28 February 2012

a daring fashionista or a rebel?

The year must have been 1924. Maybe 1925. The woman in the photo already well embracing the changes this decade brought.

She was dressed elegantly in a glittering knee length gown with a string of pearls at her neck and wrist and showing off the latest leg fashion with fancy stockings and shoes. Her hair was styled fittingly to the era and face artistically painted in the bold statement that is attached to the 1920s. From a scrawling on the back we are told she was "heading out for a cup of tea with friends". Or at least that's what she'd told her household...

This same woman has been identified in other photos recently found that were taken about the same time. The location is believed to be only a short train ride away from the house where she was living. Experts are suggesting that she attended a party held at a secret location where the drinks were stronger than tea leaves. Perhaps she was more than embracing the changes in a time where the masses began to sway the prohibition of alcohol. Perhaps this pretty face was a rebel at heart.

This night was a blast. I had so much fun simply preparing for it. Searching and finding the bits and pieces for my costume was fun. The ebay dress was simply perfect. Exactly what I wanted. Twenties style but more on the elegant side than flapper. I was so delighted when the seller accepted my offer and unlisted the item 9 days early. Researching again (had a 20s party for my 30th) and deciding on hairstyle and makeup was fun. Happily found a youtube on 20s styles for long hair. Took me a couple of hours to pull off but it was worth it. And the makeup is more silent movies glamour. The eyes shadowed at their highest on the inside and triangled down to the outer corner giving the added emphasis of frightened beauty who needed rescuing. A common role for women in the action movies. I pumped up the makeup by attaching fake eyelashes for the first time ever too. That really finished off the face. Pulling it all together was fun. I love the whole look though. All that I got worked together so well. In my opinion anyway.

The Prohibition Party was a ticketed event. The location shared only just a few weeks before the night. I popped upstairs to show the boy my full outfit as we both had dress up parties this weekend. He was awed and giggled. I sure looked different. Then I trotted out on my own to catch the train to meet friends. I did feel a little bit funny but at least it was normal clothes just from a different era. Once I'd met up with my friends it was great. After pre-drinks near by we headed off to find the party. It took us a good 15mins or more to find the place even though it was just "around the corner". Ha ha. It was held at the Old Vic Tunnels at Waterloo station. It was a fantastic location. You walk half way down a tunnel and then in a side door and along a bit more until we reached the entrance. When we handed over our ticket, we were handed USD$100 (Fake of course.) These tunnels truly made it feel like a secret location, hiding away from the law. We stopped by the cloak room and passed by a vanity table where you could get your hair or makeup done if you wanted and then through to the party. We stopped by the bar and I ordered The Gatsby from the cocktail menu stuck inside an old book. It came in a tea cup wonderfully keeping in line with the hiding of alcohol consumption. It tasted nice too.
We stepped into the next room where there was another bar with leather couches and wooden cargo boxes for coffee tables and a roulette table! We stepped up and handed over our USD$100 for chips and learnt how to play. Ha ha. That was fun. Especially coz I never lost a cent. I won a few times but it wasn't long before all my chips were gone. Some people were getting quite lucky towards the end of the night when I squeezed back in for another play after finding a USD$100 on the ground...and a friend gave me a $100 chip of his own. I didn't do any better though. There was black jack in the next room over as well. I watched my friends play that later in the evening but I didn't play myself. In another room off that (all these rooms separated by large archways) were tables and chairs and a big screen showing a silent movie with a live pianist adding the background music. The whole place was wonderfully set up. Even the toliets were dressed in the 20s. On the way to the toilets were a couple of set ups great for photos. Like the one we posed at with an old velvet upholsted chair and end table.

We sat around chatting at the tables for ages drinking our 'tea'. Eventually we were wandering about and returning and...repeat. Everywhere you went there were amazing costumes to admire. Everyone looked fabulous. And I do like this style. It was nice to be complimented a few times on my own. Particularly the makeup and it's hitting the mark. I only wish I'd ventured to the hall where the band was at the right times. The first few times I went past it was just music playing. I later realised these must have unfortunately been the times where the band was on a break. Later in the night I was there while the band was up and that was great. It was packed and we were always bumping others. I actually stayed for quite a while dancing by myself. If you know me, you'll know this unlike me. But there's something about this music that makes me feel like dancing. More than any other style. It was a thrill to actually recognise a good number of the songs. I was a bit disappointed that I only realised they were singing "Ain't nobody here but us chickens" towards the end of the song because it's a fun song. A silly one. The musicians, though I found hard to understand the words, were great at playing. Always love the double bass and the singer changed instruments a few times. Even playing the bagpipes for one song which was amazing (to hear it in 20s style music) and sounded awesome. I stayed with some of my friends until they kicked us out.
After figuring out where our bus stop was we caught the night bus home. Another first. (London trains make their last run at midnight.) By the time I got home, admired my artistry some more, made no attempt to resist a photo shoot and THEN had to take out all fourty one hair pins and scrub off the make up, I still slid into bed smiling at 5am. It was a fabulous, fun night. I'm so glad I went.

And I'd happily do it all again. ^^


Katrina Jade said...

I hit delete or some other button before I had finished and I can't recall much of what I wrote! Great story and great pics. You got me curious at first when I thought the first pic was one of you until I read a bit further. Glad you had such a fun night!

smcwilliam said...

You looked great! All your research and shopping paid off! :)
It sounds like it was a really fun night! I'm trying to imagine 20s music and if that would get my foot tapping. I'll have to Youtube it. There is something about certain styles of music that just make you want to dance!
I love the pictures too!

Viana said...

Ooo, Kel, it sounds so much fun!! And the perfect kind of party for you ;) You look sensational! Love the pics!