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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Sell Out Predicted for Vintage Fashion Show

Lorraine O'Neal knows there is truth in the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for." At 8 p.m. on Dec. 3, this Seattle swing dancer and vintage fashion expert will step up to the microphone in front of another packed house, even though she never imagined she would become a public speaker. But O'Neal's knowledge of her subject, along with natural charm, will carry her through as she addresses an eager audience at Seattle's historic Washington Hall, assembled for her 4th Annual Seattle Vintage Fashion Runway Show and Lecture. It features authentic men's and women's fashions from the 1920s through the 1950s.

This event, of her own creation, threatens to outgrow its venue and the logistics would overwhelm most people. But O'Neal tries to focus on what needs to be done instead of the shocking reality of how the little idea she had just a few years ago roared into a life of its own with as much gusto as the applause. The show sold out quickly in 2010 and surely will again, as one of the many delightful components of the Killer Diller Weekend swing dance festival, Dec. 2-4, organized by the Savoy Swing Club. It's also a history lesson.

Photo by Bobby Bonsey

Photo by Jared Lux
Not long ago, I met with O'Neal for coffee and conversation and to give her a gift. With a fun sense of fashion that never quits, she showed up in a bright red hand knit A-line dress from the '70s  that seemed made for her tall, slender frame. She set it off with patterned hosiery, and a white beret, causing a stranger to come over to our table just to say how great she looked.

Photo by Bobby Bonsey

My gift, which thrilled her, was a darling 1930s era lady's fitted suit with designer detailing, one of my own finds from an estate sale here in the Tacoma area. After hanging in a closet for decades, it will be modeled in the show. I'm trying to connect with the owner's family to let them know that their grandmother's spirit will walk again, on the runway. What she gave me in return was a serious case of her contagious enthusiasm and a new respect what it takes to do this. Later, I find out how the whole thing began.

Photo by Bobby Bonsey
"I started to get into vintage fashion when I started swing dancing in 1997," O'Neal told me, "but I definitely came from a fashionista family." Having entered the world of swing dancing, she found it populated by people who share a fascination with the past. "You get interested in the history of the time period, the history of the music, the history of the dance, and the history of the clothing. I started collecting the shoes and outfits of the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s."

Photo by Jared Lux

About five years ago, O'Neal organized a vintage fashion PowerPoint presentation of styles from the 1920s through the 1940s. "I defined each era’s fashion," she said. "I talked about what was going on in the world and how that might have affected clothing in the time period, how the styles differentiated from the other eras, and how to find them in a vintage store." She gave an example; knowing when zippers first appeared in clothing helps in determining the age of a garment.

Photo by Bobby Bonsey

Photo by Bobby Bensey

Photo by Bobby Bonsey

 Order your tickets now, before it's too late, and join me in congratulating Lorraine O'Neal on her great success, as you can see others doing below.

Lorraine O'Neal enjoys the appreciation of guests at a past show. Photo by Bobby Bonsey

If you've ever had an interest in swing dancing, look into this fun scene. Here in Tacoma we have the Abbey Ballroom and Studio 6 Ballroom offering lessons.   Here's some video of last year's Killer Diller Weekend, followed by more information on both the festival and fashion show:

Killer DillerWeekend Dec 2 - Dec 4, 2011 -- a weekend focused on the lifestyle, dance, and music of the jazz era, with classes in swing dancing and jazz music. Each evening features live jazz music, dancing, and performances.

TICKETS: Purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets. $12 tickets. Seating is limited.

Event: Vintage Fashion Show #135800

WHEN: Dec 3rd, 8:00 – 9:00pm

WHERE: The Washington Hall, 153 14th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122 Central District, Seattle

MORE INFO: Join this Event on Facebook

If you would like more information about this event, OR WOULD LIKE TO BOOK A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION, please contact Lorraine O’Neal at e-mail address: or 206.257.3815


Anonymous said...

I see I left the West Coast for New York much too early. What an event! And what intoxicating photographs you've shared with us, Candace!

SweetLindyLorraineTango said...

Oh Candace, thank you for posting about my little show. You make me feel, wow, so talented! I adore your rose colored view of life! It's inpiring! Looking forward to seeing you Saturday!