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Archive for August, 2018

IMG_20180730_183415On a recent visit to LA, I flew on JetSuite X, an airline that flies in and out of small airports in California and Nevada. While hanging at the Burbank Airport – Hangar 2 –  waiting for my flight home, I spotted this girl (pictured).

My first thought was: Is that vintage? (It’s not.) My second thought: Love it with the boots! My third thought: It’s hot as hell right now. I can’t imagine wearing that.

I actually don’t care for the jacket and pants. I’m not a fan of that pale denim color and the silhouette feels a little too 1990s. I also find the repeated Versace logo obnoxious. But what saves it and why I decided to write about it, is the boots. They are unexpected in color and pattern and they don’t really go with the outfit, in an interesting way. Of course boots on a hot July day in LA is absurd, nevertheless the look works and this girl pulls it off. Perhaps this was her “jet set flying outfit.” I can see that.

Turns out she was waiting for a flight to Las Vegas, so ah, no surprise. (Side note – a woman arrived on a flight from Vegas wearing slippers and expensive looking silk pajamas in a bright red floral pattern – no I’m not kidding. She accessorized with layers of attitude. By the way, it was 5PM, not AM.) Yeah, what happens in Vegas should REALLY stay in Vegas!

There’s more. When Versace Girl turned around I saw that the jacket was open and all she was wearing underneath was a white lace bra. Nice and fully covered but, a bra all the same. Retail price at Saks Fifth Avenue for the Versace jacket and pants = $2600.

I have to say there was more fashion interest going on at this JetSuite X hangar than I ever see at the usual large airport terminals.

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Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret Photo: Harper’s Bazaar

Dressing as Margaret changed my life because it was the first time I went so deep with a character through her fashion choices. She was the girl of Paris, really, always at the Dior and Chanel shows. Costume designer Michele Clapton wanted the clothes to represent Margaret’s internal life. It was about more than being period accurate; her wardrobe had to telegraph what she was feeling and where she was in her journey. For example, the dress she wears when she kisses her forbidden love, Group Captain Peter Townsend , in his office, is off the shoulder and pink chiffon. It’s romantic and free and daring, and it swishes down the corridor as she runs off. 

Vanessa Kirby – British actress. Ms Kirby plays Princess Margaret in the Netflix television series The Crown.

This quote is from an essay in Harper’s Bazaar, August 2018.

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Katie Baritell Photo: Provided

Gatsby Summer Afternoon is fast approaching! Brought to us by the Art Deco Society of California, this popular period event is always on the second Sunday of September, which this year is the 9th.

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting first timers Katie Baritell and her partner Gregg. It was a  birthday surprise for Katie from Gregg, who had heard about the event from his students. The couple are dancers and teach at The Beat in Berkeley. In addition to holding down a day job at Restoration Hardware, Katie is an avid tap dancer and admirer of the classic film Singing in the Rain. Over the past year, she has been further influenced by the ADSC and the various lectures and events they offer at the Bellevue Club.

New to sewing, she decided to make a dress for Gatsby Summer Afternoon with help from her mother. In between taps and stitches, Katie took time for a Q&A with OverDressedforLife.

What inspired you to make your own dress for this year’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon?

I saw so many impressive dresses and outfits last year and felt inspired to create an ensemble that was unique to me. That paired with learning how to sew this last year led me to think – why not make my own? I’ve been working more with costuming and learning to sew with my mom. She has been teaching, helping, and guiding me immensely. I could not do this without her … sewing is hard!

I agree! That’s lesson #1.

Are you using a pattern? Which one?

Yes. Browsing fabric books, I found a Butterick pattern. It’s a 1920s costume with a lace overlay. I decided to shorten the hem and use a lighter palette than that on the pattern’s image. It is now much better suited for daytime and dancing. I need to Charleston after all!

What are you enjoying about making your own dress? What’s not so fun?

I enjoy seeing it come together and working with my mom. It is satisfying to make something from scratch. I am learning skills – one I have had to improve on is patience! Working with chiffon as an over-skirt has been very difficult and trying. My mom noted to check in with her next time so we know what we’re getting ourselves into.

How will you style the rest of your ensemble?

I would like to make a headpiece with the fabric to match. I am also open to the idea of finding the perfect hat scouring vintage shops. I will wear brown shoes purchased years ago from Argentina. They are in the style of the 20s and great for dancing. Accessories to include Gregg’s great grandmother’s watch and my grandmother’s pearls.

I like that you’re using family pieces. That adds charm and authenticity.

What do you like the most about attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon?

Everything! Haha. I was amazed at the level of detail and enthusiasm around making the environment truly feel like a step back in time. Everything, down to the fork and knife, provided a delicious taste of the 20s. The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and dancing could not have been more fun. I think that (fittingly) was my favorite part of the day.  Hope to see you on dance floor!

IMG_20180801_130000Thank you, Katie. We’ll make sure to catch you and Gregg out on the dance floor. Don’t forget to enter the Charleston dance contest AND the costume contest. 

Gatsby Summer Afternoon, Sunday September 9, 2018. Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Ct., Oakland, CA. Click here for more information.

See you there, old sport!

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IMG_20180721_171347There are days when I feel like I can’t come up with a single good idea, but I find ways to get inspired – I have to get past my fear of failure! I go to a costume house and start touching the fabrics, the feathers, the beads. Sometimes, none of it makes any sense to me. TV pace is just so fast, I just keep moving through it and then all of a sudden it’s done, and I say “Wait. We did that?” 

Lou Eyrich – American costume designer in Hollywood. This quote is from a Q&A with The Costume Designer, the official magazine of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892.

Ms. Eyrich is known for her costumes in television. She’s worked on American Horror Story, Glee, and Asylum.

I admire Eyrich’s ability to keep the creativity going under such time constraints and pressure. What do you do when you need inspiration?

Long walks work for me when I hit a writing block. If I want to start a sewing project, I often begin with fabric. I find a fabric that I like and look for the silhouette that best suits the fabric (and me of course).

For longer term general inspiration – museums, books, old movies, travel!

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