Date Archives May 2013

Having the Courage to Play Dress Up All Our Lives

Upon my visit to Orchard Cove a few weeks ago, I met  a lovely woman named Diana. She was intelligent, charming, elegant, beautiful, and she happened to be wearing a gorgeous red head wrap. I was instantly drawn to Diana because of her stunning hair accessory, and the way it which it framed her face, and elevated her presence. When I approached her and asked if I could take her photograph, she was shy at first, but really came alive in front of the camera.

After I took Diana’s photograph she shared a story with me. She told me that she was dining at a restaurant when a man approached her and  said, ” You know, when you see an elephant in a room, you run the other way.” Diana told me that she was hurt by these cruel words, but she didn’t let this stop her from wearing what makes her feel comfortable.

I, like the ladies and gentleman I photograph, have been dressing up
since I was a little kid. My grandmother would let me go through my
grandfather’s drawers and play dress up with his old hats, vest, ties
and argyle socks. As I have gotten older, I haven’t stopped “playing”
and enjoying the joy that accompanies this  creative expression. Why
should we stop playing dress up, just because we are no longer

I later found out that Diana started wearing different scarves and head embellishments due to the  effects of a medical condition. Since recovering she continues to wear her turbans and wraps and has a renewed sense of freedom.

Joy Venturini Bianchi: Fashion For A Cause

During this past week, I have been roaming around the Bay Area visiting friends and family. While in San Francisco, I knew I had to track down one of my favorite style icons, Joy Venturini Bianchi. Joy is not only an international taste maker but also a philanthropist who has made it her life’s work to help the developmentally disabled. 
Joy greeted me in an incredible Ralph Rucci jacket and her signature over sized black glasses. “I love your work,” she said to me with a smile, “but honestly, I still feel like I’m 15!” Before heading out on a tour of the incredible vintage designer shop she runs on Fulton Street, Joy shared a bit of her story. She has been working with people with disabilities from a young age, volunteering with nuns at her school for an organization called Helpers of the Holy Innocents. Joy later took over as director, where she worked to house people with developmental disabilities in three homes on Fulton Street over the last four decades. Now, she operates the Helpers House of Couture which is a boutique filled with incredible vintage and designer clothing and accessories. Proceeds from the sales go to Helpers, a registered non-profit supporting grants to groups which assist the mentally disabled.
If you are in San Francisco, you must stop by this amazing treasure trove of vintage and designer duds and hopefully meet Joy along the way. If you have any donations or would just like to come in and shop, make sure to make an appointment ahead of time by calling 415-387-3031. If you can’t make it into the shop in person check out some of their fantastic pieces on 1st Dibs HERE.
Helpers House of Couture
2626 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94118