I. Magnin & Co., San Francisco, California

I. Magnin relocated to its luxurious marble palace on
Union Square in 1948 from and older facility.

I. Magnin & Co.
135 Sockton Street
San Francisco, California


Receiving and Marking • Storage

Employee Lockers • Auditorium • Display Department

Street Floor
Leykin et Cie at I. Magnin • Jewelry • Handbags • Little Leathers • Gloves • Umbrellas • Louis Vuitton Boutique • Hermès Boutique • Fendi • St. Laurent/Rive Gauche • Fashion Accessories • The Hat Bar • Hosiery
The Mural Room Cosmetics • Perfumes • Cosmetic Gifts
Man's Shop
Blum's Blum's Restaurant • Blum's Candies and Pastries

Gift Galleries • Linens • Stationery • Card Carousel • The Elegant Grocery • Fauchon • International Gallery of Art • Charles of the Ritz Beauty Salon

Second Floor
Millinery Salon • Fine Shoe Salon • Negligée Room • Corset Salon • At-Home Salon

Third Floor
Fine Coat Salon • Suits • Fine Dress Salon • Inner Circle • Designer Sportswear • Custom Salon • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Dresses • After-Five Dress Collection

Fourth Floor
Sports Shop • Sports Dresses • Stanley's Place • Active Sportswear • European Designer Sportswear • American Designer Sportswear

Fifth Floor
Meyda Shop • Casual Shoes • Shoe Biz
Ranleigh Shop Dresses • Coats • Sportswear • Suits • Hats • Shoes

Sixth Floor
Marima Marima Dresses • Marima Sportswear • Marima Coats • Marima Shoes • Marima Lingerie

Seventh Floor
Children's Shop • Children's Shoes • Hi Shop • Toy Box

Eighth Floor
I. Magnin Travel • Executive Offices

Ninth Floor
Work Rooms • Alterations

Tenth Floor
Employees Cafeteria • Employees Lounge • Sun Deck • Nurse's Office


Oakland (1925/1931)
Broadway and Twentieth Streets
65,000 sq. ft.

Palo Alto (1956)
Stanford Shopping Center
54,000 sq. ft.

Carmel (1960)
Carmel Plaza
Ocean Ave. at Juniper St.

Santa Clara (1964)
32,000 sq. ft.

San Mateo (1965)
27,000 sq. ft.

Walnut Creek (1967)
56,000 sq. ft.

San Jose (1967)
Vallco Fashion Park
56,000 sq. ft.


Los Angeles
3240 Wilshire Blvd. at Hamshire
Los Angeles, California
141,000 sq. ft.


Street Floor
Leykin et Cie at I. Magnin • Jewelry • Handbags • Little Leathers • Gloves • Umbrellas • Louis Vuitton Boutique • Hermès Boutique • Fendi • St. Laurent/Rive Gauche • Fine Shoe Salon • Fashion Accessories • The Hat Bar • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Perfumes • Cosmetic Gifts • Gift Galleries • Linens • Stationery • Card Carousel • Negligée Room • Corset Salon • At-Home Salon • Man's Shop

Second Floor
Millinery Salon • Bridal Salon • International Gallery of Art • Fur Salon • Dresses • After-Five Dress Collection • Fine Coat Salon • Suits • Fine Dress Salon • Inner Circle • Designer Sportswear • Custom Salon

Third Floor
Meyda Shop • Casual Shoes • Shoe Biz • The Woman's Shop
Miss Magnin Shop Miss Magnin Today • Miss Magnin Tonight
Ranleigh Shop Dresses • Coats • Sportswear • Suits • Hats • Shoes
Marima Marima Dresses • Marima Sportswear • Marima Coats • Marima Shoes • Marima Lingerie
Children's Shop • Children's Shoes • Hi Shop • Toy Box

Fourth Floor
Sports Shop • Sports Dresses • Stanley's Place • Active Sportswear • European Designer Sportswear • American Designer Sportswear • Blum's Restaurant • Blum's Candies and Pastries • The Elegant Grocery • Fauchon • I. Magnin Travel • Charles of the Ritz Beauty Salon

Hollywood (1923)
6340 Hollywood Blvd.

Beverly Hills (1942/1947)
Wilshire Blvd. and Bedford Dr.
99,000 sq. ft.

Santa Barbara (1912/1918/1923/1947)
1415 State Street
24,000 sq. ft.

Pasadena (1913/1932/1947)
3247 Lake Avenue
41,000 sq. ft.

Sacramento (1953)
1125 L. Street
3,000 sq. ft.

La Jolla (1954/1964)
Girard Avenue
29,000 sq. ft.

Fresno (1955)
1630-32 Van Ness Avenue
17,000 sq. ft.

Santa Ana (1958)
Fashion Square
N. Main Street and Roe Dr.
42,000 sq. ft.

Sherman Oaks (1962)
Fashion Square
Riverside Drive
55,000 sq. ft.

Palm Springs (1965)
24,000 sq. ft.

Del Amo Fashion Square (1967)
25,000 sq. ft.

South Coast Plaza (1978)
Costa Mesa
78,000 sq. ft.


Seattle, Washington (1925/1954)
Sixth and Pine
80,000 sq. ft.

Portland, Oregon (1962)
Public Service Building
S.W. Sixth Ave. at Salmon St.
33,000 sq. ft.

Phoenix, Arizona (1963)
Biltmore Fashion Park

Chicago, Illinois (1971)
830 North Michigan Avenue


First Floor

Leykin et Cie at I. Magnin • Fashion Jewelry • Handbags • Little Leathers • Gloves • Umbrellas • Fashion Accessories • The Hat Bar • Sports Separates • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Gift Galleries • Linens • Bath Shop • Stationery • Card Carousel • Fauchon Shop • Christmas All-Through-the House • International Gallery of Art
The Man's Shop

Second Floor
Millinery Salon • Bridal Salon • Fur Salon • Fur Boutique • Fine Coat Salon • Fine Dress Salon • Inner Circle • Designer Boutique • Valentino Boutique • Saint Laurent/Rive Gauche • Fine Shoe Salon

Third Floor
Lingerie Salon • Bodyfashions • At-Home Salon • Career Shop • The Woman's Shop
Miss Magnin Miss Magnin Sportswear • Miss Magnin Spectator Dresses • Miss Magnin Coats • Miss Magnin Today • Miss Magnin Tonight • Miss Magnin Shoes

Fourth Floor
Sports Shop • Designer Sportswear • European Designer Sportswear • Active Sportswear • Beauty Salon • Shear Heaven

Fifth Floor
Shoe Biz • Children's Shop • Children's Shoes • I. Magnin Hi Shop • Toy Box
Miss Magnin Junior Dresses • Coats • Sportswear • Contemporary Sportswear • Lingerie

White Flint, Maryland (1978)
White Flint Mall
81,000 sq. ft.

Northbrook Court (1979)
Northbrook, Illinois
100,000 sq. ft.


  1. There was also an I. Magnin in Maryland, at White Flint Mall in suburban Washington, DC

  2. I Magnin was my first job working on Howard in the credit/billing department. Everything was done by hand back then. This was an education in dressing, and lasts to present day. STYLE!

  3. I. Magnin had its own understated style. You could just look at someone and spot that style. When I lived in the San Francisco area in the 1970's, I. Magnin was one of my favorite stores. It always SMELLED so good! In my opinion, Macy's should have kept and expanded the I. Magnin stores instead of hitching their wagon to Bloomingdale's. I. Magnin had a cachet that Bloomingdale's will never have.

  4. Also, there was a suburban Chicago branch at Oakbrook Center.

    1. Yea I worked in the hair salon in I magnin in 1986-1989. I went back to visit a few years ago and can't even picture where the store use to be? Things have changed so much! Does anyone know what store now is in the old I magnin building?

  5. While its true that I Magnin had a chachet that Bloomingdale's does not, these are two very different establishments. Bloomingdale's still fits into a modern world, I Magnin could not fit into today's world. As an example, the I Magnin in LaJolla (by the early 80's) was falling apart. There was no chachet there from 1980 till its closing.

  6. I disagree with Anonymous. I Magnin did indeed have a certain elegance and class that Bloomingdales just does not capture. The same can be said of Bullocks Wilshire. Bloomingdales cannot hold a candle to it.

  7. I Manin in LaJolla was a beautiful store "in its day"...if the corporate owner had ungraded and spent money there...it would have remained a beautiful store. But they did not. Rather than one very nice store, they closed Bullock's Whilshire and changed its name to I Magnin at the nearby mall. At the other end of the mall was a May Co store. People who shopped in May Co did not shop in I Magnin (nor Bullock's Whilshire)..... couldn't the owners have figured that one out? AN I Magnin and a Saks, Neiman Marcus or Bullock Wilshire would have complimented each other.

  8. anonymous misses the point. Bloomingdale's has always been crass...it fits in perfectly with today's world. I Magnin fits into an old world now long gone.

  9. There is most definitely a place for I. Magnin in today's retail world... I'd go so far as to say the problem with retail today is the absence of stores with a point of view. Magnin's lost its way due to corporate muddle. Had it remained true to its roots, it would still be here today.

  10. Bergdorf Goodman and to some degree Saks is to me the closest reminder to I. Magnin and Bullocks Wilshire. It has its own signature, an air of sophistication. You know you have stepped in somewhere special. I Magnin closed in a low point in the economy. I bet it could have really prospered in the later part of the 1990's into about 2007. Bloomingdales Lexington Av at least is very nice. But it is no I Magnin.

  11. Yesterday I was at the Natura spa in LA in the old I Magnin building, the inside is still beautiful and elegant. Made me want to see vintage photos, thanks for putting this site together.

  12. I worked in the Laykin et Cie jewelry salon at the La Jolla I. Magnin's in the early 80's. The clothes were and still are timeless. I have several sweaters and suits from that era, that I still wear and get complimented on them always. One is a brown wool suit by Oscar de la Renta for I. Magnin. I paid a (then) fortune for it on sale with my discount--nearly $800! But It has stood the test of time. Lovely and timeless classics, which no one seems to understand today. This was around the time Federated bought the store, and they didn't care for anything but profit. Profit is necessary, but you need to build loyalty as well, and have a 'look' and great quality. When we were getting our Christmas deccos out of the attics one year (shortly before I left) we found a huge box of 'old' store decorations. All in shades of pastel mauve, lilac and silver. The store manager said to throw them out, but I asked if I could keep them. Still have them and they look as stunning as when they were new, 1942, according to the box! It was a stunning store, great fur salon, fragrance and housewares. Nothing like it today. Needless Mark-up doesn't hold a candle, especially not the snotty sales staff who act like they can afford the goods more than the customers!

  13. The one thing that Macys Inc, formerly Federated Dept Store group did was take away any competition, so whats left is Macys, Nordstroms and Sacks. Thank goodness for Sacks, where u can see how elegant a dept store can look, not jammed pack to the hilt like Macys and Bloomingdales. Please bring back the look of yesteryear of Bullocks or I Magnin.

  14. I worked at Magnin's flagship Union Square store during the early 70's. It was a wonderful place and a memorable experience. Without a doubt management and personnel were the personification of class and style - they believed in their high quality products and, uncommon in today's market, were actually knowledgeable about them. Also there was an uncommon grace, courtesy and professionalism among all employees that is sadly missing in today's retail experience. I Magnin remains an irreplaceable gem.

  15. It was a true gem, as you say.

    In the course of research for my book on Jacobson's, I discovered that at one piont, probably in the '80s, Jacobson's considered purchasing I. Magnin, in order to diversify away from the floundering Michigan economy (it still is). Instead, they decided to build stores in other states.

    I do not have a floor-by-floor directory for the San Francisco store; would a veteran employee such as yourself help me fill this gap in The Department Store Museum?


  16. Oh boy, would love to help but my memory is a little hazy plus I worked in the Men's Dept. I certainly don't have a listing like the L.A. directory.

    Before Magnin consolidated receiving and distribution in Brisbane the basement of the Union Square store housed shipping, receiving and department storage as well as display.

    The main floor housed men's, perfume, shoes, accessories and Godiva as well as the return and wrapping desk.

    The second floor and I believe the sixth housed offices as well as women's apparel.

    Third floor was haute couture designer fashion.

    Fourth floor was women's fashion.

    Seventh or eighth floor was household furnishings.

    And I remember the employee cafeteria I believe on the eighth. We all loved the fabulous food prepared on site, usually breakfast, which we paid for, then we would sit around talking or reading high-end novels such as Siddhartha. I believe you could also walk out on the roof to the parapet overlooking Union Square from the cafeteria. If I recall correctly there were also lounge chairs there for sunning.

    I am in touch with other assistant buyers and perhaps they can fill in the gaps particularly on the upper floors.

    This is a nice site and you've done a wonderful job putting it together.

  17. Thank you so very kindly for your help and memoirs!

    Between what you gave me, and a description of the store when new in 1948 from an old architecture magazine (quite a read!), I have been able to come up with a representative directory. Obviously things changed over time, and I would welcome any further information from people who knew I. Magnin well.

    Of course, if the San Francisco newspapers are ever placed online, it would be a treasure-trove; I could add City of Paris, The White House, and Hale's!


  18. Wow! Your 1948 Union Square directory jarred my memory (somewhat). By the early 70's there had been some changes made:

    • no auditorium in the basement - converted into caged departmental storage.

    • street floor - Blum's had moved further west into the Macy block but in its own small building.

    • Mezzanine - the beauty salon was big but the floor also housed Magnin's famous marble bathrooms.

    • 3,4,5 - same type merchandise but different names.

    • 7 - add housewares.

    • 8,9, and 10 were the same.

    nice work.

  19. what wonderful memories. I worked at the White Flint Mall store in the Fine Shoe Salon. I agree with dbcreates - I still have some clothing that at the time I too could hardly afford but am so glad that I did as they are still magnificent. I even have some of my old Ferragamo shoes! I had saved up for and purchased my daughter's (now 24 yrs. old) layette ensemble and also still have that stored away. It was a very classy store and was very much a "family" atmosphere among the employees.....which much "drama" as well!!!

  20. I Magnin was always very snooty.....the service at Saks was always perfect. That is why Saks is still with us.

  21. I grew up in Santa Rosa in the 60's/70's, and I am surprised there is no mention of the Magnin Stores in my hometown. Maybe there are no archived photos? We had a Joseph Magnin, and an I.Magnin, and there was definitely a huge difference between them. We could afford Joseph Magnin, but I.Magnin was a bit of a splurge. We moved to Los Gatos in the mid 70's and I shopped at the I.Magnin Valley Fair. Seeing those photos brought back memories, and I can still remember several of my purchases there. Oh the old days...I miss them!

  22. http://www.flickr.com/photos/53409445@N04/

    I found this public link to flickr with dozens of vintage pictures of luxury department stores of late.

    It has one picture of the interior of the Joseph Magnin store in Coddingtown Shopping Center in Santa Rosa where I grew up. The diamond pattern paper bag from JM on the floor brought back memories!

  23. Does anyone remember Cyril Magnin? He was quite a character in San Francisco for many years.

  24. I have read histories of I.Magnin that mentioned him; I believe that, though Jewish, he played the Pope in a movie, with the blessing of the Archdiocese of San Francisco!

  25. I remember working at I.Magnin with very fond memories. I learned a degree of grace and style from this venerable & luxurious institution. Regarding the directory;from what I remember in the early 80's it was as follows:

    Sub-Basement - Shipping/Recieving

    Basement - Men's Floor
    Men's clothing, men's sportswear,furnishings, & men's fragrance/cosmetics. Also a small cafe called Narsai's.

    1st Floor
    Women's fragrance/cosmetics, handbags, jewelry & accessories. Concierge Services.

    Designer jewelry & accessories, hosiery, beauty salon.

    2nd Floor
    Women's Couture & evening, Fur Salon.

    3rd Floor
    Women's Designer Sportswear

    4rth thru 6th floors I can't recall what categories were shown

    7th Floor
    Lingerie & Childrens

    8th Floor
    Home Decor & Executive Offices

    9th Floor
    Alterations & Visual Departments

    10th Floor
    Human Resources, Employee Cafeteria, Roof top patio (which were used for fashion shows in anticipation of the Opera & Symphony Galas)

  26. There is the older I. Magnin & Co. building that predates the Union Square Building at 50 Grant Avenue, it opened in 1912 after the first store was leveled in the 1906 earthquake. You can use Google Maps street view to see the building with the name still on the building.

  27. The grand dame of West Coast stores, the "marble palace" as Christian Dior named it upon his visit to the store was a masterpiece and part of the SF culture. Mentioned and seen in Hitchcock's VERTIGO and THE BIRDS, it was a beauty of a store. The moment I heard Macy's purchased the chain, I knew immediately it was for the real estate and nothing else. It sat, carved into Macy's and this would enable them to expand the downtown SF store...and they did. A real loss

  28. Regarding the Santa Ana store, which end of the mall was that at, the current JCPenney or the current Macy's mens store? And was the original completely torn down or is the basic infrastructure still there?

  29. I found a bunch of tags in an old Singer sewing cabinet I purchased that are "I.Magnin & Co" clothing tags. It was fun seeing your pictures here and learning a little about "I.Maghnin" Company. Thanks for this great information!

  30. The green marble building that was the Oakland store is still intact and still says I. Magnin on it.

  31. The Santa Ana I Magnin store was completely torn down when Main Place was extensively remodeled late 1980s early 1990s. It was one of the small I Magnin stores and the building was in the front facing the Freeway.

  32. The La Jolla I Magnin was replaced with a brand new store in the early 1990's (just up the street on Girard Ave.). The new store was an elegant though tiny two floor jewel. I think it was only open a year before it was shuttered.

  33. douglas foscaini08 May, 2012 23:12

    I remember going to the Beverly Hills store with grandmother in the Late 70's.

  34. I used to buy my sisters Christmas presents in the Children's Dept at the Union Square store. I vividly remember the 'Elevator Ladies" with their brown uniforms and white gloved hands holding wands, which, once the car reached its limit (usually not too crowded), they lifted these wands across the doors to prevent any additional riders, saying "Car is full. Next car please." The back of the elevators had little cushioned benches, for the elderly, or weary shoppers to rest on, and each car had tiny crystal chandeliers.

  35. I was a buyer at I Magnin....worked in the lingerie and cosmetic buying offices and we were at "China Basin" and had to a shuttle to "The Store" on Union Square to actually see merchandise...I went to Brisbane all the time and to Oakland (basement..which was the mail order dept)....I felt I had finally arrived when I became a Senior "Assistant" Buyer for Collections-Anne Klein, Calvin Klein etc.... however, the low pay of being a women in retail made me leave fashion for more education Left for Law School in 1986 but sooooo feel I Magnin was a part of who I am...I did my original "Management Training" at Joseph Magnin's in the early 80's....Cyril Magnin would come in to our small class of "Trainees"with his dog Tippy...(gucci coat on the dog, I can't believe I am remembering this) and tell us STORIES...one day he brought in a friend "ALDO Gucci"....I was so young I didn't know I should be impressed with it all.
    Love your site brings back great memories...

  36. My mother purchased a Givenchy dress from I. Magnin. When she sent it to the dry cleaners, and later went to pick it up. Instead of just having it on a hanger like they usually did , they had stuffed the dress with tissue paper to hold it's shape, and told my mother it was a pleasure to work on clothes like that.

  37. I worked for I Magnin in San Diego, CA. It was located in the Fashion Valley mall. It was such a unique store that really was in a class by itself. It had the feel of a 100 year old company that was operating in modern day. Its unfortunate that few stores of this caliber are left. It was a sad day when our store manager announced that the store was closing its doors for good. It was a great company to work for. I miss it.

  38. Cyril Magnin portrayed 'Pope Pius XIII' in the 1978 comedy "Foul Play" with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. He is also appeared in 1985's "Maxie"; a supernatural comedy with Glenn Close and Mandy Patinkin.

  39. I was maybe 3-4 years old at the time but I believe there was a store in Las Vegas as well , am I incorrect? I am very curious if it was ... I believe they had the 2 stores. I and J Magnin...Thank you.

  40. Worked at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, then I.Magnin San Francisco, then to I.Magnin outside D.C. I was livid when I.Magnin closed. An era of quality and grace gone. We still have Bergdorf's, but how long will it be before the same thing happens to them? It's a shame.

  41. Joseph Magnin had a Las Vegas store, not I. Magnin. Bergdorf Goodman is operated with Neiman Marcus, so unless Neiman Marcus goes out, the Bergdorf customer will never experience what Macy's did to our beloved I. Magnin & Co.

  42. Thanks for your work!
    It brings back good memories.
    Dale Magnin (grandson of Rabbi Edgar Magnin)

  43. Dear Dale:

    Since you are related, do you have a special insight into I Magnin? My publisher is looking for authors, and if you would like to talk about it, please contact me at bakgraphics@comcast.net.

    I am happy that my "hobby" elicits good memories!


  44. I worked in display at I. Magnin San Francisco in the early 90's. "Anonymous" from last Dec. is correct in the floor layout, and for the missing floors, 6th was Juniors, 5th had bridge I believe (mid-priced women's wear) and larger women's clothing, and 4th I think had the lower priced lines of designers, such as DKNY, etc.
    Too many funny stories of working there to relate here, but I miss the store a lot.

  45. Macys is horrible. The employees hate their jobs, policies, pushing Credit card apps like it is the end of the world! Plus they all look like they are dressed for a FUNERAL and the store is the SAME no matter what city you are in!! It has totally screwed up all the retailers it swallowed through the years, The Bon Marche, Burdines, etc...
    Macy's is ho hum, the employees are gone faster than yesterday's lunch, NO ONE cares about their customers like they used to and it is the same old stuff...season after season and there is no pizazz.
    Nothing that makes it stand out no matter what state your are shopping in.
    Give me a Nordys, Or Fredrick and Nelson's anyday and I would spend more just to have other options.
    Macys'is now the pits!
    I hope someone at Macy's is listening.. Very sad.

  46. Too funny i still have my LV luggage that i purchased in High school in Phx,AZ. The woman who sold it me still works in a store in AZ.....LOVED the store, it was my first ever credit card. Then off to Sakowitz!

  47. Just FYI... there was an I. Magnam store located for a few years in Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90275.

  48. I also worked at I. Magnin in Fashion Valley. What a beautiful store it was! I was sick to my stomach when Saks came in & painted all the beautiful wood shelves BLACK. Remember the Lalique chandeliers? There were so many beautiful touches...

  49. The I. Magnin store in Palos Verdes Rolling Hills Estates was one of the Bullocks Wilshire stores that was converted to the I. Magnin name, when Macy's ended the BW stores and changed them to I. Magnin in 1990 and then shut them all down by 1995. Macy's was like a monster in Southern California a real Beast that gobbled up all the stores and choice we once had there.

  50. Wow! Does this bring back memories! I worked at I Magnin Northbrook Court, suburban Chicago during and after college 1980-1983. I then moved to San Francisco and worked in the corporates offices in the Buying Program. I was an Assistant Buyer in Women's Bridge and Designer Sportswear 1983 - 84. In fact, I think I was in the same office as the post above from 27 May 2012! I was later a Department Manager of Bridge Sportswear in the Palo Alto Store, 1984 -85, then a Buyer of Petite Sportswear, 1986-87?, then of Bridge Sportswear, 1987-88? I bought the premier line of DKNY, as well as Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman, Tahari, Max Mara and others. It was quite a place to work....great people and such a magnificent flagship store! Such wonderful memories!


  51. I saw the I Magnin label on a collection of elegant charmeuse nightgowns and robes in a Macy's a few years ago, and was completely offended! How dare they after they ruined then shut down the store!

  52. I worked at flagship Union Square as a teenager and just after college...What a crazy and quirky store. The Buyers kept the whole chain going....Great Display crew as well. Talk about service...I remember a sales associate following a "special" customer holding an ashtray under her cigarette as she shopped. Federated ruined I.Magnin with their lame executives!!!! They were clueless.

  53. I shopped at I. Magnin in the mid-1970's at Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Hawaii. I believe that there was also an I. Magnin shop in downtown Honolulu, in the Amfac building which faces Aloha Tower. I was so sad that the I. Magnin shops closed. The merchandise was above and beyond the then Liberty House. Reading the stories and the stores' directories brings back memories of the former department stores of yesteryear. Keep writing the stories. The younger generation/s need to read about "class."

  54. I. Magnin at 135 stockton had a gift wrapping department and for 40 years my grandmother, Agnus ran the operation. When she died I later inherited her home and in the basement were a hundred of I. Maginin boxes with that keen stipe, and in those boxes were little gift she brought home...over those many years.

  55. Thank you for this website. My grandmother took me to I. Magnin each fall and spring for my wardrobe. The sales were incredible! But we also loved the style and the experience of the store. We also shopped at Saks and Bullock's but nothing compared to Magnin's.

  56. I presently visit the one just outside of Washington DC in Virginia. They have some beautiful dresses. But I cherish a few remarks made above and
    would love to hear more of the early times, and would have loved to
    have been in your shoes during that era. My grandmother love to shop and
    taught me to walk in and just look. I missed her now as I reflect on it. I
    earnestly hope the grace and beauty and peculiarity of the ealier generations would come back in out society.

  57. My wedding dress was purchased from the SF store in 1968. It was an experience I will never forget. I still have the dress and the husband that came with it. I Magnin was a beacon of graciousness and style. My roommate worked there and I remember she had to carry a little shoebox instead of a purse when she went on breaks. The other memory is that anyone who shopped around Union Square in SF always used the ladies room at I Magnin, they were famous.

  58. What a fascinating post! I came over here from another blog which recommended your site. So many of us well remember the department stores of old. When shopping was a pleasurable experience in stores of distinction and elegance, with exquisitely-dressed employees, excellent customer service, an atmosphere of refinement and often amid distinguished customers...and, of course, the fine products, including quality clothing, not just stylish but sewn to last for more than one season and more than one cleaning; displayed creatively, in "show" rooms which were not bursting at the seams with an overstuffed inventory or narrow aisles. Thanks for the memories; I miss those days...

  59. Thank You!

    I'd say you hit the nail on the head in one paragraph!


  60. My obsession with Hermes started by visiting the mezzanine shop in the San Francisco flagship as a 14 year-old. Such fond memories of a wonderful by-gone era!

  61. I worked at The Promenade at Woodland Hills (C.A.) I.Magnin just after the '94 Northridge earthquake. I was the stock person for the Crystal/China and the Linens dept. I remember upstairs we had Crystal/China and Silverware, Homegoods, Children’s and Bridal. The thing I remember the most was that the salespeople really knew their product and were more than happy to teach you, show you and inform you about its history and quality. Speaking of quality, I met Lord Wedgewood while I was working there. I was told thru the rumor mill that he has an almost photographic memory. I have yet to test it out since I haven’t' run across him since. Here's a link to the event they had while he was there... http://articles.latimes.com/1994-05-26/local/me-62433_1_wedgwood-s-china
    It was me and three shipping and receiving guys lifting the piano while the teacups were placed on the floor and we lowered the piano on top. Lord Wedgewood slid underneath for a perfect photo opportunity! Speaking of quality, I remember being told by an employee that worked there during the days after the earthquake and he told me that much of the crystal figurines and the china dinnerware had fallen on the tile floors from their display cases and DID NOT break or chip! I was there less than one year before they were bought out by Federated; I kept saying to myself "why would Federated want to buy out I.Magnin?" I remember the silly commercials with the guy from the Isuzu commercials yelling "Federated federated federated!" for some electronics store. I had just been laid off from Saks because they were not re-opening the store at The Promenade due to low performance after the earthquake. I had soo many good memories of I.Magnin like they had a Bistro upstairs! I could never afford the stuff their but I did used to get samples of the Lady Godiva chocolates! They even filmed a movie there, 'Night of the Comet', where they had a shootout in the shoe dept!
    When they finally closed the doors, the ladies in the perfume dept gave me boxes of samples and explained that perfumes work with your body chemistry that’s why certain perfumes smell different on different people. I got boxes of Godiva chocolates because they couldn't do anything with the bulk boxes that were only in the plain white boxes. I asked the assistant store manager what was going to happen to the art on the walls because I had fancied a piece that was at the top of the staircase. She walked to the top of the stairs from the halfway platform and took the picture and handed it to me and said its yours. I once asked why there was there a spoon at the top of the dinner plate on display for the dinner service. The nice lady explained that it originated from French etiquette and.... That’s why the desert spoon is on top of the plate. So when an employee asked you if they could help you, they REALLY meant it!
    I had intended on only writing a few lines but the memories just kept coming. Thanks for bringing up the good ole days.

  62. Does anyone remember the children's department? I have this vague recollection that there was a carousel in it. Is this true?

  63. I remember being a freshman at Mills College and going into The City [genuflect] with a rich dorm mate from Hong Kong who was purchasing underwear, etc for her trousseau. She spend $300 in 1969 dollars [multiple by 6] for one nightgown and a bra. I still shake my head. I remember also going to the San Francisco store in 1981 after my father died. My mother had been criticized for becoming somewhat frumpy while nursing my father. I. Magnin's had a great petite department. What an elegant store that symbolized all the wonderful things San Francisco mean-truly a store with great style and graciousness in a city with great style and graciousness.

  64. My grandmother was named Mildred Hamilton, and she was the first (and maybe only) black saleslady in Pasadena I.Magnin back in the '60s and '70s to sell in the high-end fine apparel section. She was an elegant lady who loved beautiful, well-made clothes. She started as a seamstress. She suffered from some racial discrimination and ignorance, but mostly she really, really loved her job. Her customers (Pasadena ladies who lunch) called her "Millie." And she was a star salesperson because she knew all her customers and kept files on what they wanted, as well as the Pasadena social events coming up, so she knew when to contact them when she had something special coming in. She also made sure she didn't sell the same outfit to two different ladies. I Magnin would give top salespeople gold charms to wear around their necks for various years of service, along with an employee lunch. I remember her wearing hers with pride.

    Her line to close sales (these were very expensive luxury dresses) was "You don't need this dress... but you want this dress."

  65. I grew up in San Francisco in the 70's and going to shop in Union Square was always a treat. When I was 19 years old I had a summer job that gave me the first real money I'd ever had. With my first paycheck I went downtown, into I. Magnin, and bought a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, all the rage at the time (and even now). It cost me $220 dollars, a fortune for a 19 year old and nearly all of that first paycheck but I didn't care. After I paid for it I transferred all the contents of my old purse into my new bag and walked out of the store feeling like a princess! I can still vividly remember after all these many years walking around Union Square carrying my new purse and feeling very chic indeed. What a terrible shame that lovely, graceful store closed, there will never be another like it to capture the old-school elegance of San Francisco (although Gump's comes close).

  66. I have inherited a family Christening Gown with the I.Magnin name on it's label, with the following: 840 Market Street, San Francisco, Cal Manufacturer" The white label has the name and address in red thread. Can anyone give me an approximate date period that would have been sold with that label? Thanks a million.

  67. I. Magnin, Union Square in the 70's was a wonderful experience. I was stopped on the street by their Fashion Coordinator and asked to model for them and I did. The sales associates where the cream of humanity and the buyers where so savvy. I remember, I believe, on the 10th floor there was a nurse,and about 10 beds, who was so bored that she allowed us to nap at lunch. She would time you then wake you.

  68. I have recently inherited a necklace and pair of earrings in a I magnin box. The inside of the box has a tag that says I Magnin & company 11-20-56 Dept. 220 sales number 602, I'm sure the necklace was original to the box could anyone out there give me any ideas on it. My email is arnoldbj3@gmail.com

  69. The downtown Honolulu location in the Amfac building was a J. Magnin. (Amfac owned Liberty House and purchased J. Magnin in 1969.)

  70. In November of 1994, my husband and I attended the liquidation sale for I. Magnin in San Francisco. The "most priceless" item we found (in our opinion) was taped inside a drawer (many old store fixtures were also being sold). It was an old, dry, yellowed & worn sheet of paper on which was typed the following: "LABOR RATE CHART San Francisco 780 Millinery Workroom, Effective 7/1/67." And it listed "Number of Hours" and "Rate" from 15 minutes to 20.5 hours. The pay for 15 minutes of work was .86. I still have that sheet of paper.

  71. Does anyone know of the name of the manager back in 1981-82 of the gourmet food shop at I Magnin? (in the lower level)? I think his first name was Jim, last name Schaller or something like that...he moved to Seattle in 1983. I can be reached at mghendron@icloud.com thanks. :)

  72. Correction of my email address (for the post above): mfgendron@icloud.com

  73. Like cj, I, too, purchased my wedding gown from the San Francisco I. Magnin store in 1968. I was treated like a princess and will remember always that special experience. I have the same, wonderful husband as well, and we celebrated our sapphire anniversary in August. Even though 'gone with the wind,' I. Magnin will live on forever... Thank you for remembering.

  74. I just came found several I.Magnin Designer Xmas Cards at an Estate Sale! Very 40's 50's

  75. Remember Miss Evelyn in gifts on the sixth floor SFO? The best.

  76. What a lovely site. Thank you. In 1967 I was 18 years old. I am 64 today and have always loved cosmetics. I looked forward to the ads by I Magnin in the San Francisco Examiner and/or Chronicle advertising skin care classes in the store in a classroom setting for some of the European cosmetic lines (not around today) I think they were like $50.00 or $75/class. You would be given a skincare kit to take home after a two hour evening class. Oh, how I enjoyed those times. I would purchase expensive lipsticks, creams, mascaras and perfumes. Afterwards, I would treat myself to beautiful earrings (Miriam Haskell) and others. I learned to spoil myself at I Magnin. Everything was so stylish and chic. I always felt so special when I shopped there on my meager salary. Then I married and got the I Magnin credit card! I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I would attend the after Christmas sales buying whatever I wanted! Such beautiful and classy items. I still have it all today. Can't seem to part with any of it. I miss that store.
    Years later I worked in cosmetics at Macy's with a woman who had worked as a seamstress at I Magnin in the late 50's or 60's. She told me she used to dress the models. She had been the first African American woman to have that position in I Magnin San Francisco so many years ago.

  77. Please read A Store to Remember by James Thomas Mullane (2006 Falcon Press)

    It is a complete history of I. Magnin

  78. I worked at the San Francisco/Union Square, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Carmel and Santa Clara/Valley Fair I. Magnin stores. Loved it at first -- hated it when Federated took over. Things I can add -- there was a fur vault in the Union Square basement where not only expensive fur coats were left for storage by customers, but full taxidermied animals -- including a zebra and lion-- were stored in a controlled climate. The "nurses station" was on the 10th floor and had at least ten cots waiting for those ladies who experienced 'the vapors.' There were hidden passages and viewing rooms for security personnel to spy on suspected shoplifters. I have many other memories, but don't want to have nightmares tonight, so will stop. Really: 35-plus years ago and I still have periodic nightmares about the Union Square building...

  79. I worked at the Del Amo store in the late 70's. I was hired at sixteen years old by Patsy Libbatori. I have a great memories of the store. I worked with wonderful people. Some of their names I still remember, Mattie McKinney, Robert Kamafuji, Millie, Anna, Jan, Cathy Coe, Leslie Alvarado, and many more . There will never be another store like it.

  80. Hello, I am wondering about a make-up/cosmetic or jewelry case made by i magnin with the initials of " M. T. C. " on the case? Does anyone have any information for me?

    Appreciate it much,

  81. the San Francisco location was on Stockton Street, not Sockton Street. and there was a 6th Floor Hair Spa....

  82. @Tina if you look at the "MTC" initials could they perhaps be MIC? If so then it is one of the art deco logos for I. Magnin & Co.

  83. Can anyone tell me if Lou Green of California coats were sold in the stores.

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  85. Did Magnin's ever replace Bonwit's in the Hancock Building? I recall I.Magnin at the Hancock in the late 80's early 90's. Or is my memory getting away from me? They had mens at the back of 1 and they had a mezzanine with menswear. HELP!!!!


  86. Hi - does anyone remember what the I.Magnin shopping bags from the 1970s looked like? Or where I can find a picture of one? THANKS Cindy

  87. Cindy, Have you checked on eBay or google a search for historical shoppings bags, store bags? Maybe you will have some luck. :))

  88. I have seen photos of I.Magnin bags on Flickr. DO a search and you should be able to find them.

  89. There should be a website or place where we can see all the I Magnin files, records, information of the Union Square store or do you think it is all destroyed? Surely, someone must have this information on employee records?

  90. My birth mother worked at I. Magnin's San Francisco possibly in the 50s?60s/? or possibly70s. Her name was Marie Connolly. She houseshared with a lady called Marion Simpson. I eventually uncovered this about my mother when I was doing my family research. If anyone knew her I would love to receive any information as what I have is scant.


  92. As a new graduate from Oregon State University I worked in Accessories at the Portland, Oregon store on 6th and Salmon from 1965 to 1967. Miss Roy was the store Manager and at the time they had a children's department and a shoe department. All the older sales clerks wanted to work upstairs in furs or designer dresses, but we younger girls were in accessories I recall the day Dianna Ross came in to the store. Also the day a woman tired to walk out of the store with a fur under her skirt; she was caught.

  93. Thank you for the great memories. As an I. Magnin alum, I have fond memories of this great institution that is still a part of my life today. My first foray with the gem was at the La Jolla store for one year (during the Rodney King incident) before it closed and reopened in Fashion Valley, which was an awesome reopening. The team and I actually took part in the renovation of the new space in terms of decorating and setting up the various departments. At opening, it was lights, cameras, and champagne...simply in a class of its own. I started in accessories selling Sharif bags (now sold on HSN) and Hermes scarfs, but ultimately got to work in crystals where I sold my first Lalique vase. Then on to Sonia Rykiel, St. John, furs, Manolo Blahnik shoes, children's, fine jewelry, men's wear, and finally settled in the bridge department where I sold the best of Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren to name a few. Several of us got a chance to train at the famed Los Angeles I. Magnin on Wilshire Blvd, which really helped to polish our “A” game. Again, there are so, so, many great memories, but I will closed by sharing my collectibles as an employee who really understood back then what real customer service meant (the customers demanded it, and I enjoyed being of service). Of my collectibles are two employee pins that completed our sophisticated and fashionable look. The first one is a small, black and gold oval pin that simply spells I.M, and received a new one for the new store that is gold in color, in the shape of a solid “A,” with a raised letter “A” at the top and remaining print that reads “I. Magnin new attitude.” In addition, I have these great black and gold hoop earrings that are just classic and still worn to this very day. Finally, a bath would not be a bath without my Perlier Body Honey Miel (introduced to my spa experience by I. Magnin).

    Thanks for making it possible to share…enjoy!

  94. Beverly Kamps24 May, 2015 19:03

    When I moved to Los Angeles in 1976, the store on Wilshire in the Mid Wilshire area is where I was every weekend. Their home section on the top floor near the Blum's Restaurant had an employee named Peter. He was excellent in customer service and I enjoyed just discussing home decor with him. It really is funny how someone made such a great impression and still brings a smile to my face. Los Angeles was wonderful then and that area of town offered everything anyone could want!

  95. James Marlow Hayes18 June, 2015 21:41

    As a poor young boy from the small farming town of Tranquillity out side of Fresno, Ca I had very little chance of knowing the "life" the other half lived until I became best friends with Allan the only child of Ray and Ellen Lowrance that owned a large farm in the area. My first taste of this "life" came on a Saturday afternoon when I got to go with Allan, his mom and his aunt Eliose Arcelus who taught me about art and antiques. I was taken to the most wonderful place I had ever seen. It was a store in Fresno that I had never heard of called I. Magnin. I never knew there was such a place with such beautiful things. Both ladies tried on several outfits each more lovely than the last and they each bought at least one of those outfits. Allan and I walked around looking at the most beautiful things I had every seen. I just had to buy something for my mom. I found a pair of really pretty, but not real silver loop earrings. I borrowed the $10.00 from Mrs. Lowrance and promised somehow to pay back that "large" amount, which I did after several months of small payments. The look on my mom's face and the pride I had in giving her something from so magical a place changed my life. I will always remember that first time and every time that I went to I. Magnin in Fresno and later in San Francisco with joy.

  96. I think the store J.J. Haggarty's in the Los Angeles area should be added to this blog, It has several branches, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Santa Ana, and probably more. All the stores I was in had a circular stairway with a huge crystal chandelier in the center. Similar to I.Magnin. I remember they carried Mr. Blackwell.

  97. I have another suggestion for Los Angeles department store. That would be Ohrbach's. They sold some knock offs . Many times when they show the credits for a tv show it will say the clothes were from Ohrbach's The decorator that Doris Duke killed told her to stop spending so much money on those designer clothes and buy knock offs from Ohrbach's and she took his advice and started shopping there too. It was right there with May Co. Wilshire and Coulter's department store, and also had several branches.