Elegant Entertaining :: An Edwardian-inspired Cocktail Soirée of Sorts ::

If you were intrigued by the story

of the

first cocktail party

held in 1917,

perhaps the idea of throwing an

Edwardian-inspired cocktail tea party soirée

may rather appeal.

While the Edwardian Era technically ran from 1901-1910,

I'm going with the rather more stylistic definition,

which continued on through the era of the Titanic,

the Suffragettes & the lavishness of entertaining,

which all came to a rather abrupt halt during the Great War,

as the world changed forever.

As a reaction to the decorative, dark excess of the Victorian era

before it, Edwardian style was dainty, light & feminine.

Art Nouveau was at its height,

as was the Arts & Crafts Movement,

with an emphasis on flowers & motifs inspired by nature.

This is the flamboyant era of the belle époque in France

& the Gilded Age in the U.S.

So what shall we serve at our Cocktail Tea Party?

Dainty foods - like cucumber sandwiches,

of course.

Though we may adapt these a little,

serving them as open sandwiches to allow the pretty cucumber

to form a decorative, nature-based pattern.

In keeping with our ode to nature's pretties.

And the cocktails?

Well, that would include the

Daiquiri

(freshly invented in

1905

),

Pink Lady

(recipe

here

),

& the

original

Champagne Cocktail

(

1899

)

The Edwardians were rather taken with conservatories, which tended to be less ornate than the earlier Victorian ones. But you can create this feel with rattan furniture, pots of palms & flowers in abundance, arranged on the lawn, like that first cocktail party in 1917, or simply inside if weather is inclement.

Ralph Lauren's collection for 2012,

unveiled this month,

has more than a flicker of Edwardian & Downton Abbey

influence in the cut & details.

Lace gloves would be de rigueur ~ these are from BHLDN

but you can often find original ones around in vintage stores too.

 It's a charming theme for a cocktail soirée, where, for one delightful afternoon, we can indulge in the daintiness & elegance of such a captivating era.

images ::1st & last hairstyle instructions BHLDN/champagne flutes DIY drinks tray /b & w ladies/ downton abbey/tea party board by blue fruit, images: top row 1: lost source 2,middle row 12, bottom row 12/b & w lady/ flowers/ image in champagne cocktail glass/3 ladiesconservatories/ lilac dress with straw hat/thennow/ drink labels/ ralph lauren fall 2012/ grandiflora/ lace gloves/edwardian cocktail cabinet/ afternoon tea party/ 1901 dress metmuseum