Studio for the refined and casual lifestyle

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” said French writer Victor Hugo in the nineteenth century, and these words could not ring more true for the genesis of Sunset and its founder and owner, Leslie Sun.

Leslie is the greatest fashion and lifestyle enthusiast that I know, an absolute minimalist, perfectionist … and a veritable bonne vivante. I don’t know anyone who is more spontaneous, experimental and so much fun. Leslie is constantly on the lookout for new and creative experiences in shopping, dining, and living from around the world, and her enthusiasm is infectious.

We met in early 2007. It was my first time in Los Angeles, and she had just helped her longtime friend Sonia Eram move her Brentwood store Mameg to its current architecturally impressive Beverly Hills location.

Our friendship was instant, and we quickly discovered our shared passions. Cars, for instance: She drove an old (shall we say vintage) black BMW 320i convertible, a sporty classic with its unmistakably sexy, angular silhouette.

And she introduced me to LA. We cruised along Sunset Boulevard from the ocean to the end. She and her friends taught me that much of the fun in eating out was the drive—often lasting nearly an hour—to dine at a seemingly innocuous dim sum restaurant or other dining destination, behind whose modest exterior awaited epicurean delights, once the destination was finally reached. It’s a typically LA phenomenon, “350 days sunshine and asphalt,” as another friend described that city we so adore.

I think it was during one of our road trips that we spoke about beauty in all its forms, and she noted how nineteenth century English poet John Keats summed it up perfectly with “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The opening line of his book, Endymion, would guide her in pursuing her own creative vision with Sunset.

Leslie possesses a brilliant combination of business savvy and artistic creativity—both head and heart. She arrived in LA from her native Taipei at the age of eighteen to study business, and then stayed on to pursue an MFA at CalArts. Her interests span design, fashion, photography, and music. She has applied her design skills in agency, retail, and academic settings. She moved back to Taipei in 2012, where she blogged for Vogue, and teaches visual communication at a university level.

But Leslie wanted to take her appreciation for design even further. Remembering Keats, and the formative influence her adopted home had on her personal aesthetics, Leslie hatched the idea of bringing a bit of that LA style sensibility to Taipei. It would be a creatively curated, experiential shopping experience—a format more familiar to US or European metropoles, but yet uncharted territory for her own home city.

In 2015, the right time, place, and circumstances converged to transform that idea into a reality. That summer, she opened her design concept store, Sunset. Its name is less a play on her family name than an ode to LA with its radiant skies at the close of the day and, of course, the iconic Sunset Boulevard, which runs through her former neighborhood of Silver Lake.

While the luxury brand boutiques in the city are housed in formidable shopping centers or posh buildings on bustling roads, Leslie knew she wanted something different. She found the perfect location in a former hair salon, located on a quiet, residential street in Taipei’s upscale Xinyi district, hailed by some as the “Manhattan of Taiwan.”

The timing couldn’t be better: Taipei has been named the World Design Capital 2016, and myriad related events are already underway.

With Sunset, Leslie celebrates the lifestyle of casual sophistication that we both love. Aspirational yet unpretentious, Sunset presents a curated slice of life, with quality, well-designed objects for daily use. Timeless and functional, its modern with a touch of whimsy, focusing on design, craftsmanship, and the pleasurable experiences they evoke. Crystal glasses are just as suited for a morning smoothie as for a champagne aperitif; fine cashmere throws are a cozy companion any time of the day.

Sunset is where Leslie brings together the inspirations that she has encountered during her travels around the globe. Germany is also on her map: She goes to Berlin for utterly scrumptious handmade chocolate by Hamann, and fashion and design creations by Bless. In Hamburg she has found delicate, handmade writing paper Bethge, as well as those iconic German tea towels with their honeycomb pattern in blue or red and white.

More a studio than a shop, Leslie envisions the Sunset space with infinite possibilities: at times a gallery, at others a cozy living room, a temporary restaurant, or even a tropical rain forest when we start to miss nature in the city. There are no glass vitrines here; objects can be touched and handled to foster an immediate tactile and emotional connection.

As Leslie explains, “With Sunset we constantly ask ourselves ‘Why not?’ as we do believe that anything is possible, if we want it enough.”

I visited Taipei for the very first time this year, to help prepare for Sunset’s grand opening. Taipei is not exactly Paris. Still, the city charmed me with its cosmopolitan flair, its safe and relaxed atmosphere, and some of the most friendly and style-minded people I have ever met.

As an ambitious Taipei neophyte, I tackled a checklist of small but necessary tasks: procuring floral arrangements, clothes hangers, and the appetizers (my quest to find the perfect donut with a particular glaze and filling is a story unto itself!). We unpacked and arranged Sunset’s new wares into the wee hours of the morning until everything was perfect.

Sunset, from dusk to dawn: a minimalist setting, filled with beautiful things and the sounds of Leslie’s classical music mixes. It was a sanctuary of calm and creativity, while outside, the seasonal typhoon brought down the rain in droves.

Sunset opened on the first day of spring, March 21, 2015. It was the perfect start to spring: with new friends, fresh ideas, and a vision to carry forward.



Tel: +886 2 8780 1710

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