Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a demure fifties housewife or a secretary in the forties? Well you can take a step back in time to the girly fifties when glamour was sophisticated, coy and just a little bit naughty. Get a group of friends together and head to Kettners for a stylish afternoon of cocktails, canapes, cakes and classes.
As I ascended the stairs the first thing I discovered was that I was terribly under dressed. Gaggles of girls were floating about in full skirts and waspish waists supping from delicate teacups. Luckily, looking at the map I’d been handed at the door, there was a room of dress-ups so I headed straight there to check out the options. From there I decided I may as well get the whole make-over and went to the room of Beauty and Transformation. First up I had Benefit’s head make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon bring out my best features with the latest Benefit products. Then the girls from Lipstick & Curl twisted, backcombed and curled my hair to perfection. Now that I was properly groomed I felt that I could join the party – and what a party it was.
The top two floors of Kettners had been transformed into the House of Coquette with rooms including the Room Of Promise And Prophecy where you could have your tarot cards read, the Room of Coquettish Couture Temptations, filled with dresses, lingerie, hats and jewellery for sale and the Room of Intoxication and Indulgence for liquid refreshment and delectable edible treats. It was in this room that I discovered that what they were serving from the china teapots was not in fact tea but an elderflower and lemongrass gin cocktail – no wonder everyone was walking around with a smile on their faces!
Our education in style started at 2pm in the Room of Syncopation and Musical Delights with Charleston lessons. From there we moved into the Room of Enlightenment and Worldly Knowledge for masterclasses in make-up, dating, cocktail making and the art of kissing – just what every woman needs in her repertoire.
The rest of the time we were left to elegant lounge, trying different cocktails and indulging in traditional cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, scones with cream and scrumptious petit fours.
I was not surprised to discover that interior designer David Carter, the genius behind 40 Winks, Bedtime Stories and Jacques Townhouse was involved in this latest whimsical day out. There were his quirky and fanciful touches all over the converted Kettners.
As our time at the House of Coquette came to an end we were loathed to leave but with gorgeous goodie bags in hand, we waved a fond farewell to put our lessons into practice.
Coquette at Kettner’s, 29 Romilly Street, Soho, London, W1; £90 per person
Dates: Saturdays: 18th June (sold out), 20th August, 15th October and 3rd December 2011 from 1pm – 5pm
Dressiquette: Drop dead gorgeous, or you will be sent home alone and in disgrace!