Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A Night in the 40s Big Band Dance
Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures just posted a number of photos from the Night in the 40s dance, and I thought I’d share them with you along with a mini recap of the event, plus a little plug for the amazing V Vintage!
I’ve been attending this USO-themed dance as Betty Grable for the past few years, as her famous "peek-a-boo" pose is the nose art on the CAF's B-17 “The Sentimental Journey”--the other guests always get a big kick out of Betty's appearance. The dance is always a fun event, with many people dressing in 40s-style (quite a few attendees are turned out in authentic uniforms and daywear, and there are a number of WWII vets who show up in their uniforms as well). A big band plays everyone's favorite standards, and there is a costume and dance contest as well--all in all it's a very fun event. This year, the museum decided to try something new—they offered a limited number of reserved seating tickets in the “O-Club” section, and the $100 price (regular tickets are $35) included your meal and a photo with Betty. I invited my dear friend Rose (of Matilda’s Closet) to be my guest, and the two of us got to sit right up front. Unfortunately I didn't get to spend much time with Rose, but she said she had a great time dancing and chatting with the other attendees.
Much of my evening was spent mingling with guests, and I met some lovely people this year (I meet so many interesting people at this show--this is one of the reasons I love going so much!) One cute gentleman, who served during WWII, was so excited to have his picture taken with me—he told me he was planning on sending it in to a Navy magazine. I met a group of people from SoCal who were members of the Skylark Flying Club, which has been around since the 1950s. I even met a gentleman who was visiting from the UK!
My dress was a custom design by V Vintage, based on these photos of Betty Grable on display at the CAF museum. I’d love to know the history behind the photos, as they’ve not turned up during any search for Betty. I suspect that a soldier at the base she visited took the photos, and a relative of this person found the photos and donated them to the museum—I’d love to hear more about their history! At any rate, doesn’t Betty look amazing? Her dress is so unusual and has a wonderful, effortless style; to me, such a design is the height of WWII style. Since the photo is black and white, I imagined her frock to be a buttercream yellow, accented with bright red tropical flower appliqués. After some searching, I found the perfect linen-look fabric, and settled on a Hawaiian-print linen fabric for the appliquéd flowers. V Vintage did an utterly amazing job of recreating this frock; I received many comments about it, and many people thought the flowers were hand painted. Now, V Vintage is planning on offering this style of dress for sale, so if you’d like one for your own please be sure to drop them a line! I can’t recommend her work enough—I’ve been thrilled with everything she’s created for me.