Local Event

Published on May 30th, 2016 | by Nature Humphries


Get Dressed up to Get Down at the Seersucker Shakedown June 3

Just in time for the imminent arrival of summer weather, Nautilus Publishing and The Oxford Film Festival (OFF) invite everyone to break out their most stylish seersucker duds and celebrate the launch of Milk & Sugar: The Complete Book of Seersucker on June 3 at The Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Seersucker Shakedown, a fundraiser for the nonprofit OFF, will feature a special new summer brew from Abita, a refreshing gin cocktail, entertainment from jazz band, a best-dressed contest, and more.

Memphis author Bill Haltom has compiled a lively history of the classic fabric, including some juicy tidbits on its role in popular culture. “We see seersucker now as kind of an overly preppy, elite kind of fabric suit, but it has extremely humble beginnings,” said Nautilus’ Marketing Director Molly Beth Shaffer. In the book, Haltom explains that, although the fabric originated in the British Colonial East Indies in the nineteenth century, it became ubiquitous in the hot, humid South, especially for factory workers. “The name ‘seersucker’ is derived from the Persian words ‘sheer’ and ‘shakkar,’ meaning milk and sugar,” Haltom writes. From there, New Orleans clothier Joseph Haspel recognized a need for a lightweight fabric for summertime fashion. The puckered cotton of seersucker would provide the utmost comfort for well-dressed Southerners, and the iconic suit was born in the early twentieth century.

The book boasts a smart, stylish design—light-hearted, much like the subject matter. Packed with full color, glossy photos of celebrities in their seersucker getups, it is a surprisingly engaging read. Shaffer expressed that the marketing strategy for this particular book has been somewhat different than business as usual. “It’s been fun,” Shaffer said. “With this one, we’ve focused more on getting [book signings] in men’s stores, haberdasheries . . . as opposed to bookstores because that’s where the clientele is.”


Nautilus Publisher Neil White (Left) and Milk & Sugar author Bill Haltom (Right). Photograph by Molly Beth Shaffer.

Nautilus Publisher Neil White was one of the founders of the Oxford Film Festival in 2003, so it seemed a perfect fit for the Seersucker Shakedown to benefit the festival and the event promises to be a spirited evening with friends, food, and fashion. Haltom will be on hand for a special presentation and to sign books. OFF has compiled a reel of iconic film clips featuring seersucker, including the suit worn in court by Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. A prize will be awarded to the best seersucker outfit of the evening—a pair of VIP passes to the 2017 Oxford Film Festival (February 15–17, 2017).

Advance tickets are available online at http://seersuckershakedown.bpt.me/ and are discounted for OxFilm Society and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council members. The event will take place Friday, June 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at The Powerhouse. The Local Voice Ligature


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About the Author

Nature Humphries is Editor-in-Chief of The Local Voice. Nature is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but moved to Oxford in 2004 after spending time in the United States Navy. She has also worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a server and a bartender. Nature graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in English and Modern Languages.

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