Why don’t we learn stuff like this in History class?
The Bradley-Martin Ball was a lavish costume ball at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City on the night of February 10, 1897. Mrs. Cornelia Bradley-Martin organized the ball, with the intention of making it “the greatest party in the history of the city.” Eight hundred socialites spent about $400,000 imitating kings and queens. Mrs. Bradley-Martin’s stated intention was to create an economic stimulus for New York City, which was at the end of the Long Depression which began in 1873 and included the Panic of 1893.
To create an economic stimulus? By dressing as kings and queens? Yeah, I’d say that would do it.
Also, I love how people still use the “stimulating the economy” excuse to justify crazy amounts of spending. Or rather, I love that this dates as far back as 1897.
Two other choice bits:
The interior of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was transformed into a replica of Versailles, and rare tapestries, beautiful flowers and countless lights made an effective background for the wonderful gowns and their wearers.
Otto Cushing, a young artist from Boston, created quite a stir when he appeared as an Italian falconer’s costume which consisted of full body tights, a short jacket and a cap with a stuffed falcon on one arm. “The costume left little to the imagination as far as the figure was concerned, and, although historically correct in every detail, was so decidedly pronounced that he made a sensation wherever he moved.”