Archive for February, 2012

My 1930s Golden Gate Bridge pin. Photo by Kelly Cash.

What a grand time we all had at the California Historical Society’s opening reception for their exhibit – A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. All 700 of us enjoyed an afternoon of music by the Frisky Frolics, attendees in 1930s fashions, a line of beautiful classic cars parked outside and of course the exhibit itself, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the bridge’s opening and is ongoing through October 14, 2012.

We love our Golden Gate, but I don’t think many of us stop to consider the bridge’s history. There were folks in favor of the bridge like the oil companies, and plenty of opposers such as the Sierra Club. San Francisco residents and politicians were also at odds and there was a special election held for voters. This exhibit gives viewers a rare opportunity to learn the whole story as well as get a peek into what life was like in the area before the bridge.

When my beau and I arrived at the reception this past Sunday afternoon excitement was already brewing with a line of people waiting to get into the Exhibition Gallery alongside picketing Golden Gate Bridge workers. (Workers have been negotiating a new contract since July 2011 and are protesting outside the various GGB celebration events scheduled this year.) 

Eight-year-old Ruby knows that in 1937 a lady did not leave the house without her gloves. Photo by Richard Aiello.

Once inside attendees mingled and perused displays of bridge photographs, area landscapes, artwork, bridge artifacts, newspaper clippings, and propaganda for and against the building of the bridge.  My favorite find was a scrapbook belonging to San Francisco teenager Catherine Cline. Catherine devoted eight pages of her scrapbook to the building of the bridge. She pasted newspaper clippings, party invitations, and hand written notes inside her book, all reflecting enthusiasm for a momentous occasion in the city’s history.

Exhibit curator Jessica Hough donned a lovely black and white 1930s knit suit. Anthea Hartig, California Historical Society Executive Director gave a nod to the bridge with her vintage International Orange knit suit. Both ladies were dressed by avid vintage collector Kristin Werner, who also helped promote the event.

Laurie Gordon from the Art Deco Society of California was there speaking to the press as were a few Decobelles, who posed for photos and danced with attendees. The ADSC was a co-sponsor of the event and is also working closely with the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District on other upcoming festivities.

In honor of the bridge’s jubilee year, I’ve been sporting a steel pin etched with a depiction of the bridge. A find on Etsy, the little treasure dates from 1937. For the reception I attached it to my vintage felt hat (see photo above).

Among the chatting and discussions about the exhibit, I heard a lot of buzz about the 2012 Art Deco Society Preservation Ball at Bimbo’s coming up on May 5th. The theme for this year’s ball is of course, the Golden Gate Bridge and people are already planning their special 1930s ensembles.

Congratulations to the California Historical Society and everyone who worked so hard on this fabulous exhibition. 

A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, SF.

Read Full Post »

Vivienne Westwood London Fashion Week 2012.

After her show at London Fashion Week (February 17-22, 2012), Vivienne Westwood spoke her mind on  the state of modern fashion.

Everybody looks like clones … We are so conformist, nobody is thinking. We are all sucking up stuff. We have been trained to be consumers and we are all-consuming far too much. What I’m saying is buy less and choose well.

I think what Vivienne is talking about is style. What people lack is individual style. They might be decked out in the latest designer must-haves, but there’s no personal touch, no pizzazz. Take a look at what Vivienne is wearing in the photo above : a t-shirt, baggy trousers, and platform shoes with colorful socks – that is individual style.

Read Full Post »

GGB in process.

Hey readers, did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is celebrating a jubilee? Yessiree, our golden treasure turns 75 this year.

The California Historical Society is in on the celebrations with their exhibit  A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Due to open on February 26th, 2012 the exhibit will include rarely seen works of art, personal letters, photographs, film footage, and artifacts from 100 years before the bridge to opening day in 1937.

Visitors will learn about what Bay Area life was like pre-bridge (think ferry rides), how the public initially reacted to the bridge proposal (lacked enthusiasm), and the media campaign behind the project (extensive).

To kick off the exhibit the California Historical Society is having a party on Sunday, February 26 (the anniversary of the day the project broke ground in 1933), 2:30-4:30. 678 Mission Street, SF.

Attendees are encouraged to dress in their 1930s best for a little dancing to the Frisky Frolics , photo ops with the Deco Belles, and posing next to some classic vintage cars. Co-sponsored by the Art Deco Society of California, this is a not-to-be-missed event. RSVP: Wildflight.eventbrite.com

Seventy-five years as golden as ever and still going strong. That is something to celebrate.

Read Full Post »

Mary Quant still sports her Sassoon hairdo. Photo courtesy of BBC Radio.

Mary Quant, the hip and happening designer of the mini-skirt in the 1960s, was a recent guest on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. Host Jenni Murray asked Mary, now 78, how she likes to see older women dressed.

I like them to look as though they’re enjoying what they’re wearing and to experiment with everything new that comes along.

Mary Quant

Read Full Post »

Style Caster Fashion Week totes designed by Serene Bacigalupi.

There’s a new trend in totes. It used to be that  a designer logo bag was the must-have but ah ha, not anymore. Nope, what best reflects fashion status in today’s Austerity and Occupy world is a freebie. A limited edition tote from a fashion show, a museum exhibit, or an art opening says, I’m not showy but I am connected.  

The latest coveted tote bag was designed by New York City artist, Serene Bacigalupi for the fashion website StyleCaster. In celebration of New York Fashion Week 2012 StyleCaster collaborated with Serene on a political theme for their party goodie bags. “We wanted to draw attention to the election season,” says Serene, “and thought that political tote bags with a fashion bent was cheeky and fun.”    

StyleCaster saw Serene’s artwork on display at the Chelsea Market in NYC and thought her quirky and imaginative style would be a good fit.

Of course the blue bag depicts our current president Barack Obama but the question was, who stands for the red? Since the GOP are still tripping over themselves to the primaries, Serene and StyleCaster decided to forgo a current candidate and dig into the 80s for an iconic Republican image. Who other than Ronald Reagan? I love this one with good old Ronnie sporting a badge that says, Style to the People. It’s just too funny.

The bags are made of cotton and are doubled sided with Reagan or Obama screen printed in black ink on one side and StyleCaster’s motto, Style to the People on the other. Serene says she was hesitant to use Reagan as she didn’t want her business, Leroy’s Place, connected to anything Republican. “I had a really hard time negotiating the line between belief, bipartisanism, and art,” she explains. ” I do feel like Reagan is kind of a funny historical figure. I was definitely more comfortable with him than, say, Rick Santorum.”

Check out Serene’s other fabulous artwork on Etsy.

Read Full Post »

Models Lori Leigh Gieleghem & Joe DiPietro model vintage his and her suits.

The Isn’t it Romantic Vintage Show and Sale was great fun as I knew it would be. I came home with a 1960s black structured handbag covered with faux broad-tail fur. What a perfect match to my custom-made coat.

One memorable part of the day was catching sight of his and her matching suits modeled so nicely by Joe DiPietro and Lori Leigh Gieleghem. These suits were custom-made circa 1941 by Nash, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio and provided by vintage clothing dealer Jula Isola from City Vintage. Who wore them and where is anyone’s guess, but we know they had to be quite the sophisticated couple. (Nick and Nora perhaps?)

Lori Leigh has paired the suit with gloves and a sweet velvet hat, which was a gift from her brother years ago when such treasures could still be found for a song at The Salvation Army. Joe is also sporting the requisite hat for gentlemen plus the all important pocket square. Lori Leigh and Joe are both wearing red ties for the Valentine’s Day theme of the show.

Matching his and her is such fun. My Valentine and I often wear matching black berets and always receive a compliment or two.

It was a treat to see these suits … I love the concept and can’t help pondering how it might be used as a clue in a mystery story.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers.

Read Full Post »

For me after Yve’s death in 2008, fashion is over. I would love to admire something or somebody, but it’s difficult for me to admire fashion people today.

Pierre Bergé, business partner of Yves Saint Laurent.

Read Full Post »

Lately my mother’s main Christmas present to me comes from her own jewelry treasure chest.  Mom was once a salesperson at Shreve & Company. Later she worked at Zales and she also ran her own antique jewelry business. Over the decades she has amassed a broad selection of rings, pendants, bracelets, and other expensive and inexpensive pieces.    

This past Christmas Mom asked me the usual, What would you like from the collection? I pondered a bit and recalled that American Indian jewelry had recently been featured in the fashion magazines. Mom has quite a lot of American Indian pieces, which she started buying in the late 1960s. I asked her to choose one for me.

On the day, Mom gifted to me a green turquoise and sterling silver cuff bracelet and an almost matching ring. Turns out this is a set that belonged to my mother’s Aunt Ruth. I was instantly smitten and since then I have fallen deeply in love.

Aunt Ruth had a passion for American Indian jewelry and started buying it back in the 1930s, which is when my ring and bracelet were made. Since she lived in Greensburg, PA it’s a mystery how she found her pieces, but lucky for us she did. Aunt Ruth didn’t wear this set much and Mom has never worn it, so it has been tucked away in a drawer, unloved, waiting for me.

I’m showering it with affection, that’s for sure. I have worn both the ring and bracelet almost every day since December. I like that they aren’t matchy-matchy and that they don’t scream Native American. In fact, they look more Art Nouveau with simple feather etchings and tiny silver beads around the stones. I’ve always preferred green turquoise to the more common blue and the bracelet actually fits me (I have very small wrists and most cuff bracelets are way too big).

I have more than my share of jewelry and it’s all meaningful for one reason or another, but there is something special about this set … it speaks to me. It’s both stylish and unusual but more than that, the two pieces feel like good friends. I can’t explain it any better than that.

After wearing the set for a few weeks, I noticed that there was a very small  crack in the ring’s turquoise. I couldn’t remember if the crack was there when I got it and I was feeling stupid for perhaps wearing the ring too much and hurting the stone. How typical – these lovely pieces stay pristine for years and in three weeks I crack the stone.

Mom took a look through her jeweler’s loop and confirmed there was a crack, but not a deep one and she also could not recall if it had already been there. Then she said, You know what I think? I think the crack is Aunt Ruth speaking to you saying – thank you for loving and wearing my jewelry!

Well, if that’s true then I say in return – My pleasure, Aunt Ruth. Thank YOU and a big thanks to Mom, too.

Read Full Post »

Jason Wu designed Michelle Obama's 2009 inaugural gown.

Mrs. Obama is the perfect example of someone who shows price is not a factor in looking great.

Jason Wu

I agree that one does not have to spend a lot of money to have style. Style comes from imagination and creativity and willingness to take risks. However, I do believe that quality is essential to style. No matter how sharp a garment may look, it’s a sloppy presentation if  threads are pulling, the hemline puckers, or the fabric is cheap. Consumers don’t have to spend a fortune to look great but they should consider quality a priority. I have found quality clothing at Target (I still wear a favorite sweater I bought from Target ten years ago) and schlock at Saks.

I recommend shoppers take a good look at how a garment is made.

  • What’s the stitching like?
  • How much fabric is in the hem?
  • Is the hemline straight?
  • How does the fabric feel?
  • How is the fit?

There used to be a time when shoppers expected even inexpensive clothing to be properly constructed and made to last, but not anymore. Perhaps it’s time we raise our standards.

Read Full Post »

Image by Karl Lagerfeld in celebration of CHANEL in Japan.

Speaking of Karl Lagerfeld – he is a busy bee heading to Tokyo in March for three events:

  • reprising the CHANEL winter couture show
  • opening a CHANEL pop-up shop
  • mounting an exhibition celebrating the CHANEL tweed jacket

The exhibition is a collection of 100 photos from the upcoming book – The Little Black Jacket – by Lagerfeld and stylist, Carine Roitfeld (Steidl, 2012). The photos were taken by the multi-talented Lagerfeld and features celebrities sporting CHANEL’s LBJ. Included in the lineup are: Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claudia Schiffer, and Yoko Ono.

Did you know that Lagerfeld had published many photography books? Click here for a list.  

Read Full Post »