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A delightful Alice in Wonderland Townhouse Party in Fitzroy Square.

Katie Byrne and Emma Block sample the delights of cupcake classes and Benefit makeovers at the 33 Fitzroy Square Jacques Townhouse Party.

Written by Katie Byrne

All illustrations and photography by Emma Block.

Emma and I had been told to arrive at the ridiculously grand 33 Fitzroy Square for a Townhouse Party at 7pm punctually; but we’re both crap at being on time and we ended up ten minutes late following a drastic dash across London. Tut tut. But it didn’t matter at all, and we ended up having what we both keep referring to as ‘the best night of our lives’ (perhaps we are slightly over-dramatising it, but it was amazing).
Where to begin? The party was collaboratively held by girly cider makers Jacques and David Carter, founder of the 40 Winks boutique hotel, so naturally the whole thing was like a grown up version of Alice in Wonderland. There were even some rabbits, although rather than clutching pocket watches (and squeaking “We’re late, we’re late!” as Emma and I had been doing earlier) they were made of wood and bedecked with pink bows. As soon as we entered the building we were each given a map, printed on to a handkerchief, and a golden key for ‘unlocking’ the bar for some free drinks. As the theme for the night was a swap shop party – whereby each guest brought up to three items of unwanted clothing with them to trade with other people’s – we were also given the equivalent number of ‘tokens’ for each item. The tokens were large playing cards, in fitting with the Alice theme. The event was both ethically and fashionably motivated and everybody was a winner – people were getting rid of unwanted gladrags whilst also finding some unexpected new gems, and it didn’t cost them a single penny. Mankind has yet to determine a more glamorous way to help the environment.


We went upstairs, where the bar and cupcake classes – yes, dear reader, cupcake classes – were both to be found. Impeccably attired and utterly charming staff floated around, complimenting guests and making jokes. We headed over to the cupcake table, held by yummy-scrummy company Vintage Patisserie. Lead lady, the fantastically named – and fantastically dressed - Angel Adoree, gave a brief talk about how to throw the perfect tea party, and then guests were encouraged to come forward and design their own cupcakes.

Rubbing our hands gleefully, we and 100 or so other guests took it in turns to create our own cupcakes. The tables were littered with tubes of pastel-coloured icing and a huge variety of decorations, and we were encouraged to get creative. “The trick to icing a cake,” explained Angel beforehand to the hypnotised audience with a raise of her arched eyebrow, “is to hold the icing away from you, squeeze until you have as much as you want and then turn it precisely 180 degrees.”

Anyway, I deviate. Before this turns into a cookery/maths lesson, allow me to give you a very brief description of the location and the house itself. Fitzroy Square is nestled cosily a couple of streets behind the BT Tower; in the middle of the square, there is a communal garden for those who live there, and the houses are peppered with blue plaques.

Each room in the house leads – well, drifts, really – into the next. There were beautiful decorations everywhere; everything was stunning. Next to the cupcake stand, there was a long table covered with a white tablecloth and the most incredible decorative (i.e. not edible) cakes that I have ever seen. Every single one looked far too beautiful to eat (which was convenient, considering that they were made of cardboard) and they reminded me of the decadent French wigs worn in Marie Antoinette’s Paris. Other toppings included ships, ballerinas and, my personal favourite, dolly mixture. There were also trees sprayed silver or gold and decorated with lacy pompoms, illuminated by soft lighting. The whole place was like Narnia mixed with a bit of London Fashion Week – cosy, retro (there was a 1940s-style record player, for God’s sake) and oh-so achingly cool.

The clothes swap went on in a room just outside the bar, and throngs of women – and the occasional awkward-looking gent – scoured the racks of clothes for hidden treasures to take home with them. Meanwhile, in the basement, transformations were taking place. Courtesy of Benefit, guests were given the option of either having a full makeover or instead having a pair of incredible false eyelashes fitted. Emma went for the makeover, whilst I opted for the eyelashes (which were so heavy that I could barely keep my eyes open!) A photographer asked if he could take some pictures, and we posed – in an entirely casual way, obviously – with some Victorian-style props: Emma teetered on a painted rocking horse whilst I tried to hold a parasol in the coquettish manner of an artist’s muse. Needless to say, this was much easier to imagine than it was to actually carry out.
The party ended at nine, and clutching our goodie bags and a few left-over cupcakes, we left behind the shimmery glamour of 33 Fitzroy Square. Needless to say, we have already both planned to buy the house sometime before we turn 30, so we’ll be seeing it again soon. As we walked away the building faded into the darkness of twilight. As we gradually lost sight of it, and as it lost sight of us, we wondered if we had fallen down a rabbit hole and it had all been some kind of a wonderful dream.

You can find out more about Cordelia Weston, the lady behind the creative direction and set design of the party, on her blog here.


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One Response to “A delightful Alice in Wonderland Townhouse Party in Fitzroy Square.”

  1. [...] again Katie Byrne and I stepped into the magical world of the Jacques Town house. We had a wonderful [...]

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