“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” Jay Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
On the second Sunday in September, the 11th, the Art Deco Society of California hosts its 27th annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon at the historic Dunsmuir Helman estate at 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94615, 1 to 6pm.
Afternoon attire from 1920-1940 (or reasonable facsimile) is required as every guest is part of the scene in their vintage best. This is the perfect occasion to show off your best Art Deco fashion style. Whether you wear your favorite vintage tea dress, or you make a new outfit with true vintage flavor, attending in authentic period clothing is a must.
The Gatsby Summer Afternoon lets several hundred aficionados of the 1920s and 30s step back to a time when elegance was a way of life and the Charleston and Fox Trot were all the rage.
The panoramic Dunsmuir front lawn becomes the stage on which all participants play, picnic, dance, and sip champagne; reminiscent of a scene from The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel of 1925. Roam around the grand motor car exhibit where you can enjoy dozens of Art Deco era autos on display.
Dancing is just one of the Gatsby Summer Afternoon delights. A dance floor is assembled on the lawn, and Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra performs authentic jazz era arrangements. Even if you do not dance yourself, watching everyone in period clothing, dancing to period music is just intoxicating.
With everyone attending this event in period fashion, the effect is mesmerizing! Guests bring period-perfect picnics, with elaborate spreads, complete with silver, crystal, linens and china; to simple wicker baskets on vintage print tablecloths. They have a limited number of tables for rent, so I recommend you also bring your own tables and chairs, plus a cart with wheels to bring them to the picnic area.
Around mid-day, The Great Gatsby Bathing Beauty Revue is held. It’s hallmark are The DecoBelles, and features the crowning of this year’s Miss Art Deco.
Wine tasting is provided by LeVin Winery and the commemorative wine glass is offered for $5.
Complimentary tours of the glorious Dunsmuir House are held from 2pm to 3pm
To order tickets, which are available all through August, please call ADSC at 415-982-DECO (3326) or go to their page: artdecosociety.org/gatsby
For the future, I will be writing a series of articles which will focus on the designing of a new dress, in Deco style, to be worn with an authentic vintage hat. Yes, the hat came first. It’s style and colors will dictate the dress design. Please subscribe to this column to receive instant notice of each article.
If any of you readers have ideas for costume topics or costume events that you would like me to cover, please drop me a line. I’d like to know what you would like to know!