It’s been a long time coming but last week, at the tender age of 37, I finally decided to bite the bullet and go to my first ever fancy dress party. And I’m not talking your friend’s house party wearing your favourite superhero outfit. A true grownups dress up party – 1940s style – ‘The Blitz Party’. I didn’t know what to expect or how much preparation goes into such event. I asked my best friend to accompany me to the night – a proposal she accepted without hesitation, to my delight.
About a week before the event I started to panic. What on earth should I wear?! I rummaged through my wardrobe but nothing really seemed appropriate. I could easily knock together a 80s ‘material girl’, or a 90s ‘Britney’, but no, not the 40s! I spent a week going from one high street shop to the next, where the 60s and 70s seemed to have dominated the season. This was hard work and I was beginning to feel the gloom. Saturday lunchtime came and my friend came to the rescue, arriving with a whole suitcase – makeup, hair props, accessories and some fashion pieces. “All is not lost!”, I thought.
My living room transformed into a hair and makeup trailer and I felt hopeful and excited. Five hours, a few burnt fingers (curls aren’t easy ladies!) and one broken curling thong later, we were ready. And we looked amazing, alright!
When the event website said a bunker, they weren’t far off. We headed to deepest darkest Hackney and followed a dimly lit street to what seemed like an industrial park. After ‘checking in’ at a little desk, we were directed round the corner and straight into the 1940s! Through the heavy plastic-strip door and down a short staircase lined with sandbags was a warehouse recreated into a huge 40s party space. The first room was set up with tables and chairs, which were decorated with union jack flags and drink menus which read “Ration Book” on the cover (and with those strong cocktails on offer, one indeed needed to be reminded of portion control). There was a bar and a dance space, already in full swing.
The second big space, adjoining the bar and a dance area, had a stage set up for the band due to perform.
I felt like I was on a movie set! Everything was so authentic and to a tee! I was so impressed with how much effort everyone put in – there were pilots, soldiers, cadets and ladies looking fabulously glam! The fantastic band got everyone up on their feet dancing. I wasn’t sure whether some people were professional dancers or whether they just spent a lot of time practicing – either way, they were superb!
The warehouse was so big and lacking heating – no amount of the delicious “Jane Pickford” cocktail could have persuaded us to stay out too long. We arrived back home by midnight, inhaled a bowl of hot soup and a few face wipes later, we were ready to hit the sack.
We will happily return on a warmer evening – and until then, we will practice our “jitterbug”.
For more information about The Blitz Party and future dates, visit theblitzparty.com