Posts Tagged ‘Golden Gate Bridge’



Above is a 1961 photo (postcard) of  the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), which was a separate branch of the US Army until 1978. WAC started serving at the Presidio in 1944, where they worked as clerks, mechanics, drivers, and they took on responsibilities such as repair and public relations.

The uniform these women are wearing was designed in 1950 by Hattie Carnegie, who was known for excellence in women’s suits.

I recently read that one way to honor Memorial Day is to pause at 3pm in a moment of silence for the men and women who died while serving in the United States military.

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What fun my sweetie, Richard, and I had the night of the Art Deco Preservation Ball at Bimbos in San Francisco. We danced and visited with like-minded people. We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and the recipients of the 2012 Art Deco Preservation Awards.

My favorite part was gazing at all the wonderfully dressed attendees in elegant ball gowns and vintage tuxedos. We admired top hats and tails, evening dresses of all kinds from beaded to satin to velvet. Many ladies donned the color of the bridge – International Orange.  What a treat to see everyone appropriately well dressed. This is a rare crowd that knows how to do it right.

In planning my look for the Ball, I wanted to somehow include the bridge in my ensemble and decided to make a fascinator. It took three months and quite a lot of thought.

I started in San Francisco souvenir shops looking for a miniature replica of the bridge. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge and I really only found one thing that would work – a refrigerator magnet. Then I went to Lacis in Berkeley for the fascinator form. They have many shapes but to properly show off the bridge I chose a simple round disk. For fabric I wanted something resembling water underneath the bridge. I used a blue speckled cotton from The Cotton Patch in Lafayette.

Assembling all the parts required careful thought. I sewed a round piece of the blue fabric to the form.  I sewed a round swatch of felt to the back of the form and then sewed hair clips (called Duck Clips) to the felt.

With the easy parts complete I took a couple of weeks pondering how best to attach the bridge. It’s a bit heavy and I knew I would be dancing, so I wanted to make sure it stayed in place. My mother suggested sewing it; a seamstress friend (thanks, Lauren!) thought perhaps snaps or velcro; Richard voted for hot glue. In the end I concluded Mom was once again right (she usually is) and sewing the bridge would provide the most security. Luckily, as with the actual bridge, there are little gaps along the span on my miniature version. Using red beading thread I sewed through the gaps in the middle attaching the bridge to the top of the form.

Richard had the clever idea of placing cotton balls around the bridge for fog, which also worked nicely to cover up the bobby pins I needed for extra attachment security. Voilà … I had my GGB fascinator. It was remarkably comfortable and it stayed in its place atop my head the entire night.

It’s worth noting that to our surprise most people didn’t really notice my fabulous fascinator. (But you did, Alice and Heather!) Someone standing next to me for quite some time finally commented. I mentioned to her that people didn’t seem to see it. She said her eye was drawn to the bright blue boa I was wearing. Undaunted, Richard and I started pointing it out (hey, we didn’t go to all that trouble to NOT get noticed). Word did get around and eventually  people came up to me saying, “We heard about your fascinator.”

I paired the fascinator with all cream including a lace 1930s-style gown, Amalfi shoes with a lace motif and Louis heel, a strand of pearls, and a lovely textured silk coat from Kiss of the Wolf.

Keeping with the spirit, Richard sported a pocket square made from the same blue fabric as on my fascinator and he pinned to his lapel a silhouette of the bridge, which originally was a key ring.

Click here and take a peek at more photos from the Ball.

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Image courtesy of the ADSC.

My mother and I had a festive Easter Sunday this year enjoying tea sandwiches, strawberries, and champagne. But the best part was spending most of the afternoon sifting through my closet assembling the perfect outfit for the upcoming Art Deco Preservation Ball on May 5th, 2012 at Bimbo’s in San Francisco.

This year’s Ball is extra special because we’re all celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Golden Gate Bridge. In honor of the bridge’s opening in 1937 attendees are encouraged to dress 1930s, which is one of my favorite eras. I’m keeping my outfit a secret but I will say that it has Mom’s approval.

My beau and I are looking forward to dancing to Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra with Carla Normand and Frederick Hodges. Vocalist Sara Klotz de Aguilar will perform and The Dimestore Dandy Ricky Quisol will be playin’ his old-time tunes. Plus local businesses and individuals who work to preserve and promote the Art Deco period will be recognized.

Won’t you join us? Come dressed in your formal vintage finest! Click here for tickets and more information: http://www.artdecosociety.org/decoball/index.htm

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Poster art by John Mattos. Image courtesy of The ADSC.

The Art Deco Society of California continues to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge with the unveiling of this fabulous poster designed by local artist John Mattos.

“John Mattos was a perfect choice to illustrate our poster,” says Karen Geer, ADSC Print Director. “He’s worked with the Parks Conservancy before and has illustrated other Art Deco buildings including the Fox Theatre in Oakland. His style has a real joy in it that plays out here beautifully.”

I agree. Mr. Mattos nicely captures the bridge’s angular Deco quality that we all love. I particularly like the rich colors he uses and inclusion of the nattily dressed lady and her dog.

The poster measures 16 inches by 32 inches and is printed on 30 percent recycled archival quality paper.

The ADSC is selling this poster as a fundraiser for the organization. A mere $75 will bring this collectible to you and support the ADSC, which strives to increase awareness of the Art Deco era as well as to preserve and promote its art, architecture, music, fashions, and other aspects of the period.

I see this poster as the perfect gift for any admirer of the Bay Area, Art Deco enthusiast, SF native … heck, anyone with impeccable taste!

For more information check out the ADSC website: http://www.artdecosociety.org/poster/

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My 1930s Golden Gate Bridge pin. Photo by Kelly Cash.

What a grand time we all had at the California Historical Society’s opening reception for their exhibit – A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. All 700 of us enjoyed an afternoon of music by the Frisky Frolics, attendees in 1930s fashions, a line of beautiful classic cars parked outside and of course the exhibit itself, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the bridge’s opening and is ongoing through October 14, 2012.

We love our Golden Gate, but I don’t think many of us stop to consider the bridge’s history. There were folks in favor of the bridge like the oil companies, and plenty of opposers such as the Sierra Club. San Francisco residents and politicians were also at odds and there was a special election held for voters. This exhibit gives viewers a rare opportunity to learn the whole story as well as get a peek into what life was like in the area before the bridge.

When my beau and I arrived at the reception this past Sunday afternoon excitement was already brewing with a line of people waiting to get into the Exhibition Gallery alongside picketing Golden Gate Bridge workers. (Workers have been negotiating a new contract since July 2011 and are protesting outside the various GGB celebration events scheduled this year.) 

Eight-year-old Ruby knows that in 1937 a lady did not leave the house without her gloves. Photo by Richard Aiello.

Once inside attendees mingled and perused displays of bridge photographs, area landscapes, artwork, bridge artifacts, newspaper clippings, and propaganda for and against the building of the bridge.  My favorite find was a scrapbook belonging to San Francisco teenager Catherine Cline. Catherine devoted eight pages of her scrapbook to the building of the bridge. She pasted newspaper clippings, party invitations, and hand written notes inside her book, all reflecting enthusiasm for a momentous occasion in the city’s history.

Exhibit curator Jessica Hough donned a lovely black and white 1930s knit suit. Anthea Hartig, California Historical Society Executive Director gave a nod to the bridge with her vintage International Orange knit suit. Both ladies were dressed by avid vintage collector Kristin Werner, who also helped promote the event.

Laurie Gordon from the Art Deco Society of California was there speaking to the press as were a few Decobelles, who posed for photos and danced with attendees. The ADSC was a co-sponsor of the event and is also working closely with the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District on other upcoming festivities.

In honor of the bridge’s jubilee year, I’ve been sporting a steel pin etched with a depiction of the bridge. A find on Etsy, the little treasure dates from 1937. For the reception I attached it to my vintage felt hat (see photo above).

Among the chatting and discussions about the exhibit, I heard a lot of buzz about the 2012 Art Deco Society Preservation Ball at Bimbo’s coming up on May 5th. The theme for this year’s ball is of course, the Golden Gate Bridge and people are already planning their special 1930s ensembles.

Congratulations to the California Historical Society and everyone who worked so hard on this fabulous exhibition. 

A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, SF.

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GGB in process.

Hey readers, did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is celebrating a jubilee? Yessiree, our golden treasure turns 75 this year.

The California Historical Society is in on the celebrations with their exhibit  A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Due to open on February 26th, 2012 the exhibit will include rarely seen works of art, personal letters, photographs, film footage, and artifacts from 100 years before the bridge to opening day in 1937.

Visitors will learn about what Bay Area life was like pre-bridge (think ferry rides), how the public initially reacted to the bridge proposal (lacked enthusiasm), and the media campaign behind the project (extensive).

To kick off the exhibit the California Historical Society is having a party on Sunday, February 26 (the anniversary of the day the project broke ground in 1933), 2:30-4:30. 678 Mission Street, SF.

Attendees are encouraged to dress in their 1930s best for a little dancing to the Frisky Frolics , photo ops with the Deco Belles, and posing next to some classic vintage cars. Co-sponsored by the Art Deco Society of California, this is a not-to-be-missed event. RSVP: Wildflight.eventbrite.com

Seventy-five years as golden as ever and still going strong. That is something to celebrate.

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