It is my great good fortune to have friends who throw dinner parties with dress codes: You get all gussied up or forget about it. Let's face it, how many opportunities in our "let it all hang-out" (literally) sartorial sloppiness do we have to strut our stylish selves?
Right, not enough.
New Year's Eve is normally the great exception, the day itself commands a grand vestiary performance. Over the years My-Reason-for-Living-In-France and I have been to some sparkling events. At one high atop a gorgeous apartment building on the Rue de Rivoli we stood on a balcony and watched the fireworks in the distance while revelers below waved up at us; on another occasion we were invited to a frightfully chic dinner party in an apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower. It was 1999, we were toasting in the new century, from that balcony we watched the Eiffel Tower burst into twinkling brilliance at midnight. It was magic.
(On that same evening a woman walked out on the terrace with my Reason-for-Living-in-France and said: "Hello, my name is Caroline, would you like to kiss me now?" He claims he kissed her on each cheek and led her back to her husband so she wouldn't fall overboard.)
Other years it has been the two of us in front of the fire with dogs and champagne. Those were lovely evenings as well. This year it's a dinner party on a horse farm in the country.
Edith and I, in preparation for the transition into a new decade -- can you believe it (?) -- went into dress rehearsal mode, hit our placards and came up with two possibilities. Neither one of us had any intention of buying something new for this one-off annual event. See what you think.
From the top: My Chanel vanilla silk crepe skirt you've seen more times than we can count with my 20-year-old black cashmere Valentino cardigan -- and my gold leather and black satin Chanel shoes, pearl teardrop earrings and Cartier bracelet.
Edith is wearing a black satin shift dress she cut off and transformed into a tunic over tobacco- colored raw silk straight trousers she had made in India. She then added a cluster of brooches, her bracelets and black velvet ballerinas with pom-poms which she says signal, "I'm ready to dance, dance, dance."
Below: I'm wearing a Louis Féraud ensemble. The skirt is a sharp, knife-pleated chiffon and the unspeakably beautiful blouse is in chiffon with an underlining of nude silk. I've worn them separately much more than together. The blouse goes with everything. Then I added a gold and satin cord and my Chanel shoes again. On top of the bow of the blouse I pinned a multi-colored faux gem Chanel brooch, a gift from you-know-who.
Edith donned her large, "old," black crepe evening trousers, a black and white striped satin shirt, and a soft suede belt on which she transferred her brooches. Again, note ballerinas.
Now that we're dressed, tomorrow we'll dress the table. . .