Image courtesy of the Art Deco Society of California.

Image courtesy of the Art Deco Society of California.

Those of us who yearn for the grace of the early 20th century have our own time machine called Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This popular event is a period costume picnic held every second Sunday in September at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in the Oakland Hills and it’s produced by the Art Deco Society of California.  In its 30th year, Gatsby Summer Afternoon is coming up on Sunday, September 14th.

Attendees arrive all decked out in 20s garden party day-wear and set up picnic sites using only vintage gear and vintage-style food (hello Jell-O and tea sandwiches). The afternoon includes a display of vintage cars, music by Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, dancing, croquet lessons, touring the Dunsmuir mansion, and perhaps winning one of the contests for: Best Car, Best Costume, Best Charleston, or Best Picnic Site. Oh, and everyone enjoys the Decobelles dance routine and the crowning of this year’s Miss Art Deco.

Heather Ripley is a regular and often volunteers. In fact one year she was the event Chair and this year she’s on the planning committee. What Heather appreciates most is the elegant ambiance of the day. “It’s amazing to see the lawn transform from an empty field to a charming picture postcard scene from another era,” says Heather. “I make a point to take a few minutes to stop and step back and drink it all in.”


Last year we set up our Scotty Dog themed picnic site under a tree.

There’s plenty of time to purchase tickets and get thinking about what to wear. A little stumped? Not to worry, show up on the day and stop by The Costume Closet where vintage stylist Jonathan Belmares and his assistants will suit you up. Picnic sites can be as simple or elaborate as you like or skip that part and just roam the grounds.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon is THE period costume event of the year and a lovely note on which to end the summer. Check out the website for all the information you need, including tips on:

  • fashions of the era
  • how to put together the perfect picnic site
  • what kind of food fits the bill
  • and all the dos and don’ts of the day!

See you there, old pal!


fw14-campaign-1When you’re in a band – before it got to grunge – you dressed the bit. So yeah, I’ve always had an attitude with the clothes.

- Ringo Starr

Last month Ringo joined forces with the men’s clothing line, John Varvatos, and launched a campaign to help raise money for the Ringo Starr Peace & Love Fund.

Click here to check it out.

5376827c6a3ee8_71152680I thought the idea and concept of luxury was really lost nowadays. The public doesn’t know what it means. They only know the brands. True luxury is the knowledge of craftsmanship.

- Laurence Picot, journalist.

Ms. Picot has been pondering the definition of luxury since 1997. The result is an exhibit called LuxInside: Traces of Man, which consists of 14 luxury items and a medical scan of each including the new Hermès saddle and a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos. Ms. Picot’s intent is to show the inner workings and craftsmanship of these luxury goods.

imagesIt’s easier to write about clothes than to make them.

- Suzy Menkes, fashion journalist.

Ms. Menkes goes on to make the point that it helps to write well about fashion when you know a little something about how clothing is constructed. Before going into fashion journalism she studied fashion design.


On another note regarding Ms. Menkes’ hairstyle, she’s been sporting what she calls a coif since the 1980s. She says that her hairstylist came up with it when Ms. Menkes complained that her long hair got into her eyes while she wrote at her desk. According to Ms. Menkes, her husband wasn’t a fan of this style and I have to agree. But it is distinctive and now, for her, it’s a signature look.



Handcrafted shoes by Molly Grant, booth #134. Image courtesy of the ACC.

If it’s summer it must be time for the Annual American Craft Council Show, the largest juried show in the west coming up August 8-10 at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

Marking their 39th year, the ACC gathers 220 top craftspeople from around the country (25 are from the Bay Area) to exhibit and sell their wares, which includes one-of a kind jewelry, clothing, gifts, and home décor. I’ve been attending the ACC show for years and I really enjoy the uniqueness and quality of everything I see. Some of my most treasured fashions have come from the ACC show, including a lovely felted cloche hat by Wendy Allen of Miss Fitt.

How about a custom-made pair of shoes or a hand- painted silk tie? Think fall fashions and early holiday shopping.

The American Craft Council Show coming up August 8th – 10th, Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason in San Francisco.

Visit the ACC website for more information: http://craftcouncil.org/event/american-craft-council-san-francisco-show.

… only a small fraction of American consumers are willing to pay premium prices for US-made apparel. The majority of consumers think of fast fashion, discount retailers, dollar stores and coupons when it comes to purchasing clothing. Country of origin is simply not top of mind.

- Edward Hertzman, publisher of  Sourcing Journal, an apparel and textiles supply chain trade journal.

This quote is taken from Mr. Hertzman’s Op-Ed – Made in America is More Hype than Reality published in The Business of Fashion.

Well, I am one consumer that is willing to pay more for American made fashions as well as other products. But my whole approach to shopping for fashion has shifted – I buy less, often it’s vintage, and I sometimes have my clothes made. I believe a lot of people are considering the origins of what they wear and buy, but perhaps not enough.






untitledHow people look is crucial to how they are perceived.

- Nina McLemore, CEO and designer at Nina McLemore women’s apparel.

This quote is so true! And yet, no one seems to get it anymore.

Ms. McLemore designs for professional corporate women. Her client list includes Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.



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