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Posts Tagged ‘Kiss of the Wolf’

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.)

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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!

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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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Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

The Art Deco Society of California Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015 was a big success with a record-setting crowd of over 1100. The weather was late-summer perfect (after a week of horribly high temps) and the Don Neely Royal Society Jazz Society Orchestra was in top form. The only thing was, “It ended too soon,” I heard people say as they wistfully packed away their vintage linens and picnic gear.

For me it was kind of unexpectedly special. Year after year I enjoy putting together outfits for Gatsby Summer Afternoon. With a collection of vintage from many eras I often cobble together looks from my closet but I have also gone shopping the season before at the Vintage Fashion Expo.

This year I decided to sport something I had been saving. It’s a dress that my older brother made back in the 80s and gave to me for my birthday one year. My brother and his wife started their fashion business Kiss of the Wolf in the late-70s and quickly became known in the wearable art world for their unique hand-painted silk clothing for women.

A simple sheath, I knew my dress had the right silhouette for the 1920s. Even though the colors of light violet and mauve are very 80s as is the diamond pattern, the combination worked just as well for the 20s. To emphasis the proper era, I took the accompanying silk sash and tied it below my waist at an angle. I added navy blue shoes and an actual 20s cloche hat, donned my grandmother’s long beaded necklace and I was Gatsby ready.

I knew it was an acceptable outfit for the very discerning crowd but I didn’t think it was anything more than that. Hey, I was wrong. Never before in all my years attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon have I received so many compliments. Both men and women made an effort to come up to me and say how fabulous they thought the dress was and how authentic. One woman said I should have won the costume contest (thanks for that!) and another commented that the whole outfit matched illustrations from 1920s fashion magazines. I mentioned, of course, that the dress actually was designed and hand-painted in the 80s by my brother, who died at a young age from cancer. People really understood then that this was indeed a very special dress.

I think my brother would have gotten a kick out of how I wore his dress and how timeless it is. I know he would be pleased that people were interested and appreciated his work.

Thanks to all the individuals who took the time to talk to me – you made my day!

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The American Craft Council Show is the number one place to find quality hand crafted wearable and decorative arts. A juried show, only the best craftspeople get in. Every August 230 artists come to San Francisco from around the country to sell their wares at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavillion. This year’s show took place August 3-5 and as usual offered great fun and fashion inspiration.

My top picks include:

Adrienne Leifer Jewelry. Adrienne makes one-of-a-kind enamel pendants. A local from San Francisco, Ms. Leifer keeps her display simple showing just the pendants in all their colorful glory. Enamel is a favorite of mine and I like these in particular because Ms. Leifer’s star and flower motifs along with her use of bold colors reminds me of the jewelry from the Art Nouveau period.

Nika Design. Walking down one of the aisles, I noticed a bit of a buzz going on in one booth so I stopped to peek in. A woman was trying on one of Veronika Braslavsky’s felted dresses. These dresses are intriguing on a hanger, but to see one on somebody demands a double take. It’s the texture and architecture of Ms. Braslavsky’s pieces that attract me. Not to mention the uniqueness. I can see one of the ladies from Advanced Style sporting one of these. No accessories necessary just don the dress and perhaps a simple hat and prepare for lots of positive attention.

Kiss of the Wolf. Hey, full disclosure …  this is family! Lori Bacigalupi is my sister-in-law. An artist as well as a fabric and clothing designer, Lori has been doing the ACC shows for years and she makes it onto everyone’s Top Picks List. She and the Kiss of the Wolf staff design jackets, blouses, skirts and pants using hand painted and screen print fabrics in silk, organza, and felted wool. All of it intended to mix and match creating multiple tres chic outfits.

Miss Fitt: Hats and scarves and mittens by Wendy Allen. OK, I admit that I don’t NEED another hat, but what’s that got to do with it? I spotted a booth brimming with felted hats and my partner, Richard, pointed out this lovely winter white cloche with the most spectacular green leaf climbing over one side. He picked it up and I tried it on and in one magical moment I knew it was a must! Everyone in the booth said so and even Richard, who thinks I don’t NEED anymore hats had to admit it’s a winner. You bet I’ve got big plans for my new hat … it’s traveling to the UK with me this autumn.

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Original outfit by Kiss of the Wolf. Photo by James Young.

As a working girl, I don’t have much of a chance to shop. But I always make time for the annual American Craft Council show coming up August 12-14 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason.

I have to admit one of the reasons I enjoy the ACC Show is because my sister-in-law, Lori Bacigalupi, is one of the 230 artists showing her wares.  

Lori’s business is called Kiss of the Wolf  and using hand painted batik and shibori fabrics she creates chic women’s jackets, dresses, blouses, skirts, vests, and scarves. Each piece is custom-made and designed to work together, allowing customers year after year to build an entire wardrobe of Kiss of the Wolf. Lori’s designs successfully blend ease with elegance.

Kiss of the Wolf is a  family business started by Lori and my brother, Marshall, in the 1970s. It was way cool for me as a teenager to be able to say, “Yes, that’s right, my brother is a fashion designer.” It was even better each Christmas and birthday when I opened large boxes containing another Kiss of the Wolf original. When I was in college, I would occasionally go on the road to help with the shows. I have fond memories of hanging out with Marshall in the studio while he painted fabric and recently it was an honor for me to model some of the new designs.

It’s now a tradition every August for my mother and me, and sometimes friends, to make our way over to the ACC Show and see Kiss of the Wolf in action. But don’t think we stop there.

Handcrafted wood handbag by Denise DeRose. Photo courtesy of The American Craft Council.

As I mentioned there are 230 artists from around the country showing  the best in handcrafted jewelry, clothing, accessories, fine art, and home decor. We spend the day and shop thinking ahead to holiday gifts. I allow myself one treat and this year I have my eye on Denise DeRose’s wood handbags.

One-of-kind, handcrafted and made in the USA. The American Craft Council Show has it all. This year is extra special as the ACC is celebrating 70 years. Check it out and make sure to stop by and see Lori at Kiss of The Wolf (booth # 319). Tell her Over Dressed for Life sent you.

The American Craft Council Show, August 12-14, San Francisco, Fort Mason. Click here for more information.

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