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Posts Tagged ‘Art Deco Society of California’

IMG_20170818_171632286Just about this time of year I feel the pending shift of seasons from summer to fall and I start thinking ahead to Gatsby Summer Afternoon, always held on the second Sunday in September.

I enjoy conjuring past images of the Dunsmuir Hellman mansion surrounded by hundreds of ladies and gentlemen dressed in their Art Deco garden party finest from the 20s to the 30s. Blankets on the grass topped with baskets of food. Tables adorned with fresh flowers and champagne coupes. Classic cars shinning brightly in the sun while vintage dance tunes echo all around us. That’s the splendor of Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

This signature event of the Art Deco Society of California attracts over 1000 people every year. A time travel experience, attendees are expected to participate by dressing Art Deco and keeping to the spirit of the era with period style food and picnic site accessories. And there are prizes for those who do it well!

IMG_20170807_161957720Planning my outfit I’m channeling Daisy Buchanan with a floppy hat and flouncy dress in mauve. The hat belongs to Mom – she’ll be so happy I’m wearing it. I have a 1920s beaded handbag that was my grandmother’s and it pairs nicely with my cream colored Oxford shoes by Amalfi. A big thank you to Paula Aiello from Sew Becoming for the lovely dress.

On tap for the day is:

  • Don Neeley’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra with vocalist Carla Normand
  • The Decobells Dance Review
  • Grand Motorcar Exhibit
  • Wine Tasting
  • Specialty Cocktails
  • Dunsmuir House Tour
  • Croquet Lessons
  • Prizes for Best Costume, Best Picnic Site, Best Charleston

Plus a whole lot of visiting with like-minded people!

Interested? New to the event? The ADSC makes it easy by providing helpful tips. Not sure what to wear? Forgot an accessory? Not to worry. Onsite will be Jay Gatsby Costume Closet where appropriate items are available to rent for the day.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Sunday, September 10, 2017, 1-6. Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA. Tickets are still available but they do sell out, so don’t dawdle.

Come on old sport, join us!

 

 

 

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B&P Gatsby picnic site

Last year Paula attended her first Gatsby Summer Afternoon for which she made her own period perfect outfit and assembled a dapper look for her husband.

Speaking of Gatsby Summer Afternoon, how’s the Art Deco ensemble coming along? Need some help?

Costumer Paula Dodd Aiello is your answer! With 50 years of experience sewing and designing Paula works magic creating head to toe looks for men, women, and children. She can start from scratch, with a pattern or without, or work with pieces to put together a period perfect Gatsby Summer Afternoon look. She can even repair or re-purpose a beloved vintage this or that. (Side note:  Paula remade a vintage silk blouse for me. It was a favorite of mine but fragile and beyond repair. She was able to recreate it and it’s become a staple in my wardrobe.)

Paula’s love of sewing began as a child making clothes for her Barbie. When in high school, she made all her mother’s dresses and later her son’s Halloween costumes. Eventually Paula began designing for theater productions, working in periods from Elizabethan to Victorian to modern. She can do it all!

Do you have an idea but not the sewing skills? Has your planned outfit gone amiss? (I can relate to that.) Need something for the kids?

Give Paula a ring. There’s just enough time!

Check out her website: http://sewbecoming.com/

 

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2016 Gatsby cover art - final

Image courtesy of the ADSC.

The Art Deco Society of California’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon is right around the corner Sunday, September 11, 2016. Time to start planning!

New to Gatsby Summer Afternoon? Well simply put, it’s THE period event of the year. Attendees arrive at Oakland’s Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate decked out in 20s to 40s attire and set up picnic sites using only vintage gear and vintage-style food. The afternoon includes a display of vintage cars, music by Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, dancing, croquet lessons, touring the Dunsmuir mansion, and contests for: Best Car, Best Costume, Best Charleston, Best Picnic Site.

This marks 32 years for the ADSC’s popular event and leading the way for us is Heather Ripley as the event chair. A member of ADSC since 2000, Heather says, ” … what I found with the ADSC was a very passionate group of people with a shared interest in keeping the Art Deco era alive. It felt like I was coming home.”

Part of keeping the Art Deco era alive is events like Gatsby Summer Afternoon, which is as close to time-travel as we can get.

Heather works at Larkin Street Youth Services where she is special events manager. Those work skills have proved handy – this is her fourth time up as chair of Gatsby Summer Afternoon but she’s quick to point out it’s a team effort with many volunteers helping her to make the magic of the day happen.

Heather and I recently had a Q&A via e-mail chatting all things Gatsby Summer Afternoon:

When was your first Gatsby Summer Afternoon and what stands out about that experience?

My first was in 2001, I believe. I went with my high school friend, Julie who came up from Southern California. She made her own dress and I got mine at Dress Barn, but we had the best time putting together our outfits and packing our simple picnic lunch. It was a glorious day and we were in heaven watching all the pretty people go by while lounging on our blanket on the lawn. We then handed out “It’s-It” ice cream sandwiches. That was our volunteer task. We had such a wonderful time and I’ve been “hooked” ever since.

How did you go about planning your outfit for the day?

I think I just looked at some fashion history books from the library. I was a theater major. In fact, Julie and I had both done some stage work and we both loved old movies, so it came somewhat naturally. I had a small collection of vintage items from my mom and I had loved going to antique and second hand stores to find interesting items for special occasions. A great way to learn about tips and tricks is at the How to Gatsby lecture.

Thanks, Heather. The How to Gatsby lecture is coming up on Sunday July 31st, 2pm at Bellevue Club in Oakland.

Speaking of tips, as a former picnic site winner what tips would you offer to a new or returning attendee?

First, don’t expect to be awarded your first year, it can take some time to collect pretty items. Be sure they are things you like and reflect you and your personality. The one thing we keep in mind with judging is to bestow the award to “classic” picnics that do not fall too strongly into the “theme” category – like western, gypsy, or circus. We tend to favor pure era picnics. Plus keep in mind it’s not just about the plates and linens if you are into winning, it’s also important to prepare appropriate food from the era and possibly dress in the same colors. And having a sense of humor and creativity does not hurt. Think about it, the judges have a very difficult time!

As a former and current picnic site judge, I agree that we sure do have a difficult time! But it’s also great fun to walk the grounds and meet so many interesting fellow Art Deco lovin’ people. 

at Gatsby 2007

Heather enjoying Gatsby Summer Afternoon in 2007.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon is a full day of activities and time goes by quickly, what would you say is a definite Not To Be Missed?

We do provide printed programs with the events of the day listed so you won’t miss anything. But I would say four things this year:

  1. If you have never done it you really should go on the house tour. They are free from 3-4pm in the beautiful mansion. It’s nice to get away from the sun and appreciate the collection of items lovingly displayed.
  2. This year we are hiring a “DJ” Tanoa “Samoa Boy” on the porch area of the mansion who will be playing vinyl records with songs from the 20s and 30s! We wanted the folks closer to the mansion, who typically cannot hear the stage entertainment, to have an enjoyable experience.
  3. Stop by Stookey’s Club Modern tent to refresh with an authentic cocktail and/or enjoy tastes of delicious wine at the Le Vin Winery tent.
  4. Finally, the day would not be complete without the lively Decobelles performance at 3:30. Be sure to line up early since it can be challenging to view.

Yep, the Decobelles are always a big hit and I would add don’t miss the crowning of 2016/2017 Miss Art Deco, which happens right after the Decobelles performance.

Thank you, Heather for this chat and for all you do putting Gatsby Summer Afternoon together.

Click here for tickets and more information about How to Gatsby and Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

We’ll see ya there!

 

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IMG_20160402_211739438Whenever planning an outfit for a period costume event I start by shopping my closet. For me creating something out of what I already have is the most fun.

The theme the 2016 Art Deco Society of California Preservation Ball this year was Forbidden City: Chinese Nightclubs of the 1930s. I started with a lovely silk sheath dress by Kiss of the Wolf in a deep gold. This is really a 1920s silhouette but hey, that’s my best era so I went with it. The shoes are from my small collection, 20s copper leather and I chose my grandmother’s Whiting & Davis gold mesh evening bag. (It seemed my personal theme was colors of metal.)

IMG_20160402_211804152

I took the black sash from the dress and wrapped it around my head and … here’s the fun part, as a subtle nod to the Chinese theme I wove into the folds a pair of chopsticks. On top of the chopsticks I glued two small monkeys.

I was really excited about the jewelry – a necklace of lace silver and smokey quartz disks with a matching ring. My grandmother bought this set when she and my grandfather, an officer in the Navy, were living in China in the 1930s. So the set is the real deal!

IMG_20160314_131721558

I was very pleased with my sartorial creation, particularly because I was able to include family pieces.

The evening itself at Bimbos in San Francisco was as always a great time with lots of music, dancing, cocktails, and visiting. Congratulations to all the 2016 Preservation Award Winners, including Heather Ripley for her outstanding contribution to the Art Deco Society of California and Stookey’s Club Moderne, my new favorite SF place to stop for a drink.

Next up – Gatsby Summer Afternoon set for Sunday September 11, 2016.

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Forbidden City - PresBall

Image courtesy of The Art Deco Society of California.

The Art Deco Society of California is all abuzz planning their annual Preservation Ball, coming up on April 2nd, 2016. Titled Forbidden City, this year’s ball is honoring the Golden Age of Chinese American nightclubs popular in the 1930s.

Event Chair and Programs Director, Theresa LaQuey says the ADSC had been kicking around the idea of this kind of theme for years. Then last spring when Theresa heard a radio segment on KALW about Chinatown nightclubs, she recalled that her musician father used to perform at a nightclub called Forbidden City. That was it, Theresa was inspired to make this theme finally happen.

“It was all made sweeter as the Art Deco World Congress was going to be held in Shanghai a few months prior to the ball,” says Theresa, who is also an accomplished seamstress and pattern designer for Simplicity. “We have had such great partnering from the Chinese American community and it is such an honor for us to celebrate their contributions to American culture.”

Forbidden City opened on the edge of San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1938. The club was a popular exotic destination for the mostly Caucasian audience members dressed to the nines in the style of the times from the late 1930s through the 1950s when the club closed.

The ball will be held at everyone’s favorite Bimbo’s in San Francisco. Planned for the evening: the  Preservation Awards presentation (come meet the seven winners), silent auction, dancing, entertainment by Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, and a fashion show organized by San Francisco fashion designer Monique Zhang.

Part of the fun of attending the ball is of course, getting dressed up. It’s a formal affair requiring white tie, black tie, formal attire from the 1920s, 1930s, or 1940s. Many will want to add a touch of Chinese influence as a nod to the Forbidden City theme. Theresa suggests using accessories and color for Chinese styling – red, gold, jade green. “When it comes to things to avoid, it would be Chinese pajamas and Chinese men’s smoking jackets,” says Theresa.  “The idea is more about being someone who visits the Forbidden City nightclub, and their patrons wore standard American fashion.”

It’s the Art Deco Preservation Ball, Saturday April 2, 2016. Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco.

Oh, what fun. I can’t wait! How about you? Tickets are on sale now. Click here.

 

 

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Image courtesy of ADSC.

Image by Robert Smith. Courtesy of ADSC.

Notice something different? Well, let me fill you in. For Gatsby Summer Afternoon this year, the Art Deco Society of California decided it was time for a new invitation and program image. Event Chair Heather Ripley contacted Robert Smith, who is a Gatsby Summer Afternoon enthusiast and the graphic artist for Griffith Observatory in Southern California.   

“I explained that we wanted a fresh image,” says Heather, “gave him some parameters and on the first try he came up with this beautiful collage that is so perfect.” Indeed it is. It includes all the Gatsby elements from the drink to the gentleman’s hat to the classic car. Nice job placing the Daisy-like character in the foreground. Gotta love her oh so impish mug.

Robert Smith at Gatsby Summer Afternoon a few years back donning a 1920s Princeton football sweater. Nice!

Robert Smith at Gatsby Summer Afternoon a few years back donning a 1920s Princeton football sweater. Nice!

Robert has been a follower of the Art Deco period for twenty years and has attended Gatsby Summer Afternoon several times. “The thing that comes to mind when I think of that event is women in hats with drinks, great music, cars and well-dressed men in linen suits,” says Robert. For the new image he used advertising art of the era. The woman in the blue dress is from a cover of the August 1933 issue of Ladies Home Journal. “To push period authenticity why not utilize original art?”

When not creating great images, Robert lives vintage full-time. He shares a 1940s apartment near Pasadena with his wife Ashley, and they both dress exclusively 30s to 50s. Transport for the couple is a 1940s Dodge Luxury Deluxe Sedan, which has yet to make an appearance at Gatsby Summer Afternoon but Robert hopes some day.

In the meantime the countdown is on … the big day is coming up on Sunday, September 13th and word is that tickets are selling fast. Get yours online now and don’t miss out on a day of Deco dancing, dressing, cars, picnics, and an all around fabulous time. Like Robert says, “It’s a nonstop pleasure trip into another era!”

 (Don’t know anything about Gatsby Summer Afternoon? Click here to read my coverage for the San Francisco Chronicle.)

 

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Image courtesy of the ADSC.

Image courtesy of the ADSC.

The Art Deco Society of California is madly planning their annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon set for Sunday, September 13th at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate located in the Oakland Hills.

How are your plans coming along? Got questions?

Make a list of your questions and concerns and head on over to the How to Gatsby event Thursday, August 6th at Hotel Rex in downtown San Francisco.

The ADSC will offer tips on: how to create a period appropriate outfit, how to assemble a winning picnic site, and where to find just the right everything you need.

Plus, there’s a fashion show and shopping with vendors selling their vintage wares as well as offering even more tips and advice.

It’s a guaranteed evening of Gatsby fun.

How to Gatsby on Thursday, August 6th, 2015, Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St., SF. Cocktails 6:30 (no host bar), lecture, fashion show followed by shopping! $10 for ASDC members, $15 for non-members.

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