and, ahem, tore off the zipper head that held the paper clip in the process!

I breathed such heavy breaths that hyperventilation kicked in… my fantasy, threatened by the death of my prom-tastic dress’ zipper, lay on the line, and so I howled like no fashionista has howled before, I screamed like no diva has screamed before, I almost-but-not-quite-because-I-did-have-my-makeup-on-already-after-all cried a cry that no Betsey Johnson devotee has cried before and then I uttered the unthinkable, “CUT IT OFF! CUT OFF THE INNER LINING! CUT OFF THE STUCK FABRIC! CUT IT OFF!” and when freed from the zipper the obvious statement was howled and screamed and shrieked and almost-cried at the husband, “NOW GET THE DRESS UP, ZIP IT UP WITH THE PLIERS, AND SAFETY PIN ME IN AND MAKE SURE IT STAYS ON! NOTHING MUST INTERFERE WITH MY BETSEY JOHNSON MOMENT! NOTHING!”

Tempted to speak back but taken aback by the psychotic look in my eyes and by the fierce determination-bordering-on-delusion that only the true love of Betsey’s designs can muster in a mere mortal, the husband dutifully obliged and, somehow, I made it out of the house, somewhat shaken but ready to fashionably forge ahead with my adventure in my prom-tastic Betsey Johnson dress, my glitterific Jeffrey Campbells, my Betsey Johnson bling, my acrylic nails intact and with the fabulous addition of a vintage Betsey Johnson faux fur coat and a Betsey Johnson orange purse that provided my world with the appropriate pop-of-color it so called for.

And the rest is Chicstory. A few technical difficulties beyond our control ensued, there are snippets of wonderful conversation and shared moments with Betsey that sadly didn’t make it into the footage, but we were able to salvage 25 minutes of fabulosity to share with you. And so, without any further ado and with our dresses properly in place, we bring you the legend herself and the inspiration behind A Pile Of Chic, Betsey Johnson!

Sneak Peek!

A sneak peek into tomorrow’s launch, starring none other than #BetseyJohnson! Here’s our Chic, Leila Radan, and fashion icon Betsey Johnson! Betsey is wearing Leila’s faux fur vintage Betsey Johnson coat (Yes! Betsey Johnson wore Leila’s Betsey Johnson!) and holding up her Miz B by Leila Radan necklace, which she told us to tell you she just LOVES!

Make sure to follow our site and to like us on FB, follow us on Twitter and on Instagram!


‪#‎SFStyle‬ ‪#‎FashionIcon‬ ‪#‎Fashion‬ ‪#‎Icon‬ ‪#‎Fashionista‬ ‪#‎Celebrity‬ ‪#‎Designer‬‪#‎APileOfChic‬ ‪#‎SanFrancisco‬ ‪#‎SF‬ ‪#‎Macys‬ ‪#‎BetseyHeartsMacys‬