Wilkes Bashford, the well-known San Francisco retailer who transformed the city’s retail scene, died on Saturday. He was 82 and the cause of death was prostate cancer, according to reports.
Bashford debuted his influential namesake store in 1966 and was one of the first retailers to carry Versace, Ralph Lauren, Brioni and other major men’s names. He ventured into the women’s market in the late 1970s and also operated a major shoe department through the years.
Barbara Roche, U.S. agent for shoe brand Gravati, which has been selling the store for three decades, said Bashford was always the gentleman. “He had to know everything about everything in the store,” Roche said. “He was the last of an institution, an innovator and man of exquisite taste.”
Wilkes Bashford had been owned by the Mitchell’s family of stores since 2009 After the 2008 financial crisis, Wilkes Bashford had gone into bankruptcy before being acquired.
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Under its new owners, the seven-story Wilkes Bashford store, which is located in a San Francisco townhouse, was given a dramatic revamp.