Our favorite Fred Astaire song is “Top Hat”, particularly the first verse:
I just got an invitation through the mails/
“Your presence requested this evening/
It’s formal, a top hat, a white tie and tails.”/
Nothing now could take the wind out of my sails …
We are of the same mind: nothing delights us more than a formal invitation. And this one (above) promised to be especially tony: Palm Beach Illustrated, the glossiest of the Florida magazines, was celebrating their 60th anniversary.
So last Thursday we threw on our dinner jacket, tucked in our orchid boutonniere (above), and off we went to the Flagler Museum on deliciously balmy evening. (Too hot for a top hat.)
The (above), formally Whitehall, is the grand Beaux Arts residence of the man who essentially founded south Florida, Henry Flagler (1830-1913). Now it’s a historical landmark and museum — and also a pretty swell place for a party.
Through the enormous bronze gates (above) we stepped into the Grand Room, at 5,000 square feet the largest room of any of the mansions of the Gilded Age.
Doesn’t everyone look better bathed in rosy light? The West Room (above) was staged to sparkle, its 27-foot vaulted ceilings humming with the high spirits of the crowd.
Vintage PBI magazine covers decorated the room, and two of our favorites were: Jacqueline de Ribes, that most aquiline of the society aristocrats, in a splendidly modern silk dress (above, top), and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the couple Palm Beachers love to loathe, but somehow can never resist celebrating (above).
Later, the crowd spilled through to the veranda overlooking Lake Worth, shadows dancing against the white stucco façade (above).
Palm trees lit against the wide Florida night sky, a full moon high above — a pitch perfect Palm Beach night (above).
To help celebrate their birthday, the editors of Palm Beach Illustrated asked us to design a special birthday card. We got a little carried away and designed three, all of them decked out in the classic Palm Beach combo of pink and green. (above)
And we’ve had such a terrific response to the number-juggling flamingo (far right) we are planning to put it into production this summer.