By 2011, hasn’t everything been done already? Even the Picasso of pop music, Lady Gaga, has been accused of copying. So why not just embrace it and go with something that was done decades ago? I’m talking about “vintage!” From venues to menus, vintage is something that can not only make a party fun but fashionable too, and in recent years, it’s become an increasingly popular party trend.
“Vintage is truly special,” said Sharyne Wolfe, fashion author and fashion design professor at Nassau Community College. “Going vintage is so unique.”
Typically, party planners pick a specific time period to focus on—who hasn’t attended a ’20s party donning a pair of pearls or a gangster hat?—but all aspects of every era can be incorporated, turning a limited single-decade shindig into a creative century-wide celebration. Here are a few ways you can “go vintage”:
A party isn’t a party without a pre-party, and Pin-Up Party NYC is just the place to do that. The party photo shoot takes place at a studio in Queens, or at a location of your choosing. Every party patron takes on the persona of a sexy pin-up whose beauty is captured with professional skill along with martinis, make-up, awesome sets, an array of antique props and fun accessories. Each pin-up gets edited images and a gift bag.
Now, you need a place to host a fabulous old-fashioned party. So, although nearly all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby-esque” estates are gone by now—the inspiration for “Gatsby’s’’ Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s house, Land’s End, just got demolished this year—party planners can still look to the ’20s for their inspiration. The Inn At Great Neck is a great vintage venue and takes you right back to the Roaring Twenties. This Art Deco hotel offers an event with “Gold Coast” luxury in a “Jazz Age setting” with four private banquet rooms that can even be combined to create a bigger ballroom. Blast some “Charleston” on the victrola and your party is set.
For a more classic venue, try The Hedges Inn in East Hampton. The historic landmark has been around for almost 200 years and has become a popular private-party destination. With one step on the tulip-lined property, the place emits charm and elegance and gives partygoers an escape from modern life with its quaint charm.
Traditional treats give any party a “vintage” vibe. One place to pick up some sweets is Little Oven. The Long Island City sweets stop is a flash-back to a mid-19th century Paris bakery offering favored Parisian pastries.
“French macarons are timeless and have been around in France for so long. They have such an antique feel,” said Kyra Tilson, Little Oven manager. Another great choice for a vintage affair is Little Oven’s French Fruitcake. “It’s an old tradition that Little Oven’s founder, Anna-Marie, brought back. It’s such a long process (over two months) and it’s handmade, one of those original products that not many people take the time to do.”
Magnolia Bakery is another great option. This time, instead of trekking into Manhattan, turn on your laptop (okay, so it’s not “vintage”). The bakery is launching an online store this fall with nationwide shipping so you can get your favorite cupcakes delivered to your doorstep. Order the new customized-image edible cupcakes with vintage photos featured during last week’s Fashion’s Night Out, and create a cupcake tree perfect for a party.
For décor, the best way to go is with vintage-styled flowers: they make such a strong statement at any venue. You can achieve this through a bouquet or table piece. Simply Elegant Floral in Carle Place is the place to go. Floral designer Richard Biancavilla can help you achieve a vintage look with a very natural mix of fragrant flowers such as roses or peonies and greenery such as ivy or fern, giving the arrangement an old garden feel.
“If a vintage-style wedding is your dream, then flowers can help set the mood,” said Lori Dietrich of Beautiful Beginnings Flowers in Bethpage, who starts with candelabras. “Picture your guests as they enter a room filled with vintage candelabras with a floral arrangement at the center; the flowers are soft pinks, greens, ivories. The lights are dim; candles and rose petals fill every vacant space on the tables. The mood of vintage romance is instantly set.”
You can also add props to your party, and you’ll find some great pieces from furniture to vintage luggage to cherub sets at Antique Costume & Prop Rental in Port Jefferson. Place one or two props throughout the space to lend the atmosphere another era.
You should also look the part. To find great vintage wear, head to Northport’s Somewhere In Time Antiques for great vintage shoes like old-school lace Gucci heels or Revival Boutique in Roslyn for a great ’60s or ’70s Judith Leiber clutch. Fashion author Sharyne Wolfe says garage sales are another great place to go to get vintage garb.
“They’re a great way to find vintage. You never know what you’re going to uncover,” said Wolfe, “and you can get a really great deal.”
And don’t forget vintage presents! Good thing Tiffany & Co. just released Tiffany Era, a new jewelry collection of bangles and pendants inspired by a ’70s ring design by one-time Tiffany designer Donald Claflin. Or, for an exclusive vintage gift, head to Christie’s Auction House in December, when they will host Elizabeth Taylor’s entire jewelry collection including the Taj Mahal diamond pendant! Then again, if you buy that piece, you may not be able to afford a party after all.
Whether it’s what you wear, what’s on the table, or where it is, the vintage style can make every aspect of a party special.
And, although it’s all been done before, with different props, presents and pastries, no vintage party can really be the same, making an old-style event, a uniquely memorable one.