Hello my MARtians! I’ve just done some time traveling…Fancy a report, old sport?
Last night was the party of the year: Gatsby’s Return, located at the Pearl at Longshore, right here on Westport’s waterfront. It was the restaurant’s brilliant idea to commemorate F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s time in Westport, and Longshore’s inspiration for The Great Gatsby’s setting.
Wait, you didn’t know the Fitzgeralds lived in Westport? Yes! As the already-celebrated author of ‘This Side of Paradise’ his arrival in June 1920 was news even then. The Westporter-Herald announced: ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald, a writer, has leased the Wakeman Cottage near Compo Beach.’ No mention of his already-legendary wild partying ways, but reportedly they came along for the ride, too, much to the bemusement and concern of locals.
This cottage, which still stands (and bears a plaque memorializing their stay), is almost adjacent to the Inn at Longshore and the waterfront. At the time, the neighborhood was also home to an eccentric millionaire who threw lavish parties.
A few years later, The Great Gatsby was published—and some of the story details and locations have led fans of the author to heavily suspect that Westport—not Long Island—was the true inspiration.
So last night a merry group gathered to celebrate that legacy, and an upcoming PBS special and book about it
Pearl at Longshore is a MARvellous restaurant space, and last night’s décor was the cat’s meow. Hundreds of people showed up, and partied until the wee hours. To further honor the legacy of the author, a portion of proceeds from the evening are being donated to the Westport Public Library and the Westport Historical Society.
There was a selection of vintage cars to greet us outside and set the mood; fantastic period music performed live by Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra; period dancers—The Honey Taps—whose chorus girl exuberance tempted us all to the floor; Veuve Cliquot champagne flowed non-stop; and delicious food—after all, the party also meant to show off the restaurant’s kitchen, and what a success. There wasn’t anyone who didn’t have a huge smile plastered on their faces the whole night. And wow, did people dress to the nines…so many gorgeous dresses and dapper gents.
So, back to my pink Brooks Brothers suit. Why pink? When I saw Baz Luhrman’s Gatsby film a few years ago I loved the period detail of the costumes, and the connection to Brooks Brothers, who would have outfitted men like Jay Gatsby back in the day. One of the most memorable looks was the pink suit he wears during the film’s climactic scenes.
I discovered a little about this suit when I read an interview with the film’s costume designer Catherine Martin. “Remember, Gatsby [Leonardo DiCaprio] is a romantic. Brooks Brothers had been making pink shirts for more than 100 years, and while working with their archivists, we discovered a pink seersucker suit it sold in 1922. I worked with the brand to do an authentic re-creation, customizing the fabric. Wearing it, Gatsby’s still physically powerful; he just expresses it in a different way.”
On her costume sketch is a handwritten note; it’s a reference of actual book text that was the inspiration for why they chose pink for this outfit:
“An Oxford man!” Tom was incredulous.
“Like hell he is. He wears a pink suit.”
Unlike the self-made, more flamboyant Gatsby, Daisy’s husband Tom comes from money, and is attached to Victorianism, the old establishment. And just like Gatsby, I like a little self-expression myself. So I just HAD to get that pink suit!
Brooks Brothers replicated the suit to sell it, but only made the jacket and trousers. I was adamant that I had to find the vest as well. My good friends at Brooks Brothers made it happen!!! Only 6 were produced—as costume pieces for Leonardo—and they managed to secure one for me.
Walking out in my pink outfit I felt perfectly ‘suited’ to celebrate the night away. And I know that it helped me roar back into the ‘20s in style.