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Posts Tagged ‘Art Deco Style’

Gatsby Summer Afternoon at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. Photo: Aiello

Diana Brito is this year’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon Chair. As a long time member of the Art Deco Society of California, she joined the board in 2019 and hit the ground running, working hard to make sure everyone this year has a good time.

Diana kindly agreed to a Q&A with ODFL.

  1. When was your first Gatsby Summer Afternoon and what do you remember most about the day?

My first Gatsby was in 2016. What I remember most fondly was that it took me away from my normally hectic life. I loved that I was able to step into a different time and place. The afternoon was warm and sunny, the grounds were brilliant green, the house looked like a sparkling jewel, and the guests were all so lovely (those flowy dresses and parasols were ethereal). Everyone seemed to move at a slower pace. It was like I had stepped into a dream, or Jay Gatsby’s estate for an afternoon soiree. I didn’t want to go home that day.

2. As a seasoned planner of Gatsby Summer Afternoon, you know the day backwards and forward. What can returning attendees expect to be the same?

The most important thing that our guests have asked about was the dancing. Our guests love to dance, and those that do not dance enjoy watching or tapping along. We are thrilled the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra will be joining us again this year. We are excited to bring back our Charleston Dance and Vintage Auto contests, the beautiful display of vintage autos, the wonderful Decobelles dance troupe, and of course visiting with old friends, and welcoming new ones.

3. What new ideas can we look forward to?

Meet Up:
There will be “New Guest and New Member” Meet-Up so new guests have an opportunity to
meet one another (seasoned Gatsby aficionados are also welcome), make new friends, learn about the Art Deco Society and the history of the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

The Great Gatsby Reading:
We are planning a salon style reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. A wonderful opportunity to hear guests read and discuss the novel.

Sponsored Tickets:
I think that the most important change this year is that we have initiated “partially sponsored” tickets available for those who might need one. This began with one of our members who graciously gave us the seed money to start this program. Since her generous donation, others have donated through Eventbrite. I am touched by our donors’ kindness.

We know this past year has been financially difficult for many and we want to help our members, and non-members, who are finding our ticket prices less than affordable. To request a partially sponsored ticket, all someone needs to do is complete a few questions and send it to us. All information remains confidential. (Check the ASDC website for more information.)

4. What do you think makes Gatsby Summer Afternoon unique in the world of period events?

The Art Deco Society is a Historic Preservation organization that focuses on the Art Deco Era and celebrates the music, art, architecture, fashion, literature, and modern culture of the time. Gatsby Summer Afternoon founder Laurie Gordon had an idea to create an event that celebrated the beauty of the era. Perhaps what makes this event so unique is that it has been in existence for 36 years. It is important to note, Gatsby Summer Afternoon is not a historic reenactment, but a celebration of a moment in time from a fictional novel. Our guests love to play along.

5. Last year Gatsby Summer Afternoon was cancelled due to the pandemic. Covid is still a concern – will there be some protocols in place? Are masks required?

We were relieved and disappointed to have to cancel our 2020 event, not only for COVID reasons, but should we have gone forward with 2020, we would have had to cancel Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2 days before the event due to the intense air quality in the Bay Area. Yes, Gatsby was scheduled on the week our skies turned orange.

For us to move forward this year, the City of Oakland Parks Department has asked that all our guests be masked, unless eating or performing on stage. Our guests are asked to picnic at a distance, create pathways around the vintage vehicles, and that our restrooms and transportation must be sanitized. While we know that this is more than most outdoor events do, we gladly agreed as the health, safety and welfare of all of our guests is important to us.

6. What are some tips for anyone new to Gatsby Summer Afternoon?

First of all, welcome! We love our new guests and want you to know we are happy you are joining us.

I would suggest that a new guest come to our “How to Gatsby” event on August 15th to learn how to pull together an outfit, and your picnic. There will be a presentation, cocktails, and small vendors selling picnic gear and fashion.

There is a misconception that you are only allowed to wear vintage, and while we appreciate vintage, we believe that our guests can pull together looks that are inspired by the era. We encourage everyone to do what is most comfortable for them whether that be vintage, vintage inspired, sew your own outfit, or make do with that you have. Be creative.

We do encourage our guests to save their sequins and fringe for other events as this is a daytime picnic, and of course wearing sneakers, flip flops, t-shirts, cut-offs of other casual modern clothing is not in keeping with our theme. There will be no Costume Closet this year, so guests should come dressed to Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

Finally, consider joining the New Guest/New Member meet up at Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

Diana, your new ideas are great! I particularly like the Meet Up event. As longtime ADSC members and picnic site judges, my partner and I always try to make an extra effort toward new attendees to help them feel welcomed. Also, the COVID protocols are so important to keep people safe. A big Thank You to you, Diana and the ADSC Board.

The How to Gatsby: A Get-Ready Guide to an Elegant Art Deco Afternoon (presentation and sale) is set for Sunday, August 15th, 2-6 at the Alameda Naval Air Museum.

The 36th Annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon is happening Sunday, September 12, 2021, 1pm-6pm at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland, CA.

Note: I believe that Gatsby Summer Afternoon tickets this year will not be available at the gate, so make sure to purchase in advance.

For tickets and more information click here.

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Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven, and wandered around rather ill at ease among swirls and eddies of people I didn’t know.

Nick Carraway, fictional character in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It’s that time of year again, time for Gatsby Summer Afternoon! Presented by the Art Deco Society of California, Gatsby Summer Afternoon is coming up on Sunday, September 12, 2021 and once again in person at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland, after going virtual last year due to the pandemic.

Come back to ODFL tomorrow and get the latest scoop with this year’s event chair, Diana Brito.

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Please help save this stunning Art Deco lobby.

The Art Deco lobby in the McGraw-Hill building is under threat of being completely destroyed. While the façade of the building has landmark status, the inside does not and The Art Deco Society of New York is working to secure landmark status for the lobby with the Landmark Preservation Commission. They need our help. Please sign the petition.

Located on West 42nd Street in NYC the 1930 Art Deco building stands 35 stories and was designed by Raymond Hood for the McGraw-Hill publishing house, who occupied the lower floors and rented out the upper floors. The publishing house moved out and sold the building in 1972. Since then there have been many owners of the landmark building, including the current Deco Towers Associates (a foreign investment group) who recently abandoned their plans to convert the building into apartments and now want to “refurbish” the building.

There is nothing like Art Deco architecture. It is at once distinctive and timeless. We cannot afford to lose irreplaceable style and quality of work. Please readers, sign the petition and help save the McGraw-Hill lobby for the education and inspiration of future generations.

Thank you!

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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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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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Gatsby Summer Afternoon at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate.

Another Gatsby Summer Afternoon has come and gone. The 35th for the Art Deco Society of California and the very first for many attendees. This event is growing in popularity as more and more people want to experience the grace and elegance of the past.

Over 1000 enthusiasts gathered at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland for a picture perfect sunny day of dressing up, dancing, picnicking, and meeting other like-minded people.

As a picnic site judge I don’t have much time for snapping photos but I managed some and here they are. Enjoy!

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Winners of the Best Grand Picnic Site.

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Winners of the Best Petite Picnic Site. Fifteen-year-old Brendan dressed himself and his parents. He’s been collecting all things vintage for four years and is currently taking Charleston dance classes, hoping to enter a future Gatsby Summer Afternoon Charleston contest. For his picnic, he baked ginger bread using a 1934 recipe, which was Walt Disney’s favorite.

Congratulations to all the contest winners and to the ADSC for another successful year. It’s a lot of work to put on this event. Thank you Event Chair Diana Brito, Heather Ripley Former Chair and Advisor, Heidi Schave, ADSC President and Advisor, and Marie Riccobene, Former Chair and Advisor. Thank you also to the ADSC board members and the dozens and dozens of volunteers who make the day possible.

Save the date for the next Gatsby Summer Afternoon, September 13, 2020 (always the second Sunday in September).

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Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2018. Photo: Richard Aiello.

It was a record breaking year for the Art Deco Society of California Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Just over 1000 people gathered on Sunday, September 9th for an opportunity to live for a day the elegance of the 1920s/1930s.

Attendance to Gatsby Summer Afternoon has been on the increase for the past several years. I met many first timers.  One young woman heard about the event from Face Book and was happy to pull out her extensive collection of all things vintage. Quite a few attendees were from LA and a woman from the Sacramento Art Deco Society was very impressed with her first visit, commenting on how well organized the event was.

The costumes of course were fabulous. Everyone dressed to the nines in period appropriate clothing (1920s-30s). Here’s a look-see:

 

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I like how this couple, Kim and Kenneth, coordinated their colors and gave a nod to the upcoming fall season with touches of orange.

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Katie and Gregg toast the day. Katie made her dress and it turned out great!

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This was Ann’s first Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Doesn’t she look lovely? Ann found her dress at Relic Vintage in SF.

 

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Jill (pictured right) was attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon for the first time with her old college chum, Amy. Jill told us that she remembers the very first invitation from 34 years ago. She wasn’t able to attend and for one reason or another hasn’t all these years since. But she wanted to and has been planning. Finally this was the year! She was so thrilled to win Best Petite Picnic Site her excitement and big smile made my day. Oh, and she made her dress!

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And here’s yours truly. This is the third time I’ve worn this dress to Gatsby Summer Afternoon. I found it at Vintage Fashion Expo. The lace gloves came from Lacis in Berkeley. The purse was my grandmother’s and the pendant was my great grandmother’s. People often comment on my sunglasses, which are not period. They’re Liz Claiborne, circa 1990s.

It takes a lot of volunteers to put this day together. A round of applause for the committee and Event Co-Chairs Heather Ripley and Marie Riccobene. Gatsby Summer Afternoon was founded by Laurie Gordon.

We look forward to next year when the Art Deco Society of California will celebrate 35 years of Gatsby Summer Afternoon. See what all the buzz is about and join us, Sunday, September 8, 2019.

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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_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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The (tarnished) copper and terracotta tower of Bullocks Wilshire, meant to be seen far and wide.

Art of every kind has a double job to do. First, it must be pleasing in itself. Second, it must present a faithful picture of the times in which it was produced. Good art – the kind of art that lasts for ages – always does just this. It invariably mirrors life as it is being lived. Through the art that is being produced today, future generations will come to know us. 

Jock Peters (1889-1943), Danish born architect.

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I found this quote in Bullocks Wilshire, a book by Margaret Leslie Davis which tells the tale of the impressive Art Deco building built in 1929 to house the upscale department store Bullocks Wilshire (pictured above).

Mr. Peters was the interior designer for the building and I would say that he certainly created an environment that reflects the aesthetics and values of his time.

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Art Deco elevators doors on the first floor.

Located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the famous department store had to have been the most fabulous of shopping experiences back in the day. Five floors of impeccable Art Deco design with attention to detail using materials including marble, copper, brass, crystal, and all kinds of exquisite wood. Murals inside and out by artists of the day reflected the building’s overall theme of transportation and commerce.

There was the Tea Room, the Studio of Beauty, a lounge for the ladies and a smoking room for the gents. Each department had a different Art Deco clock. Hollywood costume designer Irene sold exclusively at Bullocks Wilshire in her own department. Clark Gable bought his riding gear in the Saddle Shop. Angela Landsbury worked at the cosmetics counter before her big break in the movies.

Over the years, the building’s interior changed as styles changed. Things were covered up and painted over. Bullocks, Inc. which owned and operated several stores, merged with San Francisco’s I. Magnin in 1944. Many years later Federated Department Stores took over and then, sadly, in 1993 Bullocks Wilshire closed thanks in part to shifts in the immediate neighborhood and a decline in retail sales. The building remained unoccupied until Southwestern Law School purchased it in 1994 and immediately started a complete renovation.

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One of the many Bullocks Wilshire clocks.

On a recent visit to Los Angeles I was lucky enough to take a tour and I tip my hat to Southwestern Law School for their dedication to and appreciation of the beauty and integrity of this amazing historical structure.

 

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That’s me! In the Louis XVI Room,  which was designed to feel like Marie Antoinette’s boudoir.  This was one of two “period” rooms where ladies sat comfortably while mannequins modeled the latest fashions. There were no racks of clothing back then. Perish the thought!

Have I piqued your interest? Would you like to take a look-see yourself?  The building is not open to the public on a daily basis but twice a year in the summer there are tours. Click here for details. 

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