Posted 10 years ago
This weekend, I attended the Gatsby Summer Afternoon, hosted by the Art Deco Society of California. The idea is to re-create an elegant afternoon 1920s party like the ones Jay Gatsby would host in F. Scott Fitzgerald's famed novel. Everything at the party, from the clothing to the cars, had to look or feel like the time between 1920 and the '40s pre-World War II.
The event was held at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in the Oakland, CA, hills. The 37-room Neoclassical Revival mansion was built in 1899, set on 50 acres of landscaped grounds, which includes a carriage house, a pavilion, a pond, and a gazebo.
The home was built by Alexander Dunsmuir, a coal baron from Victoria, British Colombia, who ran the family business in San Francisco. He designed the estate, which include orchards and farms at the time, as a wedding gift for his beloved Josephine. Sadly, he died due to illness on their honeymoon, and she returned home alone, where she lived until her death in 1901. In 1906, the estate was bought by I.W. Hellman, Jr., who worked for Wells Fargo in San Francisco, as a family summer home.
Every September, the Dunsmuir lawn serves as a time machine transporting visitors to an elegant past with chic vintage fashions and antique cars, thanks to the "Grand Motor Car Exhibit."
Ladies and gents wear their best '20s and '30s (and sometimes '40s) looks, complete with a wide array of beautiful hats. Then they hit the dance floor for a fox trot or Charleston, to the sounds of a big band like Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra.
If you know anything about these cars or the fashion seen here, let me know!