Transported to the sin-filled alleyways of 19th century Paris on June18th I visited the Belle Epoque Party, which celebrates and commemorates debauched gone-by times in secret locations with the aid of the heady aphrodisiac green fairy. On this occasion the Party was held at the Arches in London’s Shoreditch.
A few dances with this notoriously naughty nymph leaves one covered in dazzling tantalizing fairy-dust and ready to party the night away to the sound of jazz. As you enter through the brick walled alley-ways of an east London location you step into a time warp of bohemian Paris or the set of Moulin Rouge and can metamorphose into your inner exhibitionist exposing the deepest of secrets and desires.
Corsetted courtesans dance and tease as top-hatted suitors compete for their attention. Jazzy music bathes the scene and adds to the multi-sensory encouraged escapism. Could this be real? For moments one doubts that it is the 21st century after-all and through absinth glazed spectacles observes as burlesque dancers or trapeze artists, flooded in a variety of velvety emerald lighting, contort their bodies into shapes and forms as they twist and turn.
A burlesque dancer with all the poise of a Victorian lady and the debauchery of a modern day stripper slowly captures the audience with an alluring dance in which she removes her clothing to reveal white plump skin underneath. People look around in awe, could it be that we really have been taken back in time to the era which became known as ‘The Belle Epoque?”
As Dorian Gray figures dance and converse with the ladies of the night the music flows as freely as the alcohol and the illusion is only broken towards the end of the night when eighties music bring the time travellers back to reality. Fortunately the dress remains bohemian and does not morph into the fashion disaster of the millennium: The Eighties.
If you enjoy dressing up and letting your inner exhibitionist out for a few hours then I strongly recommend Belle Epoque Parties or Prohibition, which is set along similar lines but celebrates the time when alcohol was prohibited and illegal parties, not too dissimilar to itself, were popping up like mushrooms across the pond. The next Belle Epoque will be announced via their website www.belleepoqueparty.com
For more prohibition dates and info check the website: www.prohibition1920s.com