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Create your own Gatsby-themed night on the town with fashion, food and attractions that would make F. Scott Fitzgerald proud
Baz Luhrmann’s latest movie, a re-interpretation of the classic novel The Great Gatsby, has inspired everyone from designers to chefs to jewellery-makers to celebrate 1920s styles with a fresh and contemporary twist.
This era has always captivated creative minds, often romanticized as one big party: it was the decade of cocktail culture, Art Deco design, social liberation for women, and a sense of style that remains inspiring well into the next century.
Just as Luhrmann’s adaptation on this classic has made the film uniquely his, Vancouver’s flirtation with the Roaring Twenties encompasses a distinctively West Coast element. Read on to find out how you can re-create your own Great Gatsby night – whether or not you choose to actually see the film.
For the last two years, in anticipation of the release of the new Gatsby movie, fashion runways have been flaunting fringe, feathers and metallic fabrics as a tribute to the Roaring Twenties. The silhouette is unmistakeably from the 1920s, but its loose, drapey profile is very much modern, especially when combined with more contemporary elements.
There are plenty of Art Deco-era clothes to be found now, such as this Anthropologie dress by Paper Crown, aptly named Gatsby Paillettes Dress ($328). This shimmery mini dress is made modern with its nude tone and subtle layering of sheer hems. Available at Anthropologie, 2912 Granville Street.
The movie may be filled with gorgeous Hollywood celebrities draped in stunning clothes designed by Miuccia Prada, but the jewellery – courtesy of Tiffany & Co. – is simply breathtaking.
While The Great Gatsby Collection worn by the actors isn’t available for purchase, the new Ziegfeld Collection is. It’s based on Tiffany archival jewellery designs from the 1920s, and takes its cue from the pieces in the movie. Named for New York’s legendary Ziegfeld Theatre, a model of Art Deco architecture that opened in 1927, the jewellery captures the period’s cool elegance with freshwater cultured pearls, black onyx and sterling silver.
Pictured above, from left to right:Ziegfeld Daisy Locket: A medium, heart-shaped locket of sterling silver embellished with a daisy as a romantic symbol of the period and possibly also as a tribute to one of the main characters in the storyline. $660Ziegfeld Pearl Tassel Necklace: Cultured freshwater pearls with sterling silver, featuring an elongated tassel. Pearls were a signature of 1920s fashion and this lustrous strand will add elegance and whimsy to any outfit. $1,300Ziegfeld Pearl and Onyx Ring: A generously contoured ring with freshwater pearls and black onyx in sterling silver. $525Ziegfeld Onyx Pendant: Sterling silver pendant featuring a daisy motif, centered with cushion-cut black onyx, suspended from a chain accented with black onyx beads and pearls. $495
The Ziegfeld Collection is currently available at Tiffany & Co. stores, and can be found at the Vancouver locations: downtown (723 Burrard Street), Oakridge Centre (650 W. 41st Avenue) and Holt Renfrew (737 Dunsmuir Street), from the Tiffany website or by calling 1-800-265-1251.
Vancouver is a relatively young city, so the few examples of Art Deco architecture that remain are precious and iconic landmarks. And the best way to appreciate these beautifully adorned buildings is on foot.
The Heritage Vancouver Societyorganizes Art Deco Walking tours throughout the year, taking pedestrians on a historical tour through the city. Highlights include The Marine Building, the Gotham Steakhouse building, and various private residences in the surrounding neighbouhoods. Check its website for schedule updates.
To whet your appetite:
The Marine Building, 355 Burrard Street. When it was built (1929-30), it was the tallest building in the British Empire and one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the world. Today, it remains one of the most gorgeous buildings, still, in Vancouver. While the two-level lobby is publicly accessible, the rest of the building is now commercial space. The Penthouse – complete with 17-foot high ceilings, a spiral staircase, marble fireplace and teak floors – is also off-limits to the public, but is occasionally made available to special tours offered by theHeritage Vancouver Society.
Gotham Steakhouse Building, 615 Seymour Street. This was built in 1933 by an architect who designed other Art Deco structures throughout British Columbia. It was restored in 1996 for Gotham, renewing distinctive Art Deco details around the façade of the building, notably the cast concrete ornamentation of stylized flower across the top.
Two Chefs and a Table is hosting a new pop-up concept, The Gatsby, recreating favourite foods from that era and introducing them to diners in their intimate Railtown restaurant. It’s going the distance with the details, which include blackout curtains to evoke the privacy of a speakeasy, linens to offset the silver service, and period music to set the mood of a faraway time and place.
Food options include classics such as roasted duck ($28), Steak Tartare ($12), Waldorf Salad ($10), and Cherries Jubilee ($7).
The Gatsby event will culminate with a period-themed dinner at the Vancouver Urban Winery on Saturday, May 11. The Vancouver Urban Winery’s renovated 1920s building will feature period styling so diners can be fully ensconced in the feel of the Roaring Twenties as they enjoy a three-course meal from the team at Two Chefs, while listening to live jazz by Cory Weeds.
Fitzgerald himself would have been at regular at Hawksworth, keeping a tab running to cover all those tall, cool cocktails. While thoroughly contemporary, the restaurant’s décor includes subtle Art Deco motifs to form the perfect segue into the rest of the historic, iconic hotel, which opened in 1927.
The restaurant’s Pearl Room is a glamorous venue featuring shimmering, pearlescent walls, gold leaf accents, hand-carved flowers cut from resin, and a dramatic central hand-crafted chandelier featuring nearly 400 Lasvit crystals.
Soak up the elegance while you sip on your cocktails. Head Bartender, Cooper Tardivel, can masterfully mix, stir or shake the perfect drink for you. Try one of the classics such as Mint Julep, Gin Rickey or The White Lady (pictured above, top right; recipe below).
The White Lady, a classic 1920s cocktail
1.5 oz Beefeater Gin
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
Dash of simple syrup
(egg white optional)
Method: dry shake/hard shake – strain in chilled cocktail coupe
Have a Great Gatsby Night in Vancouver