Archive for August, 2012

Image courtesy of the Art Deco Society of California.

Once again I’m looking forward to the Gatsby Summer Afternoon coming up on Sunday, September 9th. Hosted by the Art Deco Society of California, this marks the 28th year of celebrating all things Art Deco at the Dunsmuir Hellman House in the Oakland Hills.

Last September at the Vintage Fashion Expo I was thrilled to  find a summer cotton day dress in white with tiny blue polka dots and petal cap sleeves. Out come the white character shoes, white beaded handbag and paper parasol. The only thing left to do is pick up a pair of lace gloves at Lacis and draw a seam down the stockings. Oh … must not forget to pack a picnic, which will include tea sandwiches and grapes (wrapped in wax paper of course).

Gatsby Summer Afternoon is the best period event of the year! And the ADSC does an excellent job of helping attendees plan the period-perfect day from outfits to picnic food. It’s not too late … click here for tickets and more information.

Hope to see you there, Old Sport.

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The dress must not hang on the body but follow its lines. When a woman smiles the dress must smile with her.

French designer Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975).

Madame Vionnet opened her Paris fashion house in 1912. As a proponent of easier women’s clothing without the constraints of corsets, Vionnet introduced the bias cut in the 1920s. The bias cut, as we know, follows the natural form of the female shape. Vionnet was also the first to offer high fashion in ready-to-wear. She had the ability to apply couture design to mass production opening up true style to working-class women.

Vionnet was also revolutionary in her business practices offering to her employees paid holidays, maternity leave, and day-care.

The onset of WWII forced Vionnet to close her house in 1939 but she is still considered one of the preeminent designers of the 20th century.

Since the death of Madame Vionnet in 1975 her label has been bought and sold several times. The current owner is the Marzotto Group, an Italian textiles company.

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Photo: Elizabeth Lippman

What an elegant beauty Carmen Dell’Orefice is at 81 and she says she’s getting even better with age.  A model since she was 13 when she posed for Salvador Dali, Ms. Dell’Orefice has worked with such luminary photographers as Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon.

The latest issue of Alexa, the fashion broadsheet of the New York Post, features a photo shoot and interview with Ms. Dell’Orefice. Elizabeth Lippman photographed  the oldest working model in various shades of grey at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

Click here to check out this story and all the latest fashion news from Alexa.

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Pure style in clothes is as intimidating as pure style in anything else.

Elizabeth Bowen, Anglo-Irish novelist (1899-1973). One of Ms. Bowen’s best known novels, The Last September, was made into a film in 1999 and stars Maggie Smith and David Tennant. (Lovely 1920s costumes by John Bright.)

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The American Craft Council Show is the number one place to find quality hand crafted wearable and decorative arts. A juried show, only the best craftspeople get in. Every August 230 artists come to San Francisco from around the country to sell their wares at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavillion. This year’s show took place August 3-5 and as usual offered great fun and fashion inspiration.

My top picks include:

Adrienne Leifer Jewelry. Adrienne makes one-of-a-kind enamel pendants. A local from San Francisco, Ms. Leifer keeps her display simple showing just the pendants in all their colorful glory. Enamel is a favorite of mine and I like these in particular because Ms. Leifer’s star and flower motifs along with her use of bold colors reminds me of the jewelry from the Art Nouveau period.

Nika Design. Walking down one of the aisles, I noticed a bit of a buzz going on in one booth so I stopped to peek in. A woman was trying on one of Veronika Braslavsky’s felted dresses. These dresses are intriguing on a hanger, but to see one on somebody demands a double take. It’s the texture and architecture of Ms. Braslavsky’s pieces that attract me. Not to mention the uniqueness. I can see one of the ladies from Advanced Style sporting one of these. No accessories necessary just don the dress and perhaps a simple hat and prepare for lots of positive attention.

Kiss of the Wolf. Hey, full disclosure …  this is family! Lori Bacigalupi is my sister-in-law. An artist as well as a fabric and clothing designer, Lori has been doing the ACC shows for years and she makes it onto everyone’s Top Picks List. She and the Kiss of the Wolf staff design jackets, blouses, skirts and pants using hand painted and screen print fabrics in silk, organza, and felted wool. All of it intended to mix and match creating multiple tres chic outfits.

Miss Fitt: Hats and scarves and mittens by Wendy Allen. OK, I admit that I don’t NEED another hat, but what’s that got to do with it? I spotted a booth brimming with felted hats and my partner, Richard, pointed out this lovely winter white cloche with the most spectacular green leaf climbing over one side. He picked it up and I tried it on and in one magical moment I knew it was a must! Everyone in the booth said so and even Richard, who thinks I don’t NEED anymore hats had to admit it’s a winner. You bet I’ve got big plans for my new hat … it’s traveling to the UK with me this autumn.

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Gore Vidal in 1967

I don’t like the miniskirt. It makes me nervous unless she is young and pretty. The back of the leg is a dead giveaway, and then you start thinking of age and death and not of sex.

Gore Vidal in 1967. (Part of an interview with Women’s Wear Daily.) Mr. Vidal died in Los Angeles on July 31, 2012.

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The word is that we will have to wait approximately six months longer for the release of  The Great Gatsby. The powers-that-be have rethought the December 2012 release date and decided to wait until summer 2013.

Apparently Warner Brother Pictures think that The Great Gatsby is the perfect summer film and will have a greater audience draw during that time. But I wonder if perhaps it might have something to do with the lousy reviews the trailer is getting on YouTube.

I watched the trailer and personally I don’t like the modern sensibility brought to the film. I intensely dislike the music and cannot belive they aren’t using some of the fabulous Jazz tunes of the era. Also, there’s a 21st century quality to the cinematography that hits the wrong note. Of course, the producers are trying to appeal to the younger movie-going demographic by giving them something they can relate to, but it’s not working for a period film. WB claims that they are very happy with the film as is, but I’m hoping that’s just a line and there is some serious re-shooting/re-editing going on.

Click here for related story on the costumes for The Great Gatsby.

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Harper’s Bazaar featuring Rihanna, August 2012.

Personal style comes down to choices. And part of what makes fashion so wonderful is how we make pieces our own …

– Glenda Bailey, Editor-in-Chief Harper’s Bazaar

Right on! What I enjoy most about fashion is creating my own style. Every season I take note of what appeals to me in various fashion magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar. Often I tear out pages for future reference. When putting together outfits I keep favorite trends in mind and create my own versions, usually adding elements like a vintage hat or handbag. I learned this from my mother who still flips through magazines imagining how she’d rework a look to suit herself.

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