By Mary N. DiZazzo

Ciao bella,

I found beauty on a boat with the skyline of New York City as our sunset backdrop on the Dorothy Parker Society Bathtub Gin Cruise of the Hudson River.

Beaded fringy silk flapper dresses glittered all around as the band played on and the crowd Charlestoned for three hours of roaring 'twenties revelry. The "Boop-Boop-A-Doop Girl" (a.k.a. Helen Kane) even appeared to sing to us, wearing her '20s era ivory-colored silk and crystal beaded dress.

As we circled the New York City skyline into the evening we saw the noticeable gap where the Twin Towers had stood, a sobering reminder that nothing is perfect.

The guests arrived in stunning outfits from that bygone era. I was lucky enough to be asked to judge the costume competition. Best couple went to Jimmy and Eileen Keck from Providence, Rhode Island's Italian Federal Hill neighborhood. Eileen, whose extraordinary talents include professional vocalist, arts administrator, and vintage couture creations, wore a silver fringed hem dress, rolled-down-to-the-knee seamed (original) silk stockings, with T-strap silver dance shoes. Her black pin-curled bobbed hair was adorned with a silver-leafed band across her forehead. Her dress was topped with a red velvet, fur-trimmed wrap with three giant roses clutching it together off her shoulder. Jimmy wore full evening dress white-tie-and-tails, complete with spiffy white spats. He also received an honorable mention for the best hair -- slick, slick. Was it Brylcream?

Best-dressed lady was Stephanie from New York City -- bearing a remarkable resemblance to Dorothy Parker. She wore an original brown and tan silk straight dress with fantastic detail low past the hip. Enhancing her outfit was an aqua-blue floral kimono and a simple knotted band around her head.

Best-dressed gentleman was John from San Francisco in his tanish-grey pin striped double-breasted suit with coordinated fedora and bow tie. He looked like he stepped out of a Damon Runyon short story.

Among the "honorable mentions" were:

For man's suit, Chris, who wore his great uncles brown pin strip job from the period. Best bow tie went to Michael for a great yellow print butterfly. Best garters -- Amy -- high up and very sexy.

The evening captured a sense of a bygone era full of sweet smoke, fun, and beauty. Then we were off to end the evening and relive the fun at the Algonquin Hotel, a favorite haunt of artists, actors, and writers in the '20s.

So, when next you wonder what to wear to that special event, remember, vintage is not just for grapes.

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!


Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.