Napier’s Art Deco Weekend ’13

It’s that time of year again: Napier’s annual Art Deco Weekend was last weekend, and I went, and I had lots of fun and took 642 photos and edited them down to 469 keepers and then edited those down to 26 I want to show you today, and a few more I’ll show you for specific costume posts.

It was interesting to go back to Art Deco Weekend a second time: to review my first impressions, and get another look.  It was even more interesting to go back and read my write-up of last year’s weekend, and my impression of the event.

I can’t say my overall view has changed much, but this year was inevitably a bit different.  I described it to Rachel (my weekend partner) as both better and worse than last year – as a returnee, I didn’t get lost walking around, knew where to park and where the good restaurants were, and when all the events were.  But this year also had less highlights: the op-shopping wasn’t as good, I missed the gorilla hunt, and in a funny way I can’t explain the whole thing just seemed flatter.

Still, it was good fun.

First there was the packing and deciding what to wear:

How many hats do two girls need for a three-day weekend?  This should do.

How many hats and parasols do two girls need for a three-day weekend?

We drove up on Thursday, spent the night at a B&B, and then Friday was op-shopping and checking into the backpackers hotel where all the swing dancers would be staying.

First day gettups - the annual 'leaving the B&B' photo

First day gettups – the annual ‘leaving the B&B’ photo

With the important business sorted, we had time for Rach to get a ’30s do for the weekend, while I read a vintage magazine and silently thanked my hair for its built-in marcel waves.

Rach gets her hair done by Claire of the Vanity Case

Rach gets her hair done by Claire of the Vanity Case

Then it was dinner, and dancing for everyone else and bed for me, because I’m a delicate little flower and need coddling.

The benefit of early bed and coddling is that then I could get up early, before everyone else, and enjoy the deserted beach and the fresh morning air.  I may be an extrovert in most ways, but my favourite part of Art Deco Weekend is still the mornings, when I can have the city all to myself!

Napier beach, early morning

Napier beach, early morning

There is something about the calm of the sea, the deserted venues, the packed-away displays, and the quiet, that speaks much more about what Napier went through than all the fuss and festivities.

Vintage farm equipment packed away for the night

Vintage farm equipment packed away for the night

As the day heated up and other people ventured out, I headed back to the Criterion Hotel, to find a hair and makeup session in full swing:

Hair and makeup all go

Hair and makeup all go

A morning dance class in the dining room:

Swing dance classes

Swing dance classes

And nothing for me to do because I was already fully dressed and coifed, and had some unfortunate injuries that meant I couldn’t dance all weekend:

Bummer

Bummer.  At least ’30s skirts hide the knees!

What’s a Dreamstress to do when she finds herself at a loss?  Why, offer to take in someone’s shirt for them!

At work in my natural habitat

At work in my natural habitat

With mending done, and a cup of tea had, we headed out for one last op-shop, and a few photos in the park:

Pretty swing girls

Pretty swing girls

Then it was time for an outfit change, both to cope with all the things I needed an excuse to wear, and with the heat, and back out for more photos:

More pretty swing girls (seriously, we were such a well-dressed group!)

More pretty swing girls (seriously, we were such a well-dressed group!)

Since it was hot, we had photos in the fountain.  Thank goodness Napier has so many of those!

And yet more pretty swing girls

And yet more pretty swing girls

There may have been a bit of splashing:

Splish-splash, fountain time

Splish-splash, fountain time

Then dinner, and time to change into evening wear, and have Berocca cocktails to keep us going (a Berocca cocktail is half a Berocca (that’s a fizzing multivitamin) in water in a martini glass – really living on the edge here)

Cheers!

Cheers!

Evenings there are bands playing on the street, and dancing around them:

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets

There is a lovely balcony at the front of the Criterion, so we could sit on it and watch the action on the street:

Watching the dancing from the Criterion

Watching the dancing from the Criterion

Or be part of the action on the street:

The best-dressed part

The best-dressed part

Or go down to the Soundshell on the waterfront and watch the main bands there:

Music at the soundshell

Music at the soundshell

Or, in my case, go to bed early so that I could wake up fairly early and figure out how to cram 13 pairs of shoes and 9 outfits and all my Art Deco purchases into a suitcase for the return trip.  And then have ice cream for breakfast (OK, I didn’t, but everyone else did):

Ice cream for breakfast?  Why not!

Ice cream for breakfast? Why not!

More energetic youngsters participated in a derby:

Downhill to the finish line

Downhill to the finish line

I got to meet other NZ participants in the HSF, which was quite exciting:

Tam Sin and I share the historical fashion love

Tam Sin and I share the historical fashion love

All day on Sunday there were arial acrobatics in vintage planes over the city:

Air force fly-bys

Air force fly-bys

They were one of the most popular things with the crowd, and I can see why: you could watch them from anywhere, and they are free, and exciting.

The fly overs and the crowd

The fly overs and the crowd

We watched them over the sea as we walked back along the waterfront to the carpark to re-pack the car and head away.

Last looks

Last looks

Goodbye Napier!  See you again next year (maybe):

Goodbye Napier

Goodbye Napier

 

17 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stella says:

    OMG, what happened to your knees?

  2. Zach says:

    Never enough hats and parasols! I love your yellow and pink (–pink?–salmon? –sherbet? Whatever.) oufit and your light yellow dress! They are very pretty, Miss. Were you not sure if you wanted to go next year? It’s too bad it wasn’t quite as nice as you were hoping it to be–especially with your injuries! What happened, if you don’t mind my asking? I hope whatever it is, you get better soon!

  3. Laurie says:

    What fun! And too bad about the injuries. I get them all the time too. =(
    Laurie

  4. Lynn Brooks says:

    You ladies looked fabulous.

  5. Lynne says:

    No wonder you felt that things were a smidgin flat! Your poor knees and feet! Hope you are back to top condition very soon. It all looked beautiful, anyway.

    • Elise says:

      But the sidelines are where you hear the best gossip! Pride-and-Prejudice-style!

      Looks pretty cool–you all look great.

      • Hehe. I don’t really gossip. It’s a Baha’i thing/something my mother really instilled in me. I just manage to never hear all the bad things about people and the scurrilous news, and am too reticent to pass on even the most innocent trifles!

        We had a joke about it on this trip – I asked if we could shut the door of the room I was in so we could ‘gossip’ and then I said what I wanted to say and everyone looked at me and said “Pssht, that’s not remotely gossip!”

  6. Trish Blair says:

    The last time I went to Napier it was to swim with the dolphins (true story) – but I do remember loving the architecture. These photos are fantastic, just this morning my kiwi friend was saying we should try and go to that event! I would need at least a year to make enough outfits and collect enough hats! Looks like great fun and your clothes were divine.

  7. Claire Payne says:

    So many outfits, so little time. One can never have too many hats on such an ocassion. I must go next year. Hope your knees get better soon.

  8. how beautiful, looks like a fun fun group!

  9. LadyD says:

    It looks like a beautiful place and a fun weekend.
    Ah…sunshine, I’ve forgotten what that looks like. *sigh*

    btw. swing dancing on carpet? Bit tricky on the ankles I would guess..

  10. Wanda/Dawn says:

    Perhaps it felt a bit flat because your knees kept you out of some of the fun. It is hard to sit and watch everyone else have a good time without starting to feel blah. I bet when you were walking around, you couldn’t completely enjoy it because your knees were squawking at you the whole time. Finally, pain tires you out. That likely contributed to you crashing well before your compatriates!

    I hope your knees feel better now and I think that if you are fit as a fiddle next year, you will find it less flat.

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