Last month I attended the Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York and the first day of the event reached some of the hottest temperatures I have experienced in my life, with a heat index of 107 degrees Fahrenheit. My already blister-prone feet were properly welted with blisters by the end of the day, after extreme sweating, ample dancing, and walking and metro-ing to get to wherever I was going. My hosts, well-versed in foot ails after years of walking around NY and DC, presented me with a Band-Aid Friction Block Stick, which looks like a deodorant stick put through a shrink ray and the substance itself looks a bit like Crisco (but not greasy). This wasn’t going to help my existing blisters, but was told it would help prevent the next day’s rub on fresh skin from a different pair of shoes. I was willing to try anything at that point.
After a slightly lesser heat index the following day and with more dancing (Peabody!), I was happy to report that the friction stick appeared to have made a difference on my unblistered skin, keeping it blister-free throughout the day and preventing irritation with a different pair of shoes that had a different profile (oxfords I’ve worn a number of times –> never worn before by me secondhand Mary Janes). I’ve since acquired my own stick and used it on shoes that I know rub, on occasion, certain areas of my feet and also with a new pair of shoes, with great success. I’m curious to know if others have discovered this stick – if so, do share your review in the comments.
This year’s Jazz Age Lawn Party in August was one of my favorites for several reasons – 1) I have the routine down for this event in terms of logistics and getting around NYC, 2) I know a lot of the regular attendees after attending for several years and some new friends made an appearance at the lawn party, making for a very lovely social event, and 3) I freakin’ won the Charleston contest! Always a favorite are the vendors who set up their wares on Governor’s Island – this year, the lawn party vendors really outdid themselves. There were old favorites, as well as some new vendors – here we go!
I was excited to see a booth for Gretchen Fenston, Milliner, because Gretchen is one of the stars of the Jazz Age Lawn Party – as long as I’ve been attending the lawn party, Gretchen has taught the beginner Charleston and Peabody lessons with Roddy Caravella and, aside from that, she herself is a main attraction of style, elegance, and superbly coordinated and whimsically crafted millinery. Seriously, her hats are just impeccable, matching her ensemble with period aplomb and her own take on the Art Deco era. Her booth had several hats and headpieces for sale, along with a lookbook of her designs. *drool* If you are interested in a custom piece, I hear she takes orders…
Just down the line the Goorin Bros. had their impeccable line of hats, for ladies and gents, set up, with even more lids for sale. I have always been impressed with their hats and friends who own said hats speak highly of this company. They had a fantastic selection of summer hats, perfect for the lawn party, from straw fedoras to linen caps to summer cloches. Goorin Bros. has a great retail website, so if you missed the lawn party you can always place your order online!
Next up was Wildfell Hall Vintage, which had an exquisite collection of Art Deco era clothing and accessories, and some other choice vintage pieces. My partner in lawn party crime, Raleigh dancer Elizabeth Tietgen found an amazing purple floral early 30’s dress that had already been restored, seam by seam, and new snaps put in the side with reinforcement. It looked incredible and she’ll save at least what she paid for the dress having it repaired or reinforced – what a find! I saw at least 3 things I couldn’t live without, but were not in my size…*sigh* Gorgeous, gorgeous things.
One difficult thing to come by for the lawn party are vintage sunglasses, because you can’t always dance with your parasol and maybe your cloche brim just isn’t deep enough – Belle Pagaille came to the rescue with some of the most kick-ass sunglasses I have ever seen, all with a vintage bent, though some of them verged on ultra-modern, or even steam punk. The company designs the glasses themselves, which I thought was great, so you are getting these lenses from the design source, not a reseller.
Outfitter of Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, the Prohibition Clothing Company is certainly a staple of the lawn party, offering some of the best looking reproduction menswear I have seen. I was particularly excited this year because they have launched their women’s line of clothing, which includes a trumpet skirt with killer seaming and a pair of tweed knickers that were whispering to me to bring them home. The tailoring on everything was killing me, just impeccable. After seeing this display, I’m ready for OcTieBer!
Next to the general admission tent is, perhaps, the largest lawn party vendor, Dora Marra, which had so many blooming and feathered headpieces in every imaginable color and configuration it was almost overwhelming. This was definitely the go-to place for a bit of whimsy to stick on your head to augment your lawn party outfit. They were simply swamped, so I didn’t get a really good look at everything, but thankfully they have an Etsy store where you can take your time and browse the vast collection.
Noble Savage Vintage had another lovely display and some real Art Deco era garments that were selling like hot cakes. I glanced at some black 1920’s Mary Janes and a lovely bejeweled Art Deco pin, but then my eyes met a pair of woven mesh 1930’s heels and it was all over. “What size are these?” “7.” MY SIZE. I tried not to hyperventilate while I tried them on, but I held it together for the most part and squee’d a little bit during the check out. As you can tell, Noble Savage was my favorite of the day, LOL.
Check out more of the lawn party vendor goodies below! Ciao!
This past weekend I was transported to a parallel universe, where the Jazz Age met modern day New York under the boughs of ancient trees on an island that felt so far away from the city it could have been a country estate in the middle of…somewhere fabulous. The weather was perfect, the dance floor shaded, and the eye and ear candy plentiful. While the champagne sorbet and Saint Germaine cocktails flowed, strollers could pick out a cloche or fedora to wear that day, just in case they hadn’t brought their own. Need a parasol? No problem, just pick one up the way to your picnic blanket. While the shopping, eating, and drinking were all delightful, the centerpiece of this event was the people – Michael Arenella’s Dreamland Orchestra serenaded the crowd with 1920’s dance favorites, while the raucous Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society egged the dancers on with their high energy tunes and antics. Dancers were on hand for 1920’s-inspired performances, bathing beauties and hat wearers paraded, and all kinds of people joined in for the tug of war.
I only hope I can come back to one of the Jazz Age Lawn Parties next year. I better get started shopping for my outfits now, as the vintage clothing collectors who attended obviously spent a lot of time scouring vintage sources for the perfect ensemble, from shoes to hat to accessories to picnic blankets.
As promised, I scouted out the vendors at the lawn party and managed to take a few pictures of their wares. While you can’t wear anything from the food vendors, two of them are definitely worth mentioning: first, Wine Cellar Sorbet out of Brooklyn, N.Y. had a delicious assortment of flavors, such as sangria, mimosa, pinot noir, and other varietals; second, a cocktail made with St. Germain Elderflower liqueur kept everyone refreshed on a warm summer’s day. I picked up a little cocktail book from the St. Germain table and hope to make use of it soon, as I did not get to try one of these cocktails (but certainly heard a lot about them from others).
My favorite vendor of the weekend was The Village Scandal, which had a delightful array of jazz era millinery for men and women. Boaters and straw fedora style hats were popular, and I saw a number of gals sporting their straw cloches and a beautiful fascinator made of lightweight straw material and feathers curled into a divine confection. My friend Rachel Hundley models her fascinator, pictured to the right. The Village Scandal has a retail location in New York at 19 E. 7th Street, but I understand from the shopkeepers that the website is being revamped and will be more friendly to shoppers soon. These were truly wonderful hats and the cloches are to die for.
There were some odds and ends vendors, selling less expensive goods like these parasols. If you weren’t in the shade, you definitely needed one of these!
Finally, Odd Twin out of Brooklyn, NY was on hand with vintage clothing and accessories. While most of the clothing at their tent was not of the Jazz Age, they had tables spread out with some solid older accessories, like purses and ties, and some fun bloomers on the racks.
In all a wonderful weekend – if you’ve been on the fence about going, I’m here to say solidly that the grass is greener on Governor’s Island!