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A Halloween Soiree for Alpha Workshops
The annual Alpha Workshops Masquerade Ball, hosted by the New York Design Center, and held last night, is already a blogging tradition for me. Each year there is a theme, which goes largely ignored. This year the theme was Belle Epoch or Fin de Siecle France, and the inspiration was a book of fashion renderings called "Le Vrai et le Faux Chic." I would call this theme elusive; Alix Lehrman, who helped organize the event, termed it obscure.
So it was something of a surprise that the design industry monde who attend the Ball each year responded with more theme-related costumes than ever. No werewolves or vampires in sight, though without a full moon, who knows? And, given the Victorian to Edwardian time frame-England is near France, right?-Dracula would be appropriate, as was Frankenstein, who did show up. So, too, did Nijinski, dressed for "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Freud was present as a sort of Mr. Potato Head statue created by Alpha Workshops.
I should point out that last year I went dressed as Tevya from "Fiddler on the Roof," vaguely linked to the theme of Hollywood glamour, and utterly unrecognized by other revelers. This year, I thought about doing Jerry Lewis as "The Nutty Professor"-the French are wild about Jerry Lewis-but was cajoled by my girlfriend, Joan Michaels, into going as Vincent Van Gogh, conceptually more dead-center, and, as it turned out, harder to miss with the orange beard and the ear bandage. See my self-portrait (had to be a self-portrait, of course) here.
The costumes that captured the spirit of the era, and that I managed to photograph well enough to share, include: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson; Joan Michaels as a Belle Epoch lady, with a chapeau by Susan van der Linde; and an Edwardian pair-loved the bathing suit-beach ball-juggling pins costume, it looked like a post card. Everyone loved the guy dressed as a French poodle, or maybe it's a cock-a-poo, judging by the picture, shown dancing with a chorus girl from the Moulin Rouge.
Among my artistic confreres at the Ball was a group of Degas ballerinas, whom I captured in mid brise. Gratifyingly, most people recognized me as Van Gogh, and I was even commended for my costume. One woman, however, thought I was supposed to be Marcel Proust, which I found highly flattering, and which gives me much to think about for next year, if the theme is costumes nobody will ever identify.