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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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#overdressed4life

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One of my favorite summer events is the American Craft Council Show, which is happening this year on August 3-5 at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason in San Francisco. The ACC is a juried show with more than 250 fine artists from around the country gathered to show and sell their wares: one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothing, gifts, fine art, and home décor.

Over the three days there are also various interesting activities including something called Style Slam. Here’s how it works: four local stylists shop the show and put together two looks, demonstrating how unique handmade pieces can work into any wardrobe.

One of the chosen stylists, Kristen Ikeda-Jones is a fashion designer with 25 years experience in San Francisco and around the Bay Area.

Kristen was nice enough to take a little time with ODFL for a Q&A.

Have you attended an ACC show? What are you expectations? 

This will be my very first ACC show.  I am so excited to be one of the four stylists invited to participate in this awesome event!  I’m looking forward to networking with artisans and designers in such a positive environment that promotes beautifully handcrafted wearable goods.  I can’t wait to meet other creative minds to collaborate with and I am eager to find local designers that I can promote and carry in my studio/salon slated to open next spring/summer in the East Bay.  I await the inspiration that I know will influence my capsule collection coming this Fall ’18.

With your impressive background in design and styling, what will you look for in putting your Style Slams ensembles together?

I plan on utilizing my extensive career in design and styling to help with the fast-paced time restraints we will have when pulling our looks together. I will be searching for top level craftsmanship along with the perfect subtle detail to set a piece apart.  The exact thing that sets ikedajones apart – an interesting hem line, a unique, one of a kind textile or color, a subtle twist where you least expect it ….  I love to find a creative but cohesive mix of masculine and feminine and will strive to showcase my point of view.

How do you see the unique wearable arts pieces available at the ACC show blending with more mainstream fashions?

I believe that less is more, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make an impression. When I design a collection or style a client I love to mix perfect go-to “staples” with a piece that stands out and makes a statement.  Make people’s heads turn.  The amazing designs created by the artisans at the ACC show are the perfect blend with everyday, wearable pieces because they can elevate and make your look special and unique in a way nothing found in a department store can. One unique piece can transform your everyday skinny jean, for example. You are wearing not only a one-of-a-kind piece, but you are showcasing a work of art that sets you apart from everyone else, who are settling for yoga pants!

 

I like how you think, Kristen: less is more, detail, make a statement. I’m excited to see your looks at Style Slam.

The American Craft Council Show happens here only once a year. Don’t miss the opportunity to shop for the best in all things unique.

Click here for more information about the ACC show.

 Be there or be SQUARE!

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Zack Pinsent. Photo: BBC

Why dress up in jeans and a t-shirt if you can go along to Tesco dressed as Napoleon or something?

Zack Pinsent, British tailor who specializes in Regency period clothing.

Zack dresses full time in period clothing. He’s a part of a new BBC television show, My Friend Jane, which is all about modern day fans of Jane Austen.

Speaking of period clothing, later this week I am on my way to Costume College. For the very first time I’ll be joining the ranks of other period clothing enthusiasts for three days of fashion history lectures and workshops such as:

  • Making the Phantom Bustle
  • 18th Century Coat Construction
  • How to Set an Authentic 16th Century Ruff

… just to mention a few.

I am most interested in fashion history so I’ll be headed to the lecture classes. I’m looking forward to learning about 18th century fabrics, changes in women’s fashions 1774-1784, Hanbok – modern historical Korean dress, and much much more!

Costume College is an annual “costuming arts conference” brought to us by Costumer’s Guild West, Inc.

You can be sure I’ll be writing about this and posting on Instagram.

Follow along #overdressed4life.

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Learn about the complex history of the Kashmir shawl at The Boteh Kashmir & Paisley exhibit on now at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles.

IMG_20180629_183815612Featured in this unassuming display are examples of both hand and machine woven shawls popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. The common shawl motif we know as paisley was originally referred to as boteh, a Persian word that means bush or shrub. Shawls began to appear in the eleventh century made from the fine underbelly hairs of the Himalayan goat. Using a twill weave, each shawl was handwoven and could take up to three years to complete.

In the 1700s these shawls became prized objects  when Kashmir royalty gifted them to occupying British officials. The fashion for Kashmir (cashmere) shawls among the wealthy in Britain and Europe created a demand impossible to fulfill.

Fast forward to the early 1800s when the Jacquard loom was created allowing for mass manufacturing of fabrics with intricate designs. The fashion for shawls, available only to the wealthy, could now also be enjoyed by middle-class Victorian women, although the quality must have varied.

IMG_20180629_184353649Lacis has hung the shawls on walls each with a magnifying glass to allow for an even closer look. Some of the collection is displayed on mannequins, which gives the viewer a good idea of how they were worn and why they were so popular, particularly during the fashionable hoop-skirt era. The fullness of the skirt is a perfect means for showing off one’s expensive shawl.

As you enter the exhibit there is an Introduction Label (museum speak), offering some history and general background. Along the way there are Object Labels with descriptions and dates of each shawl and illustrations of how women sported their shawls.

I recommend this exhibit to historians, textiles enthusiasts, weavers, costumers, anyone interested in fashion! The Boteh of Kashmir and Paisley is on now through February 2, 2019. Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, 2982 Adeline Street, Berkeley.

On a side note – the fashion history podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion recently posted an episode all about the shawl. For a detailed explanation of the history check out Cashmere With a ‘K’: The Controversial History of a Shawl.  (Not the most professional presentation, but still very informative.)

 

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It’s quite confusing in fashion right now. You have to be doing something that you really believe in. I believe women should look glamorous in this moment in their life.

Carolina Herrera – American fashion designer.

This quote is from comments made to WWD during NYC Fashion Week in fall 2017.

I agree that a little glamour back in our lives is a good thing. Ms. Herrera’s spring 2018 line is all about ladylike glamour. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Can a shirtwaist dress look any better than this?

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Love the buttons! Here’s where comfort meets style.

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Let’s bring back the party dress.

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Love this the most! Why? Because it’s a quintessential 1920s drop-waist silhouette but with a modern twist. It is, however, calling out for accessories. Perhaps matching silver cuff bracelets one on each wrist and a hat! I’d also put her in a heel.

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Here’s my outfit for The World of Frida Kahlo opening reception. I decided it would have been kind of silly for me to try to copy Kahlo’s unique style. But I wanted to give her a nod so I did my own thing keeping her in mind.

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The skirt reminded me of Kahlo’s billowy dresses. It belonged to my grandmother and was made in Mexico, circa 1950s. I paired that with a simple cotton peasant style blouse. The purse is from the 1920s and my signature shoes are 1940s (look at the OverDresssedforLife logo). Flowers in the hair is classic Kahlo and I went with a single white one, which suits my face better than the flower headband. (Looks great on her though.) That belt has added just the right touch to so many outfits – it’s beaded and a gift from my sis-in-law (thanks Lori!), probably vintage. To add a little color around my neck I’m sporting a shell and turquoise necklace that I remember seeing on my mother back in the 1970s. I wore silver and turquoise rings and bracelets (also my mother’s) and those cat eye shades are new.

I really enjoyed shopping my own closet and creating this ensemble. I particularly got a kick out of using so many family pieces. For sure there is more of this outfit in my future. It’s comfortable and festive … perfect for a summer evening drinking sangria out on the deck.

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