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Published September 29th, 2021
Looking Good in Lamorinda

Julie Rubio stands next to L'Eclat by Tamara de Lempicka, 1932. Painting owned by Rowland Weinstein. Photo courtesy Julie Rubio.

Orinda resident and film producer Julie Rubio is hard at work on her latest project, "Tamara," the first full-length definitive documentary on the highly collectable painter and fashion icon of the Art Deco period, Tamara de Lempicka. Rubio says that this film, a true "labor of love," reveals the struggles and the huge success Lempicka had during her lifetime.
Born in Poland in 1898 to an aristocratic family, Lempicka later lived and married in St. Petersburg. Escaping the Russian Revolution in 1917, she, her husband and young daughter fled to Paris where she studied painting and began to create her unique approach to portraiture. Described as "Cubism with soft modeling" her style is now recognized worldwide and her works are collected by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, and Madonna. One of her pieces most recently sold for over $21 million.
Lempicka painted fashionable people of the Art Deco era, making her paintings a fascinating study for anyone interested in fashion history. A stylish woman herself, she modeled for a French fashion magazine, designed her own hats, and donned fashions by Coco Chanel.
"Tamara de Lempicka," says Rubio, "was the first woman artist to be a glamour star and fashion icon in her own lifetime." Both her fashion sense and her art continue to influence brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Shiseido.
Rubio has many a completed film under her belt, including the successful "East Side Sushi" and "Too Perfect," which she wrote, directed, and produced. Shot in Orinda, the movie premiered at the Orinda Theatre in 2011. But "Tamara" is something special to Rubio. "We have never seen before a document of her heritage," she says. "And have uncovered secrets that she took to her grave." For the past 15 years Rubio has been working closely with Lempicka's family, who have granted her access to stories, photos, and artworks. The film is set to be completed next year and in the meantime there's a fundraiser coming up this fall in Los Angeles. For more information about "Tamara," check out the website: https://www.tamaradoc.com.
Art and fashion often cross paths, as is the case with the works of Walnut Creek artist Bar Davi. During lockdown last year, Davi came to the realization that she wanted her artwork to be more widely seen. "I decided that when I could go out again," she explains, "I wanted my art to be able to go out too." So, jackets became her new canvas. An accomplished painter with 25 years experience, Davi paints images on the back of denim jackets that she finds in local thrift stores. The images she paints to are varied and include historical figures. "I am inspired by women of impact, those who we know from history, myth, headlines and our hearts," she says. Davi also takes commissions and has created jackets with images of beloved pets and original design ideas. "I see the jackets as a way for the wearer to express herself, to make a statement about what matters to her." https://www.bardavi.com.
Fashion is certainly a way to express oneself and since fall is approaching, how about some new-to-you gear for an updated look? Way Side Inn Thrift Shop in Lafayette is offering their usual special sales events. Two big ones for fall are: Better Handbags, Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, and Cashmere, Oct. 19-23. Throughout the year, choice items that come into the shop are put aside for these special sales. Way Side Inn Thrift Shop raises money for Assistance League Diablo Valley, a nonprofit volunteer organization working to improve lives in the community.
It's a new season - go forth in style.
Moya Stone is a fashion writer and blogger at www.overdressedforlife.com.

Artist Bar Davi sports one of her original jackets. Photo courtesy of Bar Davi.
Artwork by Tamara de Lempicka. Copyright 2021 Tamara de Lempicka Estate LLC. All rights reserved.

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