If it’s true that “the devil is in the details,” then one only had to look west a few weeks ago for a truly angelic example of how to throw an unforgettable holiday soirée. Inspired by New York’s legendary Stork Club, Carla McDonald transformed the public areas of the home she shares with husband Jack into a 1940s winter wonderland, complete with a doorman, a “cigarette” girl carrying candy cigars, period cocktails in era-specific glassware, and a guest list as bright and shining as the full moon on this particular December evening.
Austin Social Planner was among the festive revelers and our time warp experience began the moment we alighted the steps. Guests were greeted by a waiter offering a tray of Stork Club Cocktails* and a dashing, white-gloved doorman in full regalia…all the better to get in the mood for what lay ahead inside. Once across the threshold and out of the elements, a gorgeous dessert table laden with angel hair and delectable sweets teased guests as they meandered through the crowd to the Cub Room, aka the family room on a typical day. The room had been completely cleared and was now a proper nightclub with tabletops that included the night’s menu, floral arrangements, table-side food and beverage service, and popular entertainment true to the decade from crooner Kevin Ahart and his band. The Christmas tree in the Cub Room was covered in gorgeous, vintage ornaments and was a delightful conversation piece long after the live music ended.
Not to be outdone was the red lacquer-walled Scotch Room (by day, the posh command center for the hostess’ PR business), where one could enjoy the company of the aforementioned spirits, not to mention the chance to engage in spirited conversations. Many a guest found their way to this room only to realize an hour had passed while reclining in the inviting space. Other smart touches from the era strewn around the “Club” included Nat Sherman cigarettes and original Stork Club ashtrays, vases and water pitchers…all procured through the thoroughly modern marketplace called eBay!
In our humble opinion, it’ll probably be the 2040s before Austin sees another house party with a similar attention to detail, nor a couple so gracious in their obvious joy for entertaining.
*Stork Club Cocktail: The Original Recipe, Featuring Gin, Cointreau, Fresh Lime Juice, Fresh Orange Juice and a Dash of Bitters
Invitations: Catbird Paper – Using the Original Stork Club Menu Cover (An Online Discovery) as Inspiration and Katharine Hepburn Stamps for Postage
Floral and Decor: Mandarin Flower Company – Who Created a Bounty of Red Roses (The Flower of the 1940s), in Addition to Black and White Ostrich Feather Arrangements
Catering: Word of Mouth – Featuring Recipes from the Stork Club Cookbook
Entertainment: Kevin Ahart
Parting Gift: Stork Club Snowballs – A Modification of the Original Recipe
It Really IS In The Details: 1940s Mercury Glass Candles Scattered Throughout, Nat Sherman Cigarettes, Vintage Stork Club Items