Magic and mystery in the Inner Sunset, near Golden Gate Park:
Misdirections is a splendid name for a magic shop: Misdirection is what gives magic tricks their magic. This particular shop not only sells cards, books, DVDs, and other paraphernalia, it also sponsors shows and lectures. I’d hoped the website would display a touch of magic—disappearing text? disembodied hands executing feats of prestidigitation?—but alas, it’s merely workmanlike. (When it works at all: the About page is missing. Maybe magic was afoot after all.)
Right next door to Misdirections is this mysterious sign:
The symbol is a pilcrow, which is a clue to the store’s name:
I’m not sure what the name Paragraph has to do with clothing—elements of style, perhaps? One clever Yelp reviewer said the store “is punctuated just right,” so maybe that has something to do with it. I did recognize “Paragraph” as belonging to the Writer’s Workshop school of retail and fashion naming, a trend I’ve been noticing in various quarters. For example, Nordstrom has a department called Narrative (“polished, casual styles and brands”), and Sears sells clothing with the Apostrophe private label (not sure whether it’s the punctuation symbol or the figure of speech). In the UK there’s an Eileen Fisher-style brand called Poetry*; I suppose when you wear the clothes it’s Poetry in motion.
There’s even a brand, exclusive to the Anthropologie chain, called Pilcro, a variant spelling of Pilcrow. (Its original name was Pilcro and the Letterpress.) Pilcro makes a halfhearted effort to follow through on the theme: there are denim styles called Edit and Stet (editing jargon for “leave it as is,” which may refer to the adjustable cuff), and an ankle-length linen-and cotton trouser called Hyphen. I’ve written previously about Anthropologie’s naming conventions here and here.
* Thanks to Passage des Perles for informing me of this brand.