Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco History’

IMG_20170406_201618

Sporting pink flowers in an up-swept hairdo, Dede Wilsey, San Francisco Arts Museums Board Chair shared her memories of The Summer of Love in opening remarks to the press for the preview of The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll.

“I was an infant at the time but extremely sophisticated,” she said with a wink in her voice. Mrs. Wilsey arrived in San Francisco as a young adult in 1965, when, she says, Haight-Ashbuy was more pure in spirit with no homeless and no crime. Young people gathered “… sitting in the sun with flowers in their hair soaking it all up.” You could go to the famous corner and get your picture taken to send home, perhaps to rather worried parents.

San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the de young Museum is offering an exhibition that gives us a peek back to that magical time unique to our city.

IMG_20170406_180717200

Hand crochet and knit were popular looks of the era.

 

In the mid-1960s, artists, activists, writers, and musicians were heading to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood attracted by cheap rents. In 1967 the area was home to over 100,000 young people from all around the country. They began to form their own community using nearby Golden Gate Park as their hangout spot. This was a time of developing changes in politics, art, fashion, and music with hippies, as they were called, working together on their shared beliefs and aesthetics.

The Summer of Love Experience exhibits more than 300 cultural artifacts of the time, including Rock & Roll posters, photographs of people in the neighborhood, and fashion, much of which is from the museum’s permanent collection but there are also key pieces on loan from private collectors.

IMG_20170406_174451684

Hippies were interested in all things anti-establishment, particularly in how they dressed. The look was about natural and hand-made with influences from Native America, the Wild West, and vintage. Jill D’Alessandro, curator of textile and costume at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, pointed out that during that time the Western Addition neighborhood was getting redeveloped; long-time residents of aging Victorian buildings were forced to move and that resulted in piles and piles of vintage clothing showing up at thrift stores selling for next to nothing.

This dubious serendipity contributed to the unique fashions we see in this exhibit, many of which I can imagine wearing today. Local designers of the era included Jeanne Rose, Birgitta Bjerke, Mickey McGowan, and Burray Olson. Their approach was hand-made and re-purposed working with denim, leather, embroidery, beading, knit, crochet, and tie-dye. Designers and non-designers alike were influenced by, and reusing, the Victorian and Edwardian treasures they were collecting from establishments such as The Third Hand Shop, which was one of the first to embrace the vintage resale market.

IMG_20170406_174933188

Morning Glory silk blouse and Snake knit pants by Jeanne Rose.

Jeanne Rose, who has lived in the Haight since 1964, put together costumes for local bands, designed her own clothing, and hung out with Janis Joplin. Several of her creations are part of this exhibit including a knit pair of pants and a silk blouse she calls Morning Glory. I ran into Jeanne while we walked the exhibit and she told me that she wore this one herself and it is among her favorites, pointing out the beauty and grace of the sleeves on the blouse. She exclaimed, “I love it.”

Most of the galleries include displays of both men’s and women’s clothing making this a wonderland for fashionables, particularly those interested in fashion history. Added bonus – in some cases the mannequins are close enough to get a good view of construction.

Groovy music from Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and other Bay Area bands play in the background to set the mood. If  you’re up for trippin’ head to the room with psychedelic lighting and beanbag chairs.

IMG_20170409_123337

A small slice of the Poster Room.

 

The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll is on now through August 20th, 2017 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Wait there’s more! Each day this week I’m posting a different photo from this exhibit to take a closer look at some of my favorite fashion pieces. So, check back … better yet, subscribe (button top right) and get an e-mail alert with every new post on OverDressedforLife.  Ooh man, that’s far out!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

IMG_20160611_105646078

It’s free, it’s easy, it’s very informative, it’s a tour of Britex Fabrics! I recently took this tour and it was even better than I expected.

IMG_20160611_112641526_HDR

Lizzie works on first floor of Britex and is your go-to gal for all things fancy and bridal.

Britex employee Lizzie, donning one of her own creations and with infectious enthusiasm, guided us through all four floors of exquisite wools, silks, velvet … you name it. As she pulled out particularly beautiful and unique bolts of fabric from the French Lace collection (usually sectioned off by a red velvet rope), Lizzie shared with us the history of the store which opened in San Francisco in 1952. Martin and Lucy Spector owned a fabric store in NYC but while visiting here on vacation the couple fell in love with our city and relocated themselves and their shop. Since then, Britex has become a local treasure attracting brides, designers, society ladies, and lovers of textiles.

Today Britex is run by the Spectors’ daughter Sharman, who travels the world looking for the best quality in fabrics for her customers: wool from Italy, lace from France, linen from Japan. Among the curated selection are fabrics used by designers such as Chanel and Gucci, unused bolts that may be a season or two old but just as beautiful.

Did you know that:

  • Lace from France is made with ancient machines?
  • Velvet has to be stored hung on tiny pin-like hooks so as not to crease and flatten the nap?
  • Every bolt of fabric on the shelves of Britex has been tested for its content?

I learned all that and more.

Britex Fabrics store tour happens every other Saturday, 11am (Next one is June 25th.) One full hour, questions are encouraged as is feeling the fabric, which, I warn you, can be addictive.

Reservations are a must: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/four-floors-of-fabulous-a-britex-fabrics-tour-tickets-23841887728

Britex Fabrics, 146 Geary St. SF.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Deakin_Palace_Crocker

Palace of Fine Arts and the Lagoon by Edwin Deakin (1883-1923)

Speaking of museums, I just spent the best day at the de Young checking out Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) now on view through January 10, 2016.

Jewel City features some 200 paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and photos of the 20,000 originally included in the 1915 exposition and housed in the Palace Fine Arts. PPIE was intended to celebrate both the opening of the Panama Canal and the reconstruction of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake.

This was a treat for me because as a child I often walked to the Palace of Fine Arts with my dad to feed the ducks and saunter around, awestruck by the size and magnificence of this historic building. But I have never really known how the building was used for the exposition and certainly I’ve never seen the collection exhibited. In fact this is the first time since the exposition that any of the collection has been on view together.

Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945), The Victory of the Culture Over Force, 1914.

Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945), The Victory of Culture Over Force, 1914.

The exhibit is split into a series of galleries based on region and style, for example California artists, French, Italian Futurists. Many pieces are from the San Francisco of Fine Arts Museums’ own collection and others are on loan. Among my favorites were the illustrations advertising the exposition and the Arts and Crafts aesthetic reflected in the California Gallery. I was also attracted to the Hungarian Modernism Gallery, which was a definite shift from the others for its edginess. Considered Avant Garde at the time, the style was quite a shock to 1915 viewers.

Self Portrait by Hungarian artist Lojos Tihanyi (1885-1938).

Self Portrait by Hungarian artist Lojos Tihanyi (1885-1938).

This exhibit is a cultural, historic, and aesthetic feast and of course an opportunity for inspiration.  ( I like the idea of choosing a figure from one of the paintings and having her outfit recreated for next Halloween or perhaps a masquerade ball.)

Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. I suggest going on a Friday afternoon and staying into the evening when the museum stays open late and has live music and other fun and engaging activities. Click here for more information.

Read Full Post »