What Might Have Been
This is an entirely fictional account of a function planned but, unfortunately, never held. The Elegant Sparkling Afternoon Tea and Dance was intended to be hosted by the Three Sisters Social Group for October 2021. An intention never to be realised.
Members and friends of the group were advised to save the date. Many expressed their delight at the prospect of being able to frock up and twirl, only to have their expectations so cruelly dashed by a plague of epic proportions. The date may now be officially unsaved.
If we can’t have the real thing we will have to resort to fantasy. For the next few months, you will be engaged and engrossed in an exercise of what might have been.
This elegy has been summoned through the fevered imaginings of the single-minded creative genius behind the sparkle of the Elegant Afternoon Tea and Dance.
Elegant Sparkling Afternoon Tea and Dance
Part 1 – Champagne
Her bosom arrived before she did. An awesome assemblage of silicon and whale bone, the
latter rescued from the hope chest of a great aunt who died in 1955, a spinster of august
reputation and forthright demeanour who had put the minor setback of an abandoned
wedding behind her, the hope chest only discovered in the shed after her demise. A tale for
Resplendent, wrapped in the aura of the age of elegance, the 1930s and early 40s, she regally bore her role of hostess with towering aplomb. Her gown was severely designed but superbly cut, minimalist, sophisticated and modest all at once. As black as midnight yet holding a shimmer that may have been the captured last rays from a waning moon. It was cut low at the back to reveal the first curve of the promise of things that will, might, never happen.
Her decolletage was discreetly shielded by a sparkling black diaphanous scarf, thrown reverse style over both shoulders to fall subtly resting in the small of her back so to kiss her frock, as though she was channelling Norma Shearer in The Women.
Her hair was the platinum that, until now, only Jean Harlow could manage. Her slippers were a perfect copy of those worn by Ginger Rogers in the Barkleys of Broadway. They may even have been the originals. She was clearly prepared to dance.
Her carriage was that of Margaret Dumont. Her scent was strictly Dior, even if a few days out of date.
Lula von Sauvage, for it was she, a fabulous chanteuse of the era, one of the last remaining greats of the Oxford St circuit, her compatriots long ago succumbing to death, the bottle or Surfers Paradise, greeted us with unfeigned delight. We were lucky to have her preside as the hostess of this most prestigious event.
Only slightly anxious, we were hoping that she could curb her natural propensity for the pithy rejoinder that she was known for in her earlier years, circa 1987. Afterall, this was to be an elegant affair and most of the guests had reached a respectable age and had mellowed with it. As a friend, former, confided to me, “things start elegantly but don’t always end that way”. But she did ooze that aforementioned regality, which encouraged confidence.
We descended the sweeping stairs from the hotel lobby to the vestibule of the ballroom, where the afternoon tea and dance was to begin within the hour. Time for a bubbly or two and a bit of rubber necking and palm shaking and well-aimed air kisses, careful not to smudge delicately applied slap.
I must admit to being a tad deflated. We had timed our arrival to perfection, or so I thought. That elusive window of arriving neither too early nor too late in order to maximise one’s entrance was to elude us. But it was just a passing irritation soon forgotten as our hostess exuberantly greeted us.
“Dahlngs,” Lula exclaimed as our parade gloss polished oxfords met the gold fleur de lys patterned burgundy carpet, “the ball room is divine, a setting from Versailles at its peak. The kitchen has been in a veritable lather of crème patisserie and choux pastry all morning”. This we could attest to noting the tiniest smidge of cream in the corner of her impeccably painted crimson lips. YsL Tatouage Couture Velvet Cream I noted as she lifted the lipstick tainted straw in its champaign bath to those beautiful lips.
In a breath she had left us to continue with her duties, greeting the party on the stairs behind us, “Dahlings …….”.
The vestibule was abuzz. It was busier than it first appeared as the crowd mingled further towards the back. The noise swelled as the stairs funnelled more and more happy afternoon teaers passed the champaign wielding waiters to a maelstrom of greetings.
At first, of course, they stuck to their tribes. But as the colour of the crowd and the fabulousness of the fashion washed over the assembled, they melded and mixed and had their picture taken. The champaign worked its magic and people who hadn’t seen each other for the space of two long years, or even lengthier, met and smiled and promised each other a dance.
Fashions and costumes were indeed fabulous. Evidently a lot of forethought, effort and skill went into the creations. Some wore evening dress, others cocktail and others smart afternoon attire. The variety and talent that our community is known for shone that afternoon.
Then it was time, the doors were flung opened to reveal a hall of sumptuousness, mirror balled shafts of brilliant luminescence flashing on an empty dance floor, beckoning us forth.
Part 2 – Tea
Part two of the tale of the Three Sisters’ epic Elegant Sparkling Afternoon Tea and Dance will be revealed next month.
Find out who forgot their dancing pumps only to dance sans shoes. What happened in the case of the shared smudged foundation after a visit to the gents? Who won the best dressed male, the most glamorous female and in theme group awards? Was Lula’s show number appropriate?
Discover this, and more, next time.