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Women of Style

BY Angela Ashman, Kayleigh Donahue Hodes and Kalah Siegel | Produced by Meg McGuire | September 9, 2016 | Feature Features National

From ultrasexy to girly to refined, these five fashion-forward San Diegans are setting a new sartorial standard.
ON MALARKEY Dress by Givenchy; shoes by Manolo Blahnik; ring by Na Hoku; wedding band by Roberto Coin.

Chantelle Malarkey
Though she’s best known as the enviably pretty wife of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey (Searsucker, Herringbone), Chantelle Malarkey has plenty of her own creative talent to spare. An interior designer, stylist and photographer (as a Nikon-toting teenager in Minneapolis, she got her start styling fashion shoots for friends and family), Malarkey regularly lends her good taste and expertise to the Malarkey culinary empire—most recently, Herb & Wood, her hubby’s newest and much-ballyhooed eatery in Little Italy. When not working (some of her past clients include the iconic Marine Room and East Village bistro Cafe Chloe), she keeps busy with the littlest Malarkeys, Hunter O’Neil, 8, and twins Sailor Elizabeth and Miles James, 6, and somehow remains effortlessly chic while doing it all. “I try to gear toward a classic look with some fun twists on trends,” she says. “Nothing too stuffy.” Her recipe for sartorial success? Two scoops of sophisticated J.Crew basics stirred with killer shoes (Valentino Rockstud sandals and heels are a favorite), an eye-catching handbag (her go-to is a Clare V. leopard-print clutch) and a sprinkle of jewelry (she’s a fan of the Hermès Clic-Clac bracelet and shimmery geode necklaces by Coronado-based brand Vintage Gypsy). But one of her boldest style statements is the one she wears every day on her wrist—an anchor tattoo she designed to remind herself of something precious her son Hunter once said: “Mommy, I love you so much. You’re my anchor.” All the Valentinos in the world couldn’t top that.

Maria Assaraf
“Growing up in San Diego is very casual, and I never resonated with that,” says Maria Assaraf. “I love the process of choosing items to put together—it’s my own personal daily art project.” On an average day, Assaraf might outfit her petite 4-foot-9 frame with a blazer from Marc Jacobs, a striped Commes de Garçons shirt and a great pair of Frame denim jeans topped off with a Helmut Lang biker jacket—that is, if she’s not wearing pieces from the latest Sonia Rykiel collection (her childhood friend, Julie de Libran, is the design house’s artistic director). But the real fun comes with weaving in the right accessories, like an ear cuff from Zofia Day, or topping her look off with a hat by Jill Courtemanche Millinery, a local hat maker in Solana Beach who has made the fashion maven several custom pieces. Assaraf says she has been infatuated with fashion since she was a little girl, but these days gets her inspiration from her travels and her eclectic group of friends—who attend everything from Burning Man to the Met Gala—as well as her steadfast personal style icon, Audrey Hepburn. “I’ve always admired her, even as a little kid—she was very true to her aesthetic and was an impressive humanitarian,” she explains. We’re guessing the latter rings particularly true for Assaraf because of her serious philanthropic involvement in San Diego County. When she’s not working on her company, NeuroGym, with her husband, John, one of the teachers in The Secret, she’s the chair of Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees and has been on the board of Just Like My Child, a charity empowering girls in Uganda, for many years. This month, she’s also partaking in a personal physical challenge to raise money for spinal research, and plans on visiting Uganda for the 10th anniversary of Just Like My Child to watch a group of girls graduate from the program. The fall trend she’s most looking forward to? Making a difference.

Photography Courtesy Of: