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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Mad Tea Party

If I had to choose one season in the Fashion Calendar, I would live in resort. It's essentially a collection designed for a lifestyle of leisure. Assuming, of course, that you have somewhere fabulous to go on vacation.

Last Thursday I was given a little taste of the good life at an afternoon tea party hosted by my friends at Ports 1961. Inspired by the painting (top right), "A Mad Tea Party," by Zelda Fitzgerald (artist and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald), Creative Director Tia Cibani, Ann Caruso, Lucy Sykes Rellie, Mary Alice Stephenson and Eva Lorenzotti gathered up some of New York most fashionable ladies to preview the new resort collection that pays tribute to the Jazz Age.

Williamson Calvert, an events and cuisine company, was commissioned to create a luxe yet relaxed setting that would transport guests to the 1920's - a time of elegant garden parties, preppy college boys and high flying flappers.

The terrace was lined with towering birch and maple trees along with conical boxwoods, wisteria, ligustrums, rose topiaries and bougainvillea. Table tops were dressed with maize Damask linens, an eclectic mix of vintage fleur and garden china and antique goblets with gold rims. Lush arrangements of fragrant lilacs and Barrington Belle peonies added bursts of color while vintage Lenox pedestals and Wedgwood teapots accented each setting.

A long buffet was filled with savory and sweet treats including petit courgette quiche, cucumber and smoked sturgeon sandwiches, stuffed figs with Stilton and almonds and currant scones with clotted cream. The chocolate truffles infused wtih Earl Grey and Bergamot Tea were especially decadent.

Guests including actress Gabrielle Union, Vanessa von Bismarck, Olivia Palermo, Celerie Kemble, Adelina Wong Ettelson and Zelda's granddaughter Bobbie Lanahan, enjoyed a private viewing of the new collection while sipping on chilled Elderflower Cocktails, Lychee Ice Tea and the signature drink of the party - The Zelda, a delicious mix of green tea, ginger infused vodka and organic gingerale with a splash of simple syrup and squeeze of lime.

As with all events produced by Tony Alcindor of Ports 1961, the close attention to detail provided a full sensory experience. The Loose Marbles, a band of street musicians from New Orleans (that Tia discovered while walking through Chelsea market), performed as a charming couple danced a little swing and jitterbug - a wonderful and original touch. If you are lucky, you'll catch The Loose Marbles playing in Washington Square Park this summer.

For more information on Williamson Calvert (whose clients include Vanity Fair and Chanel), contact Deborah at 718-956-5633.

For those reading this post in an email or reader, click on the title to visit the blog for a complete slide show of photos from the event.

Decor photos by Deborah Williamson. Event photos by Patrick McMullan.

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