Foreshadowing After the Fact: Inspiration for the Masquerading Menagerie



A couple months back, the wonderful folks at Hendrick's Gin contacted me with the most incredible of proposals: plan a party with your sister and we'll cover the costs and soak your friends with gin cocktails. After fair warning that our friends are veritable gin sponges, they somehow allowed us to move forward...and our minds went wild.

Port and I try to throw an elaborate holiday party every two years (see Frontier (2009) and Bavaria (2011)). We have a terrible time doing something within the bounds of typical holiday fare, we have a more terrible time asking (or even considering paying for) help and we need a substantial time to recover (with the last one, had to repaint the whole apartment). So, the concept of caterers, party planners and an abundance of our favorite clear booze was almost overwhelming. We needed a theme of legendary proportions.

I googled and googled and googled. And then hit gold. Louis XIV was the first European monarch to establish menageries. He had two. Early on, he entertained sultans and other heads of state in Vincennes, where leopards viciously fought elephants in a spectacle of violence and death. Then there was the pavilion at Versailles. There, the delicate exotic creatures wandered as living decor, light and lovely as a Ladurée macaron. Bingo. We had our theme:

A night that could've been at the turn of the 18th century...
When the animals inside King Louis XIV's menagerie at Versailles escaped...
and ran wild into the night

In a fit of unnecessary work, I made this little video to tease out the concept. It only premiered as a mysterious Instagram, but here it is in full. A now past foreshadowing of things to come...

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