Posts Tagged ‘1920s’

i heart vintage 1920s fashion

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The Sacramento public library had a really fun 1920s fashion show event.  Unfortunately I had to leave early, because I would’ve loved to have Oohed and Aahed over the 1920s pieces up close.  The host did a great job describing each ensemble’s incredible detail.  It definitely made me put “1920s” in my current obsessive searches on ebay and etsy.

I wore the one 1920s dress I own.  I would’ve loved to have asked the host which year exactly it might be from.  Perhaps she’ll be at the next event.





Mint green silk 1920s dress with embroidery and silk ribbon flowers: ebay (also seen on Fashion Forestry)
white heels: MIA
vintage purse: found

The library had a neat display of 1920s sheet music.




And here are my mediocre shots of the amazingly beautiful fashions:







I was pretty much dying over each incredible, colorful and amazingly detailed piece.  Although the top 3 looks I posted were some of my favorites.


Farewell Empress of China

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

San Francisco is losing another vintage gem, a place I had never ventured to before I heard of its closing – the Empress of China.  The doors close on 12/31/14, so if you are in the area, I strongly recommend a visit.

Empress of China

Here is a picture of the “Rooftop Garden.”


The lounge has sweeping city views including the lovely Coit Tower.
Empress of China interior, San Francisco, 2004

I first came to the Empress for the Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Slideshow a couple weeks ago.  I met my friends Tina and Andrea for the show.

Last night at the #charlesphoenix retro holiday slideshow

I opted to dress in an Asian-inspired Christmas look, featuring this amazing 1940s hand painted/beaded blouse.

I'm all about that blouse bout that blouse #vintage #1940s hand painted and beaded awesomeness

But, I had to work the evening of the show so I had to split right after and I didn’t have enough time to see the restaurant/lounge which features decor that has been there since it opened in the early 1960s.  So I organized a cocktail meet-up with some fellow comedian friends prior to the last comedy showcase of the year at the Punch Line.  It was the perfect excuse to hang out with comics, celebrate the end of the year, and say good bye to the Empress.


This is indeed how it still looks; peacock feather sprays on the columns, gold filigree above tufted leather booths, and amazingly elaborate Asian chandeliers.

Empress of China

I’m kind of in love with that floor.

Empress of China

When you first walk in to the lobby, there are photos of celebrities and politicians who have visited the Empress.  I don’t know who this woman is, but I loved seeing her wearing a gorgeous turquoise squash blossom necklace and cuff.

This #60s lady rockin' the #squashblossom and #turqouise jewelry at the #empressofchina

And possibly the best photo of all is this one of Jayne Mansfield with the owner.

Jayne Mansfield & Kee Joon, owner of  Empress of China, 1966

Here’s the gang:

I took the opportunity to wear my newly acquired 1920s kimono.  I brought in vintage to trade at Mercy Vintage in Oakland.  I tried on this kimono and it was freakin’ amazing, but I thought I should spend my trade credit on something more practical/sensible.  A week later after thinking about it constantly, and having DREAMS featuring it, I went back and got it.  I think it was the right move.  These pictures don’t do it justice, but it is stunning.  A work of art!

Goodbye #empressofchina You shall be missed. Wore my newly acquired #1920s #kimono Thanks to everyone who came out for drinks!

So, goodbye Empress of China. You shall be missed!  Are there any other vintage SF gems I have yet to see and appreciate before they disappear?
Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year!


Vines of California

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

One of the first times I hung out with Tina Vines she showed me books and pictures of vintage chain stitched rodeo suits, and she told me how much she wanted a machine, and wanted to learn how to chainstitch. A mere two years later and Tina is chain stitching up a storm, and I’m amazed at how quickly she has mastered the art form. I’m always inspired by people with passion who go and actually do the things they love, and Tina is one of those people. She just opened an etsy shop where she is selling her beautiful one-of-a-kind handmade chain-stitched purses.

Vines of California

When Tina told me she wanted to make me a clutch, and it could literally be ANYTHING my heart desired, I had to take some time to mull it over. It’s overwhelming the possibilities!!! Should I get some cute 50s style kitschy lambs, because Mary Had a Little Lamb? Should I have poppies and the state of CA? Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein? Lizards to remind me of my boyfriend? What IS the purse where if I saw it, I would want it crazy bad??? Mid-falling asleep one night it came to me; LIPS and HANDS!

I think my love for hands and lips in fashion all started with Elsa Schiaparelli.


elsa hand schiaparelli compact.

Elsa Schiaparelli Woman's Gloves 1936

Through Schiaparelli I learned of the influence and collaboration between surrealist artists and fashion designers like her work with Salvador Dali.  The impact art has on fashion, and vice versa – it’s a powerful and joyful thing.  Take for instance the hand earrings Pablo Picasso gifted to Frida Kahlo, that she wore and immortalized in a self-portrait.

The Victorian era loved hands.

And when there was a Victorian revival in the 1920s/1940s, hands appeared in loads of jewelry, fashion and objets d’art.

bakelite brooch

Lot 780 - Two French hand-clasp celluloid cigarette cases,  one marbled cream, with yellow sleeved ivorine
1920s art deco celluloid cigarette cases

vintage cosmetic bag
No hands but Lips and Eye! – 1950s cosmetic bag

It’s become my favorite vintage motif.  If this Dita Von Teese designed dress came in my size I would’ve bought it in a heartbeat.


So I came up with a sketch of my design and sent it over to Tina including some of the above inspiration photos.


And, Tina nailed it.

A closer look at my custom clutch by @tina_vines


#ootd #ootn #personalstyle in a #1940s dress and custom @tina_vines clutch
1940s rayon novelty print dress: Alameda Vintage Fashion Fair
Clutch: Vines of California

The purse is made of a sturdy felt with a pearl snap closure. Tina even embroiders her initials on the back of the purse.  I will love it FOREVER!  I can’t recommend her purses enough, they are truly special works of art!  She has a bunch of awesome designs in her shop right now, and you can always ask her for something custom.
Go get your hands on some.


Beauty is Embarassing

Friday, July 24th, 2015

I heard about the artist Wayne White when the documentary Beauty is Embarassing came out a few years ago.  As a Pee Wee’s Playhouse fan, I was eager to see the brilliant artist behind the show’s design.  I hadn’t even realized before I saw the documentary that I had already seen his work on the walls at the diner in LA Fred 62.   I quickly bought the book Wayne White: Maybe Now I’ll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve and became a life-long fan.  And as luck would have it I happened to see that Wayne White was having an art show in San Francisco at Heron Arts AND it would have large scale pieces – which are my favorite of his work!

I was going to a fashion event after the gallery opening, so I had fun dressing up.  I realized after this evening that I have to go to more gallery openings!  Not only is there usually an open bar, but there’s a real celebration and appreciation for art and beauty in all its forms – including fashion.  You can wear the most bizarre, the most intricate garments and the people at an art gallery will GET IT!  I got so many nice compliments and the outfit opened up conversations I wouldn’t have had otherwise with complete strangers.






1930s inspired 70s Lim’s crochet dress: Ebay
1920s beaded applique and ribbon that I made into a headpiece from the Alameda Fasion Faire
1950s straw purse with raffia fruits: Midway Antique Mall in Sacramento
1950s raffia wedge slides: amazing thrift score
Abalone filigree bracelet, and turquoise ring: Mercy Vintage in Oakland, bought with store trade-in credit
Abalone ring and mother of pearl bangle: Ebay
Aqua bangle: Etsy

I sneakily took this picture of Wayne White operating his large scale puppet of sorts (the cowboy character is putting on a boot).









The Wayne White show Ass Kicking Contest closes on August 8th, so you still have some time to see it.  If you’re in or near SF I highly recommend a visit.