In an attempt to grab the spirit of Halloween by the scruff of the neck, my events company, Kick the Gong Around, recently held its most ambitious event yet: The 1930s Gothic Ball. By a soupy combination of schmoozing and good luck, we were granted the freedom to use one of the most majestic and under-the-radar Art Deco spaces in town, Le Sun Chine hotel. Built in 1932, this five-star boutique accommodation is one of the few properties to have survived Shanghai’s recent development boom, and is the former family residence of Shanghai’s flour baron and notorious gangster Sun Bo Qun. Grand sweeping staircases, glittering chandeliers, a ballroom with a wisteria-frescoed ceiling—the place totally exudes the decadence of Shanghai’s golden age in which it was originally built. So naturally, what better way to use such a space than to fill it with nude painted models, conjurers, tarot card readers, black jack and roulette croupiers, a burlesque dancer in a bathtub, and roughly 300 gin-guzzling revelers? As one rather posh partygoer put it: “Never before has such a stunning neglected space been used for such hellish depravity.”
Special props must go to all the dapper dandies and devilish debutantes who dressed up in vintage creepy costumes. Also many thanks to all the lovely people at Uber, the high-end car service, whose Mercedes-Benzes carried 100 guests to the party free of charge.
Photos: Courtesy of George Wyndham