My growing reluctance to brave the London clubbing scene and my love of fancy dress came together this year and I decided to throw a 'Roaring 20's' party for my birthday. I find that I'm becoming increasingly fond of social gatherings and chilled 'cotches' and find them preferable to spending a night in a noisy club full of sweaty crowds and overpriced drinks where rather than simply having to go upstairs at the end of the night you have a long, cold journey home to look forward to. I know; I'm getting old, but I'm really learning to appreciate those completely random but stimulating conversations that seem to arise in the early hours of the morning or those moments when someone gets out a guitar and starts to strum softly and before you know it everybody's singing, or just being able to spend some quality time with people around you whether they are friends or strangers. I much prefer to bond with people over interesting stories and discussions than through a brief "hi" and a quick grind on the dance floor. Those frisky student days are over!
I love the 1920s. There's something so fun about that era and the clothes (particularly for women) were so liberating and free. It also seems to me rather irresponsible and fleeting, perhaps due to hindsight and knowledge of the looming Wall Street Crash and depression that ensued, but through this it becomes even more beautiful. It also brings to mind the likes of Bugsy Malone, The Great Gatsby, Bonnie & Clyde and Al Capone, who are all automatically associated with an air of extreme excitement and mystery. The music, predominantly Jazz, is almost impossible to resist, and the progression of film during the 1920s lends the era a glitzy Hollywood glamour. Everything about the 1920s shouts excitement and fun; taking the predominant themes into consideration, it was not a quiet era of polite ladies and hardworking gentlemen but a decade of partying!
I opted for a predominantly black and gold theme and decorated my house with streamers, ivory balloons, white feathers, party canons and poppers, ice buckets, art deco features, and of course plenty of crystal! We also had a 1920s-30s typewriter, a gramophone, vintage telephones, a bookcase slid halfway across a doorway to give the illusion of a speakeasy, and a projection of a Chicago backdrop.
Message to guests: "Thank you for your interest in Stefanicki's Speakeasy. Your password for tonight is: Rhapsody in Blue. Doors open at 9pm. Check all weapons with the doorman. In case of raids, down your drink. Anyone engaged in a brawl will be permanently barred. Do not leave establishment with liquor - remember, this is a dry country that honours the 18th amendment. Last of all, make sure you enjoy yourselves; a little party never killed nobody!"
It was really wonderful how much people got into it and made an effort with their outfits. I absolutely adore a theme, particularly if it's historical, and I enjoy thinking up ways to decorate or transform the venue as much as the party itself! I think parties with themes or particular dress codes are so fun as it really gets everyone involved and creates such an incredible atmosphere. Here are some shots of my guests in their fabulous outfits:
What a swell party! I can't wait for the next one, but what theme to choose?..
Labels: 1920s, Al Capone, art deco, Bonnie and Clyde, Bugsy Malone, Chicago, era, fancy dress, fashion, gangster, glamour, gramophone, Great Gatsby, history, Hollywood, jazz, party, prohibition, roaring twenties, speakeasy