Sunday, July 10, 2016

Swinging on a Summer Night

Frenchified & Stylized
A Night of Jazz-Band Dancing
On a cloudy July evening, which started with drops of rain, but cleared just in time, we went to Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park for Midsummer Night Swing. On summer nights, lovers of music and dance meet to trip the light fantastic under the stars.

Style was a major component of this affair. The evening's theme was trés français. Tatiana Eva-Marie and the Avalon Jazz Band played delightful gypsy and French jazz.

I was asked to be a judge for a Parisian-themed vintage costume competition. We were to choose the dancers who showed the most French flair while dressed in authentic, vintage duds. Le Tricolore, fleur de lis, froufrou chic, and all that jazz.

I decided to make a dress for the occasion. The idea that came to mind immediately was Matisse (French flair) and his Jazz Series. I bought a few yards of magenta silk and created the "cut-outs" from some cotton fabric that I had on hand. A designer friend, Julio César, who has made some dresses for me, told me about a wonderful product called Pellon Wonder-Under, which allowed me to adhere the cotton shapes to the silk. Perfect.
Cover of "Jazz" by Henri Matisse, 1947

Thank you, Denton Taylor, 
for all the great photos in this post.

With my dress, I wore a Marie Mercie hat that
I purchased in Paris
and black and white enamel beads
with a giant diamond bauble,
of my own design.

With two bon vivants.
 Photographer Laura Okita
was also a judge.
Voon Chew, a judge and vintage clothing expert.
He is wearing a 40s blouse
with a hand-painted carousel.
Because it rained before the dancing
commenced, Lincoln Center sent out the 
synchronized squeegee squad to clear the water.
 Ruthie Stephens got the unofficial award
for most sophisticated lady.
Ruthie blogs as Ruthie Darling.
She is also an actor, singer and
sometime aerialist.
The family that dances together,
stays together.
Love the little boy in a 30s outfit.
 The ecru crew.
Dapper Dan
Cathie Borrie, author of 
"The Long Hello"
The couple with the most joie de vivre.
The lady made her dress. It's an interpretation of a
 Jeanne Lanvin Robe de Style.
The gentleman is wearing a cubist-inspired vest.
Robe de style by Jeanne Lanvin, 1921.
 A lady in a French-blue net dress (love the boater)
and a lady adorned with red cherries.
Me, Olivia of Lincoln Center, Voon and Laura.
Melissa, Mia and Lolly.
  A view of the dance floor
Tatiana and the Avalon Jazz Band.
 As French as you can get in
 a 1920s sailor dress and hat.
The finalists!
One of the top winners.

Bonus Pics from Elke Kuhn!!
Elke was not able to attend Swing on Thursday,
but she sent me this picture of her and a partner 
dancing at Swing in 1999.
They won the dance contest that evening.
Elke is wearing a 1950s circle skirt with
musical notes and couples dancing.
It's a Madalyn Miller Original.
 Here is Elke in 1994 dancing in
a magnificent skirt which she purchased at
Henri Bendel in the late 80s.
It's by MeJane.

I don't know about you, but
I feel better when I'm dancin'.

À Bientôt!


  1. Wonderful photos, thank you so much for such a lovely post!

  2. It was great to see you Carol, and I love seeing Elke cutting a rug in her gorgeous vintage skirts. What fun.

  3. Thank you for a fabulous post, full of colour and life. And for introducing me to this wonderful event.

  4. I love your photos. I'm a bit boring and basic, but nevertheless I am enjoying your blog. You might enjoy my travels through France: