Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hollywood Hostesses party dress decor menu 1930s

Hosting your own party?
Consider a making it a buffet

William Haines, his sister
and Edmund Lowe
A holiday buffet can be a smart choice for the host and hostess. Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Lowe were known to present one of the most interesting and beautifully arranged evenings in Hollywood.  What did she wear? How about centerpieces and tablescapes?

Their dining room seated 12 guests but when more than that were invited Mrs. Lowe "resorts to the hostess' greatest boon, the informal camaraderie of the buffet supper."

Mrs. Lowe is Lilyan Tashman and is famous as a hostess. Add to that her hobby of collecting exquisite china and silver which was used at her parties.

The table against the wall held the most marvelous array of dishes and the guests helped themselves. Groups gathered about small tables or in corners to eat.

Want to emulate hostess Jeanette MacDonald? Nice idea for table covers. One tip, she says, "I have an adorable organdy cloth with lace inserts. I use silk rayon undercloths in any color that appeals to me and it's all too-too for words. But the organdy napkins are horrible to use!" Check out vintage stores, auctions, even thrift shops and you may find things from the era.

Lucky enough to be dining at the home of Maureen O'Sullivan? Let's say it's Thanksgiving-time 1935. Maybe your hostess will point out that she painted the mailbox herself.  

"I'm one of those women who adores a paintbrush." There are big fountains splashing in a courtyard outside the windows. She lives in a Spanish style building in the upstairs apartment. 

Her living room is spacious. It's done in autumn shades with a deep couch drawn up before the fireplace not too much furniture. It's easily cleared away for dancing and games. 

John Farrow's portrait (John is Maureen's fiance) holds a place of honor.  Sometime during your visit, you're apt to get in on a game of ping pong. O'Sullivan and Farrow will have seven children including well-known actress Mia Farrow.

Columbia Pictures stars of the 1930s include:
Bebe Daniels, Pola Negri, Mack Sennett, Laura La Plante
George Bancroft rushes into the ocean to save someone
Joe E. Brown's baseball team 
Harold Lloyd attends a Bathing Beauty contest 
Ricardo Cortez and Barbara Stanwyck play a little golf
The homes of Charles Chaplin, Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich 

What are the ladies wearing, hostesses and guests?

Lilyan Tashman Lowe is
ready for her guests
"Dolores del Rio who doesn't go out a great deal was there with Larry Kent. She looked very lovely in a frock of apricot colored satin, made with a skirt of three long ruffles. It was noticeable that every woman in the room wore the new popular long skirts. 

"William Haines brought his sister who is a young southern matron spending the winter in Hollywood. She had on a gown of heavy black net and costume jewelry with crystal. Mr. and Mrs. Allan Dwan were also among the guests, Mrs. Dwan wearing a powder blue dress recently purchased in Paris, France."

For those of you planning to host a holiday dinner, here is how Lilyan Tashman/Mrs. Lowe's attire was described:

She wore "a new model which might be entitled the hostess' delight, so exactly suited was it to the needs of looking perfectly at home and still formally gowned. Of sheer black chiffon, the dress followed the natural contour of her figure. 

"The skirt just cleared the floor. The sleeves reached from the shoulder to wrist and then extended down the back in long flowing wings that trailed off for several feet on the floor."

B├ęsame Cosmetics has a make-up tutorial by decade! Flapper or Bombshell? Louise Brooks or Jean Harlow, Vivien Leigh or Grace Kelly? Once you've learned how to apply the cosmetics, what would look best on your face, choose from the vintage inspired items on their site. Love the pretty packaging.

Sally Eilers welcomes her guests
It's holiday time 1935 and Sally Eilers is hosting a buffet dinner. She makes her own special salad and prepares graciously to greet her guests in the dining room where a buffet supper is ready to be served. On this particular evening, Sally is wearing a cocktail gown consisting of a long black skirt and pale pink top. 

There are white flowers all over the room. The centerpiece includes a silver candelabra with tall white candles. You'll serve yourself in the dining room and eat in the sunroom where four white tables have been set up for guests. Tonight she is serving mixed grill, cold turkey, bacon and a little pig. 

Your dinner party doesn't have to be Hollywood themed or have any theme at all. It can be a wedding rehearsal dinner, for Christmas or Thanksgiving, family reunion or when friends can't sit in the dining room. You're together to watch Cary Grant movies on TV. He's the December 2014 SOTM star of the month on TCM. :)

Sally is part of a cooking club with Mrs. Mervyn LeRoy, Mrs. Ricardo Cortez and
Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer
Original 8x10" Photo
Mrs. Pandro Berman. They meet each Thursday night at one of their homes. It was Sally's idea.

Irene Dunne has hit on a warm evening in 1936. She'll be wearing "a turquoise dinner gown with a feather trim, most becoming in shade and silhouette." 

Features of the gown are said to complement the red-gold of her hair and warm the blue of her eyes. 

"She likes to plan own dinner party menus. She places violet corsages at every feminine guest's place. .... 

"'See what I'm using for the corsages,' she said picking up a cluster of pale lavender-and-white violets. 'I had never seen the variegated flowers before and I thought my guests would like them.' ...

"'If this dinner were being given in New York, I should probably make it more elaborate, but here in Hollywood where everyone either diets or keeps a wary eye on the figure, I find that a three or four course dinner is appreciated.'" 

Are you giving any little gifts to your guests at their place settings? Something with their names inscribed? How about something to keep the kids occupied?

For an informal summer buffet on the terrace, Irene Dunne suggests that we consider including some cold beer for your guests. It can be refreshing.

In 1929, Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon gave a buffet holiday party. Ms. Daniels' favorite salad recipe was given.

A number of card tables were set up in the big studio drawing room very festive with little embroidered cloths over them and tiny silver candlesticks with bright red candles in the middle. 

Bebe Daniels and
Ben Lyon prepare
to greet their guests
The guests marched around the table and filled their plates and then selected their own small tables. There is a big bowl of combination salad. 

Bebe Daniels' cook makes the salad by first rubbing the bowl with garlic then pouring french dressing over lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and green chile peppers. It's promised to be quite the best you ever tasted. 

"In the center of the table was a huge circular plate with little fitted dishes [find one for your party] and in these were all kinds of fresh vegetables for Hollywood knows its dietetics nowadays. Carrots sliced thin, young onions, radishes and all kinds of olives." 

Dancing on a Rainbow from Stage Mother 1933

Maureen O'Sullivan starred with Alice Brady, Franchot Tone, Phillips Holmes, Ted Healy and Ben Alexander 


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