18th century, GBACG

GBACG Guillotine Picnic

Yesterday was the GBACG event, Surviving the Guillotine: A French Revolution picnic, which as you’ll recall I organized. It took place at Mountain View Cemetery, an historic (19th-20th century) cemetery in Oakland. And it was faaaaaaaaaabulous! I had SUCH a good time — perfect weather, everyone looked beautiful and got into the spirit of things, all my preparations and last minute sewing came together, some of my favorite people were there… I just had one of those, “I love playing dress up! I love all you guys!” days. Yay!

The only hitch was that I got there early to set up, so I could be serenely prepared when everyone else showed up — only to lock my keys in my car, with my car parked RIGHT next to our picnic area (where I’d told everyone else not to park!). I totally owe Jana for driving over to my house and back to pick up my husband’s keys.

I had a lot of fun running around cockading and be-ribboning everyone (there’s a pic of me with my basket o’ revolutionary fun, which I am amused by because the ribbons look a bit like gore) — made it very easy to greet everyone and, I hope, help them to feel included. I set up my altar, with flowers, pictures of guillotined, and letters from the soon-to-be-guillotined (which I forgot to have anyone open/read!), although the wind kept blowing out the candles. The singing was a little rusty, but lots of people joined in and we had good success with La Carmagnole and La Marseillaise. The dancing went over very well (I’m hoping someone got some pictures?) – I taught Juice of Barley, Well Hall, and Childgrove (all things English being so popular in France, of course!).

And the costumes! Yay, the costumes! Mine first, of course (hey, it’s my site!): so the little thing I whipped out was, you guessed it, a chemise dress — I was cheerfully resisting the chemise dress phenomenon until Lauren posted this video of her looking SO cute in her chemise (Lauren, I blame you!). Which made me think of my favorite dress from Marie Antoinette — the Comtesse de Polignac’s chemise gown. So I thought hey, why don’t I whip that out? Again, next time I decide to whip something out, remind me not to handsew most of it! Pictures and details here. Thanks to Bridget for the fabulous suggestion of wearing cockades on our shoes!

Everyone else looked fabulous too, as you’ll see from the pictures. I particularly loved Teresa’s chemise dress (in the icon – she looked just like La Madeleine!), Bridget’s hair with the big cockade and feather, Liz and her sister’s outstanding chintz gowns with over the top hats, Trystan’s Marie Antoinette mourning brooch, Janel’s 1780s mourning gown, Katie’s fabulous green tricorn… okay, I should stop listing as it’s going to be endless, and instead link to my pictures!

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  • Reply Katherine July 15, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    It looks like so much fun! And of course your dress should be first! Will you be joining us on Sunday at Costume College now? I think there are five confirmed at the moment, if I can count. Which I usually can’t…

  • Reply Jennifer July 15, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    I’m amused with the gown that is made of the very same IKEA fabric I’m working with right now!

  • Reply bauhausfrau July 15, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    You all look simply gorgeous, I wish I could have been there!

  • Reply Trystan L. Bass July 15, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    You crazy hand-sewing crack head! But you looked faaaaaabulous :-)

    I had a great time! Thank you for convincing me to go (bec. you know I wanted to!!!).

  • Reply Aubry July 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Oh I just adore that dress! So beautiful!

  • Reply Jenny-Rose July 15, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    You looked so fabulous! Man I want that dress now – if I find out your room number at CC I may just steal it! :>

  • Reply mala_14 July 15, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Reply Val July 15, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    You all look so beautiful!

  • Reply Alyssa July 16, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    You look WONDERFUL!

  • Reply Lauren July 16, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Your dress is SO fabulous! I can’t believe you just whipped that out. The gathering is perfect!

    And I feel special *blush*

  • Reply Katherine July 16, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    You look lovely! Polignac had my favorite dresses in MA.

    I love the long-sleeved simplicity of your dress – reminds me very much of Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Madame Seriziat, especially with your capote.

  • Reply Kate in England July 16, 2007 at 9:56 pm


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