Jazz Rhapsody “Straight Ahead”

Listen as you read!

As I listen to Louie Armstrong play Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose, I see flapper girls walking to the restroom at the back of the bar in their two-inch heels, shorter than the conventional Victorian skirts, a netted veil across their face and a long pearl necklace around their neck.

In the 1920’s, people wanted modern, so they flew away from old Victorian style and dove right into the new Roaring 20’s.  Nobody could do it better than Coco Chanel.  Chanel arose from the fashion scene with her stylish cloche hats and led the way in the modern fashion movement with her luxe casual jerseys.  After Chanel was asked why she did not marry the Duke of Westminster or anyone for that matter, she answered with a proclamation that is a representation of the era.  “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel.”  And so it remains, there have been many fashion statements, but only one speaks louder than time. “Modern” is timeless, and that’s the statement 1920’s jazz culture has imprinted into history and forever.

I improvised a table design that might just match a party of their time by drawing from 1920’s women’s fashion.  In my design work, I try to always make parts useful as well as look nice.  Since we live in a new millennium, the current fashion does not exactly match that of the 20’s.  So, I kept in mind that if we were to have a 20’s jazz soiree today, it would require some fashionable props.

Bronze fabric with black outlined florals dresses the table.  Classy white China balances the fancy cloth as not to take away from the nostalgic fabric print.  Adding to the ambiance, velvety Cockscomb is embraced for the centerpiece with simple babies breath and accents of Ammobium in separate mini vases.  Cockscomb looks amazing even when dried, which is what I chose to add an antique as well as “green” touch to the tabletop.  As women would often carry a feathered fan in the 20’s, I incorporated the traditional fan napkin fold.  As my party favors, I could not go without fashionable props that women could wear to supplement the event with appropriately dressed guests.  Netted veils with a splash of vibrant turquoise sequence for the ladies face lay gently over the napkin along with classic pearl necklaces that fill the champagne glasses, and the men are given cigars to smoke right at the table.  The essentials of the design include a breathtaking sterling silver tea set and peacock feathers for looks.

“The Roaring 20’s symbolized an age anxious to enjoy itself, anxious to forget the past, anxious to ignore the future.” (from Jacques Chastenet, “Europe in the Twenties” in  Purnell’s History of the Twentieth Century)

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Thank you Jesse Viray for taking these timeless photos.

Thank you Shannon for being my beautiful model.

Thank you Jill for the elegant make-up and bringing my party favor to life.


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