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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

When I was taking a fashion history course earlier this year, I was determined to avoid the Internet for any research I had to do. Why? Because I prefer books and thanks to the many fashion history books I’ve collected over the years, it was easy to keep the promise I made to myself.

One book I didn’t own (and it would have been quite handy) is 100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman (Laurence King Publishing, 2020).

Blackman, a fashion historian, university lecturer, and author, digs into fashion history from 1900 to circa 2000. She discusses high society, the everyday lady, designers, and all the trends from the S-Bend silhouette to Grunge.

The book is divided into two sections: 1901-1959 and 1960 onward, making the subject accessible for the serious student and the casual fashion admirer. Both sections include an overview of the fashion trends of each decade and the historical context for those trends. A complete index makes for quick and easy research.

Another reason I prefer fashion books to a search on the Internet is I can more easily study the provided photos. Similar to an exhibition catalogue the bulk of 100 Years of Fashion is photos and illustrations with captions. The over 400 images provide a visual documentation of twentieth century fashion history. Such examples are essential for fashion study, not to mention the eye candy factor.

The compact size of the book makes it a great choice to take on the road if attending a fashion conference or traveling to take a course (yes, one day the pandemic will be over).

I noticed while researching various fashion history topics that each book I went to offered a little different angle, giving me a more complete understanding. In other words, you cannot own too many books on fashion!

Books are on everyone’s gift list this year and 100 Years of Fashion is an excellent choice for anyone interested in fashion. Support your local independent book store! Most will special order whatever title you’re looking for.

Let the holiday shopping begin.

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When you are introduced for the first time, the greeting is not ‘Pleased to meet you.’ The greeting is ‘I see you.’ I see you as a complete human being. At this moment in time, it is so critically important in our country for all people to be seen in their full selves, in a way that gives them the dignity they deserve.

Kamala Harris, US Senator and Vice President Elect.

Senator Harris will be the first woman and the first woman of color to hold the office of Vice President. (What a fitting way to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.)

In this quote from an interview with Elle magazine (November, 2020) Harris was speaking about how African cultures greet each other when meeting for the first time. (The message here, “I see you” is perhaps something to keep in mind as we move forward.)

During the presidential campaign I watched with interest the style choices of both Biden and Harris.

The well-tailored suits and aviator sunglasses on Biden hit just the right balance between youthful and presidential.

Harris’ pantsuits are a practical choice for the campaign trail and Harris looks good in them. She sported simple black pumps when appropriate but she stepped off airplanes in Converse sneakers. This is a sporty and confident choice and I really like the unexpected pairing of spry sneakers with the modest pantsuit. And then there are the pearls! Harris likes her pearls, both single and double strand. Feminine and ladylike, pearls have been her go-to jewelry choice for her entire career.

Sneakers on the bottom, pearls at the top – now that’s a modern woman’s mashup!

Congratulations to President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. Hooray for you! Hooray for America!

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Author and artist Kristen Caven says she wanted to start a fashion trend but, she’s not a designer. So instead, she wrote a story that combines her interests in fashion (specifically the dirndl), German culture, and current societal issues. Her latest play, called The Dirndl Diaspora, is actually a reading with animated (and super cool) paper dolls!

Dirndl images by Leah Vass.

Caven initially had the idea to hold a dirndl fashion show at Oaktoberfest, an annual celebration of all things German in her Oakland Diamond District neighborhood. But with the pandemic in charge this year that was not meant to be, at least not in person, however, she did receive a grant from the Diamond Improvement Association to write a play and a six week writing frenzy began.

The Dirndl Diaspora tells the story of a rising Oakland fashion designer, Savannah James, whose signature look is mashups of dirndls – the dirndl silhouette created with fabrics from other cultures, such as Scottish wool tartans. The audience gets a peek into Savannah’s colorful studio and to listen in on conversations she has with her diverse clientele. They talk about history, current events, travel, life!

Caven says, “It’s my dream for this play, or a version of it, to be staged each year at Oaktoberfest (Oakland’s version of Oktoberfest) and create a focus for more cultural creativity and camaraderie among women through fashion shows and storytelling. The stitching together of multicultural fabrics is a metaphor for stitching together many cultures, as we do here in Oakland. We need to get better at it.”

We do indeed need to get better at blending and appreciating all the fabulous cultures that make up America. I see The Dirndl Diaspora as an excellent educational tool; a fun and engaging way to teach kids about history and different cultures. But it’s not just for kids, this unique show has something for all of us.

The Dirndl Diaspora is available to watch now through November 14, 2020. Click here for more information.

Congratulations to Kristen Caven and all the people who helped get The Dirndl Diaspora out into the world.

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Illustration by Nina Allender (1873-1957), American suffragist and political cartoonist.

Many suffragists spend more money on clothes than they can afford, rather than run the risk of being considered outré, and doing harm to the cause.

Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) – British suffragist.

In the early twentieth century, British suffragists chose to forgo pushing against contemporary fashion with practical masculine looks that were targeted in the press. Instead, they embraced the current trends and presented a fashionable feminine image. It made the movement less odd, more attractive and it soon became fashionable to identify with Votes for Women.

In 1908, Emily Pethick-Lawrence came up with a fashion branding idea – three colors for suffragists to wear to show their allegiance to the movement: purple for loyalty, white for purity, and green for hope. Tricolor ribbons were used on hats, belts, and badges.

American suffragists, following the lead of their British sisters, also branded the movement with three colors, but they switched out green for gold to honor the sunflower used in the 1867 Kansas referendum campaign. They wore white dresses to stand out in a crowd against men’s dark suits.

VOTEVOTEVOTE VOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTE

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Keep it fashionable and safe this Halloween.

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Voting is so much bigger than one election, one party, or one candidate. It’s great to feel inspired by candidates and the visions they put forth, but it is by no means a prerequisite to casting a ballot. Because at the end of the day, someone is going to be making the decisions about how much money your school gets and how tax money is distributed. Voting gives you a say in those matters.

Michelle Obama, former First Lady.

If you haven’t voted already, one week to go. Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

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One election year when I was in college, I got a bee in my bonnet about the importance of voting; I knew that college students tended not to vote. So, I wrote a letter to the editor of my university newspaper.

I kept it brief and said something like – We should all get out and vote. Particularly women, because we owe it to the many women before us who fought hard for the right.

When I arrived at work that election morning (I worked in a health food restaurant) one of my female co-workers approached me and said: “Moya, I wasn’t going to bother to vote but I read your letter to the editor and it inspired me.”

I was pleased to know that my small effort made even a slight difference.

California Suffragists.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women in the United States the right to vote. Even with that, not all women were welcomed at the polls; minority women suffered intimidation and voter suppression, something that continues today.

Since I was old enough to vote, I have never missed an election and this election in particular I am thinking of the thousands of women across America who, for decades, worked tirelessly for the right to vote. Not only did they work, they suffered and sacrificed as well. It would feel all wrong to take my right to vote for granted.

Ladies, don’t be left out! Have your say!

VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE.

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Matching tie, pocket square, and mask by Theresa LaQuey. Image courtesy of Theresa LaQuey.

I called it an upcoming trend and Theresa LaQuey Couture is doing it! What might that be? Why, matching masks of course.

Theresa has just announced that she is creating matching tie and mask and pocket square sets for our dashing gentlemen friends. She is also designing a blouse and mask set for the ladies.

An experienced seamstress with an eye for vintage silhouettes, Theresa has created patterns for Simplicity Patterns and run her own business making vintage inspired custom clothing since 1989. A longtime Art Deco Society of California board member, she designs and makes all the fabulous fashions she wears for both day and evening ADSC events.

I am lucky to have quite a few Theresa LaQuey creations in my wardrobe, including a beautiful suit with a 20s style coat.

Theresa says she has been making tie and pocket square sets for her husband since before they were married. Adding a mask during the current pandemic seemed a natural next step. “I am mostly using vintage inspired quilting cotton as that is what is recommended for the masks,” she explains. “However, I have figured out how to use other fabrics with the same mask protection.” Each set is largely sewn by hand and will be made on a custom basis from a selection of fabrics from Theresa’s collection or the client can provide their own fabric.

It’s the same deal for the blouse/mask set.

Holiday gifts! Social distance gatherings! Just dressing up for a change! Matching masks for all occasions is The Thing.

Visit Theresa LaQuey Couture on Facebook for more information.

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The ever stylish and gracious, RBG.

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, heroine, national treasure.

Thank you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg for your your calm and thoughtful efforts to better our world. You are an inspiration that continues on.

RIP

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Like many other happenings this pandemic year, Gatsby Summer Afternoon has been cancelled. This annual event, always held the second Sunday in September at the picturesque Dunsmuir Mansion in Oakland, is produced by the Art Deco Society of California and is one of the most popular period costume gatherings of the year. It attracts close to one thousand attendees all dressed in attire appropriate to the Art Deco era, 1920s-1940s.

To forgo this favorite event is disappointing, but safety is a priority! So, while we stay safe at home how about a visual revisit to Gatsby Summer Afternoons of the past?

We all look forward to gathering again in person hopefully next year. Save the date: Sunday, September 12, 2021.

This just in: The ADSC has announced a virtual version of Gatsby Summer Afternoon, complete with the usual contests and photo ops. Click here for the full scoop.

UPDATE: Due to unhealthy air quality, the virtual Gatsby Summer Afternoon has been rescheduled for next weekend, September 19-20, 2020.

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