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Posts Tagged ‘Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate’

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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Image courtesy of Art Deco Society of California.

When you think about it, the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are not exactly likable people, but I suppose that’s not the point. They’ve got style and we like that.

Those of us who yearn for the elegance of the early 20th century have our own time machine called Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Produced by the Art Deco Society of California, the afternoon is a period costume picnic held at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in the Oakland Hills.  In its 27th year, Gatsby Summer Afternoon happens on Sunday, September 11. 

Attendees arrive all decked out in 20s to 40s attire and set up picnic sites using only vintage gear and vintage-style food (hello Jell-O and tea sandwiches). 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 perhaps winning one of the contests for: Best Car, Best Costume, Best Charleston, Best Picnic Site, Best Hat.

Girl Reporter interviewing classic car owner Roberto Isola in 2010.

Last year I attended as Girl Reporter on assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle. This year I will volunteer to work the event, which I find to be a great way to meet people and stay busy. As for my costume, well that’s the really the fun part. I considered wearing a chiffon floral dress authentic to the period, but it’s fragile. So, to avoid any costume malfunctions I’m opting for a modern made sheath dress in the 20s style.

I was concerned about the hem length on the dress, which hits just above the knee, but I discovered in researching that between 1926 and 1928 hems were indeed above the knee. Since bare legs were not the done thing, I’m pondering a rolled stockings look.

Last year one of the costume judges mentioned to me that an essential aspect to a winning outfit is cohesion. Thirties shoes paired with a 20s dress is jarring to the trained eye. To help attendees get it right the Art Deco Society of California has helpful tips in their website.

I’ve got the dress, a straw cloche hat, and Art Deco jewelry but shoes are the final challenge. Wish me luck and stay tuned.

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