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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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Scott Wentworth as Mr. Goldberg and Judith Ivey as Peg in ACT production of The Birthday Party.

“… you like my dress, Mr. Goldberg?”  and he says, “It’s out on its own.”

Mr. Goldberg, fictional character in Harold Pinter’s play The Birthday Party, first produced in London in 1958.

That line got a laugh on the night I attended the recent ACT production of The Birthday Party, as much for the way it was delivered as for anything else. But the dress itself should have caused at least a chuckle.

Peg, the character that dons this dress, is middle-aged and a bit “daft” as the Brits would say. When she comes down the stairs in her “party dress” there should be some awkward humor in the air as she comments that her father gave her the dress. I’m thinking her father bought this dress A LONG time ago, when Peg was a teenager. The play’s setting is the late 1950s, so he bought the dress in the late 1920s. Well then, that dress would be kind of old – right? Out of style for sure and too youthful. It all should be slightly uncomfortable and absurd (it’s Pinter!) as a women of a certain age prances around attired in an old dress meant for a girl. Hence Goldberg’s response – It’s out on its own.

Although the dress chosen for Peg in the ACT production is bit low cut with a loud print, it’s otherwise not so outlandish. It’s of the era (a mistake) and looks rather nice on Peg. Particularly from a distance, which is the perspective of the audience. I suppose the dress is a minor detail in the overall production, but it was a glaring misstep to me.

All that aside, I love this statement and I think we should add it to our fashion lexicon.

Oh wow! That dress! It’s out on its own!

 

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Me on the left and Jennifer Serr at The Sewing Room. (On the far right is a 1990s coat that Jennifer is altering into a 1930s silhouette.)

I first met Jennifer Serr several years ago at the Art Deco Society of California’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Jennifer and her mother caught my eye, sitting in their charming picnic site enjoying the day together. So I struck up a conversation and it turns out that Jennifer had created her dress out of a vintage tablecloth made of a lightweight embroidered silk. Further chatting revealed that she runs a sewing school in Alameda called The Sewing Room.

 

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Jennifer made this dress for Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2017.

Since then I have been following Jennifer on Instagram watching her whip together all kinds of fabulous vintage style fashions, many inspired by the popular television series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Jennifer has been sewing since she was seven years old. “I loved clothes and my mom was single with a very limited budget,” she explains. “My grandfather funded my sewing, which empowered the new clothes desire and thus enabled me to create whatever I wanted.” She was, however, only allowed to keep going with the sewing if she maintained at least a 3.5 GPA in school. “I made sure that would happen.” Smart and creative!

Keeping up with her affection for clothes, Jennifer says she makes 90 percent of what she wears.

Learning those skills at an early age has served Jennifer well, at one time working for The Gap and now teaching kids. It’s been five years since she opened The Sewing Room where she has taught many a budding seamstress/designer the basics of sewing, pattern making, and beyond.

IMG_0997 (2)But The Sewing Room isn’t just about kids! Adults are also welcome for classes, workshops, and sewing camps. This summer, July 23-27 Jennifer is planning a special adult camp – a week of sewing and fashion. Here’s her description: Students will spend the week escaping their day-to-day life, delving into the exciting world of Fashion and Sewing. Over the course of the week, students will work on apparel projects as well as explore different aspects of the Sewing World – Textiles, Color, Garment Construction, Mood Boards and more!

Students bring their own projects to work on, there will be a special guest or two and on the final day of camp – lunch! A total immersion in all things fashion. Sounds like heaven to me.

Click here for more information on Sewing Camp for Adults. 

The Sewing Room 2434 Webb Ave., Alameda is open during class times and by appointment.

Thanks, Jennifer. I look forward to seeing your creation for the upcoming ADSC Preservation Ball. 

 

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Octavia Spencer in The Shape of Water. 

Tadashi is smart in that he makes clothes that we all feel comfortable wearing. A lot of designers don’t cater to women over size 8. They’re missing out on a large amount of money. 

Octavia Spencer – American actress.

Tadashi Shoji is an American based Japanese designer known for his red carpet gowns.

Congratulations to Ms. Spencer for her 2018 Oscar nomination – Best Supporting Actress, The Shape of Water.

Speaking of Oscars here are the nominations for costumes:

Consolata Boyle – Victoria & Abdul

Mark Bridges – Phantom Thread

Jacqueline Durran – Beauty and the Beast

Jacqueline Durran – Darkest Hour

Luis Sequeira – The Shape of Water

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We are back! Sporting pussy hats, communicating our messages, and standing up against mean-spirited Trump and his ilk.

Here are some of my favorite signs this year:

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Uh-oh

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That’s right!

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A vest in Houndstooth is just the right touch on the little marching girl. 

 

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Neither can November 2020. 

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The cap, the sweater, the message. Nice! (This guy really is nice … he thanked every one of the volunteers along our route. 

 

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Enough!

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Love this!

 

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Every march needs a little sparkle. 

 

 

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Hey, Hey. Ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!

 

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Perhaps the most important message of all. 

 

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Opening reception for Britex Fabrics on 117 Post Street, SF.

Last week Britex Fabrics, the renowned San Francisco shop known for all things fabulous in fabrics, celebrated its big move – around the corner.

IMG_20180111_184158079_HDRFor sixty plus years, Britex had resided happily on Maiden Lane. It was a charming space with a narrow stairwell and a big red sign outside the windows. But in ever-changing Downtown San Francisco, the building recently sold and the new owners had plans that didn’t include our beloved fabric store.

So Britex, one of the last family-owned business in the area, packed up and moved around the corner to 117 Post Street, right next to Gumps. (What appropriate next door neighbors!) The new space is about half the size with just two floors but it’s brighter and just as charming thanks to all the meticulously hand-chosen fabrics lining the walls.

The opening reception on Thursday January 11th gathered many a fabric fan, including fashion designer Karen Caldwell and hat shop owner Peggy Purcell. Britex owner Sharman Spector making the rounds was very happy when she heard SF Chronicle fashion reporter, Tony Bravo was in the house snapping photos and soliciting quotes. The champagne flowed and the guests chatted away the evening while also admiring brocades, silks, and wool, perhaps pondering their next creative project.

IMG_20180111_185905685_HDRI was happy to see a bit of the old store with the ladders – yes they’ve survived the move. I also really like the Wall of Velvets. The second floor houses notions and it was closed to guests that night but I’m sure it’s every bit as wonderful as the third floor on Maiden Lane.

Congratulations to Ms. Spector and her staff. I’m sure I can speak for all lovers of quality textiles when I say thank you for not calling it quits.

Britex Fabrics’ new location is 117 Post Street between Grant and Kearny.

 

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Day-Lewis sports his own look for the W interview photo shoot. Navy blue suits him. 

In the case of Phantom Thread, when we started I had no curiosity about the fashion world. I didn’t want to be drawn into it. Even now, fashion itself doesn’t really interest me. In the beginning, we didn’t know what profession the protagonist would have. We chose fashion and then realized, What the hell have we let ourselves into? And then the fashion world got its hooks in me. 

Daniel Day-Lewis, British actor, starring in the film Phantom Thread.

This quote is from an interview with reporter Lynn Hirschberg for W.

To prepare for playing the part of couturier Reynolds Woodcock (a fictional character) Day-Lewis, like all good actors, did extensive research. He watched 1940s and 50s fashion show archival footage and spent many months apprenticing with Marc Happel, head of the NYC Ballet costume department. He learned to sew and even … get this –  made a Balenciaga dress.

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Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock and Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread. 

He found a photo of what he thought was a simple Balenciaga dress and decided to make it. Turns out it was not so simple but undaunted he sketched the design and went about draping gray flannel fabric on his wife, Rebecca Miller, who stepped in as a fit model. He says the hardest part was figuring out “a very particular gusset in the armpit.” By trial and error (always the way in sewing) he figured it out and lined the dress in what became Woodcock’s signature color, a pinkish lilac.

Very impressive!

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IMG_20171223_103633878_HDRI spotted this dapper fella at the Shadelands Farmer’s Market the Saturday before Christmas. Between his handlebar mustache, colorful cardigan, and natty cap I had to snap his photo for a Street Style Post.

Danyol hails from Denver, Colorado and is an artist with an unusual medium – duct-tape. He tells me he’s been sporting the cap, which belonged to his grandfather, since he was a young lad of seventeen. The sweater was a trade – a Danyol original piece of artwork for sweater – because he saw it and had to have it!

Additionally, he sports a big smile and friendly demeanor. Thanks, Danyol. It was a pleasure meeting you.

 

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