Category Archives: Hospitality

Wild hearts at midnight

Flickering lanterns in the Temple d’Amitié…

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Wild hearts at midnight

Flickering lanterns in the Temple d’Amitié…

Artists’ Ball

“…the Artists’ Balls were a steamy stage on which to exhibit new freedoms in sexuality and the body.”

Artists’ Ball

“…the Artists’ Balls were a steamy stage on which to exhibit new freedoms in sexuality and the body.”

Pages: Passionate Attitudes

“Beardsley, like ‘decadence’, was new, diseased and curious in form – and, like the century, he was hastening towards his end.”

Pages: Passionate Attitudes

“Beardsley, like ‘decadence’, was new, diseased and curious in form – and, like the century, he was hastening towards his end.”

‘Hundreds of pages of nonsense?’

…or, the autobiography of the Baron de Redé, subject of a lecture by the book’s editor, Hugo Vickers.

‘Hundreds of pages of nonsense?’

…or, the autobiography of the Baron de Redé, subject of a lecture by the book’s editor, Hugo Vickers.

Dress-down Friday: Étienne de Beaumont (and guests)

This is a largely context-free gawp at Beaumont’s famous balls and the guests who loved them, a celebration of fancy dress and just plain dressin’ fancy…

Dress-down Friday: Étienne de Beaumont (and guests)

This is a largely context-free gawp at Beaumont’s famous balls and the guests who loved them, a celebration of fancy dress and just plain dressin’ fancy…

Places: Palais Rose, Le Vésinet

Montesquiou first laid eyes on the house in 1908 and announced that he would die if it were not his the following day. Well, it took two days to secure a sale agreement but the silly old drama queen somehow managed to cling to life.

Places: Palais Rose, Le Vésinet

Montesquiou first laid eyes on the house in 1908 and announced that he would die if it were not his the following day. Well, it took two days to secure a sale agreement but the silly old drama queen somehow managed to cling to life.

Dress-down Friday: Bunny Roger

“Sometimes I took friends from school with the express purpose of showing Bunny off; they would gasp at his square-shouldered suits, the corsetlike waistcoats over exaggeratedly skirted jackets and narrowest drainpipe trousers…”

Dress-down Friday: Bunny Roger

“Sometimes I took friends from school with the express purpose of showing Bunny off; they would gasp at his square-shouldered suits, the corsetlike waistcoats over exaggeratedly skirted jackets and narrowest drainpipe trousers…”

Look back with Anger

We saw Kenneth Anger yesterday, kicking around the semi-ruin of Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema. He’s also been on my screen in Martina Kudláček’s brilliant 2006 documentary Notes on Marie Menken, which I’ve watched twice over the last few days.

Look back with Anger

We saw Kenneth Anger yesterday, kicking around the semi-ruin of Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema. He’s also been on my screen in Martina Kudláček’s brilliant 2006 documentary Notes on Marie Menken, which I’ve watched twice over the last few days.

The Marquis

Among the guests at the 18th century-themed ball were “50 princes, 35 marquesses, 95 counts, 20 dukes”, a collision of cluelessness and noblesse of a kind not seen since Louis XVI opened his Filofax on 14 July 1789 and jotted down “rien”.

The Marquis

Among the guests at the 18th century-themed ball were “50 princes, 35 marquesses, 95 counts, 20 dukes”, a collision of cluelessness and noblesse of a kind not seen since Louis XVI opened his Filofax on 14 July 1789 and jotted down “rien”.

Places: Under the Hill

More Adey had all the attributes essential for 1890s English A-gays. Friendship with Oscar Wilde: tick. Conversion to Catholicism: tick. Rarefied tastes in arts and letters: tick. But he was at once more scholarly and less flamboyant than most of the Wilde bunch he rolled with.

Places: Under the Hill

More Adey had all the attributes essential for 1890s English A-gays. Friendship with Oscar Wilde: tick. Conversion to Catholicism: tick. Rarefied tastes in arts and letters: tick. But he was at once more scholarly and less flamboyant than most of the Wilde bunch he rolled with.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 3

The choice of blue plaque honourees is leadenly conservative and sometimes bafflingly perverse, celebrating lesser colonial administrators known only to their mothers. Or it may be that current residents would rather not have their homes associated with drunks, deviants and diabolists.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

Strange Flowers guide to London: part 2

Fitzrovia was a stone’s throw from Bloomsbury but a world away in temperament. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Fitzrovia was “a world of outsiders, down-and-outs, drunks, sensualists, homosexuals and eccentrics”. In short, the spiritual home of Strange Flowers.

At home with Ronald Firbank

“…when Sacheverell spoke appreciatively of his latest novel, Caprice, he turned his head away, and remarked, in a choking voice, ‘I can’t bear calceolarias! Can you?’”

At home with Ronald Firbank

“…when Sacheverell spoke appreciatively of his latest novel, Caprice, he turned his head away, and remarked, in a choking voice, ‘I can’t bear calceolarias! Can you?’”

Homme fatal

Denham Fouts arrives as a flat-pack of facts, fables, anecdotes, rumours and bald-faced lies to be assembled as desired. The finished product, though intriguing, won’t bear much weight nor close scrutiny.

Homme fatal

Denham Fouts arrives as a flat-pack of facts, fables, anecdotes, rumours and bald-faced lies to be assembled as desired. The finished product, though intriguing, won’t bear much weight nor close scrutiny.

Lotti Mame

Her first film boasted Marlene Dietrich among its cast list. Which should have been a good thing, except the film in question was Just a Gigolo, a hilariously misjudged mess starring David Bowie and also featuring Kim Novak.

Lotti Mame

Her first film boasted Marlene Dietrich among its cast list. Which should have been a good thing, except the film in question was Just a Gigolo, a hilariously misjudged mess starring David Bowie and also featuring Kim Novak.

The baron’s balls

The Baron de Redé was one of the city’s great hosts, standing in a tradition of party-givers strung across 20th century Paris like fairy lights: Étienne de Beaumont, George de Cuevas, Charles de Beistegui, Marie-Laure de Noailles. Redé knew them all, and took notes.

The baron’s balls

The Baron de Redé was one of the city’s great hosts, standing in a tradition of party-givers strung across 20th century Paris like fairy lights: Étienne de Beaumont, George de Cuevas, Charles de Beistegui, Marie-Laure de Noailles. Redé knew them all, and took notes.

Goodbye Dolly

The study of Dolly Wilde belongs to a discipline that doesn’t exist. While nominally listed as a “socialite” in biographical entries, she didn’t entertain on a grand scale, patronise genius or pioneer new ways of living, so you won’t find her mentioned in social histories of the 20th century.

Goodbye Dolly

The study of Dolly Wilde belongs to a discipline that doesn’t exist. While nominally listed as a “socialite” in biographical entries, she didn’t entertain on a grand scale, patronise genius or pioneer new ways of living, so you won’t find her mentioned in social histories of the 20th century.

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Salon queen

Natalie Barney would become the 20th century’s greatest saloniste. Visitors to her Friday afternoon meetings included Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Colette and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Salon queen

Natalie Barney would become the 20th century’s greatest saloniste. Visitors to her Friday afternoon meetings included Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Colette and Rainer Maria Rilke.