By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism
It’s the day of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge in Leura Mall, but what do Sophie, Mabel and Dolly, George, Bertie and Henry wear? For that matter, what do they don to schmooze with society’s elite at the Great Art Deco Ball at THE place to be seen, The Carrington Hotel?
Enter Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz! ambassador Charlotte Smith, Leura fashion historian and curator and owner of The Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture, the largest private collection of international couture clothing from the 19th and 20th centuries.
“The easiest thing for women is to get a dress with no waist (it could even be a pretty silky nightgown or a slinky slip),’’ she said.
“Take a belt or a cord, lower it down and tie it so it’s down around the hips rather than around the waist so you get that lovely shapeless blousy sack shape they always had.’’
The effect could be completed with a long string of beads around your neck and a ribbon or headband around your forehead set with a jewel or some other bauble.
“A pair of gloves – that would be cute; a boa would be nice too,’’ Charlotte said. “And shoes need to be those Mary Jane type with lower heels and a strap over the instep of the foot or even around the ankle.’’
Men should wear an unfitted suit – “tailored but not snug’’. Alternatively, golfing plus fours or linen trousers would be acceptable.
“They could wear a cravat or a scarf tucked inside their open shirt. Braces are always good and a white silk shirt.’’
Hats should be a homburg, fedora or a golfing cap.
The Roaring 20s Festival offers a dizzying round of events at which to wear 1920s costume. Here are just a few:
Roaring into a 20s costume drama, Grand Ballroom, Carrington Hotel, Katoomba (2pm-4pm on Sunday, February 2): Join Charlotte Smith and Underbelly TV series costume designer Louise Wakefield as Louise reminisces about her behind-the-scenes adventures dressing the cast for murder and mayhem in Australia’s underworld in the 1920s. Sumptuous outfits from the Darnell Collection will be paraded by models for an up close look at fashion in the “roaring 20s’’. A lavish high tea will follow. Cost: $57 high tea & talk/fashion parade + $2.50 booking fee, $27 talk/fashion parade only + Booking fee.
The Great Art Deco Ball, Grand Dining Room, Carrington Hotel, Katoomba (7pm-11pm, February 1): Includes a three-course dinner, three-hour beverage package and entertainment from Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Broadcasters. Kick up your heels and party in your 1920s finery to be in the running for a swag of Best Dressed prizes. Cost: $100pp + booking fee.
Roaring 20s Glamour & Gowns Ball, Civic Ballroom, Tony Lucetti Sportsground, Lithgow (6.30pm, February 15): NSW Governor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir and Sir Nicholas Shehadie will be guests of honour at this night of excitement, glamour, gorgeous gowns and debonair suits. The evening will begin with champagne and canapés followed by a two-course dinner before guests dance the night away to live music. Cost: $80 pp + booking fee.
Retro 2014 Cocktails & Canapes, Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Everglades Ave, Leura (5.30pm, February 15): Enjoy cocktails and canapés in the romantic setting of the Everglades garden. Don your 1920s attire and be in the running for prizes for Best Dressed Woman and Best Dressed Man. Cost: $35 per person, $30 National Trust members.
Gatsby Soiree at Nineteen23, Silvermere, 1 Lake St, Wentworth Falls (6pm, February 15): Celebrate the 1920s in Gatsby style in the genuine 1920s country house by dressing in your most terribly swish period attire. There will be a jazz band, champagne fountain and other pre-dinner drinks on the terrace overlooking the Blue Mountains National Park and Sydney plain. Enjoy a three-course meal prepared by chef Will Cowan-Lunn (recently head chef at Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne). Cost: $115 per person + booking fee, bootleg extra with dinner.
Murder Mystery Events at Sisters Blue Restaurant, Hotel Blue, Lurline St, Katoomba (at 6.30pm on February 1 and 2pm on February 8): Savour a sumptuous three-course dinner on February 1 or a high tea on February 8 while your host sets the scene of murder, introduces the various characters in the game and drops tantalising hints to gradually guide you to identity of the murderer. Dress in 1920s costume as a rich heiress, debonair gangster or a saucy flapper girl. Each person will be assigned a character to play and everyone’s a suspect. Cost: $85 + booking fee (dinner), $75 + booking fee (high tea).
Go to www.roaring20s.com.au for further details and bookings to all Roaring 20s Festival events.