The National Arts Club Bonnet Bash | NYC

The National Arts Club Bonnet Bash | NYC

My oldest friend Helena asked me to hang out with her one night in Gramercy for the National Arts Club Bonnet Bash. Not really paying attention, I had said yes easily. What ended up happening I couldn’t have expected.

The day of she asked if I had a fancy hat. I said “um no, what do you mean a fancy hat?” She replied, “doesn’t matter, just come,”  and sent me the Facebook invite. It read: The National Arts Club Bonnet Bash: A Celebration of Millinery.

The National Arts Club in Gramercy

So I arrived at the National Arts Club in the Gramercy Park Historic District wondering what this millinery thing could be about.



The National Arts Club is headquartered in this Victorian Gothic Revival brownstone. In other words, it’s an old mansion from the 19th century. My fav.

The National Arts Club ceiling


Read: A Modern Debutante Ball


Although I loved the building, it had been a long, stressful day at work and I had barely read the Facebook page invite. If I had, I might have been able to prepare myself for what was beyond the foyer doors. Of course I wasn’t prepped, and was totally caught off guard by the whirlwind that I encountered upon entering.


The National Arts Club Bonnet Bash

Thumping music, ostentatious decorations, ornate hats, and crazy costumes were everywhere. It was dark, club-like, and wacky.


I felt like Alice in Wonderland after she went through the Looking Glass. However, replace Alice with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. That’s what the organizers of the party did.


This guy was dressed up as Lumiere, the candle from Beauty & the Beast


Randomly, amongst the mayhem and millinery, the second theme of the party was Beauty and the Beast. There were snapshots of the Disney movie on the screens in a revolving carousel for emphasis.


beauty and the beast party scene


Walking around was like an oddball, interactive museum. The detailed costumes people wore were pretty stunning. They were so elaborate and well done that I wondered what in the heck I had gotten myself involved in. I was wearing work clothes!


Another fantastic Lumiere


This man actually came up to me at one point and said, “honey, you look too vanilla,” and pointed me towards Belle’s Beauty Bar to get painted. So Helena and I got painted.




The Vintage Bonnet Extravaganza

Now that we became one of them, we made new friends, checked out the weird artifacts that they had on display, and danced around.



Mutoscope – basically a movie picture roladex with image cards

An old-school board game and the Mutoscope


A Bonnet Bash

But what was the Bonnet Bash exactly? I’ll let the National Arts Club take that one. I like the way they worded it.



“Grab your hat and cross the drawbridge into an enchanted castle where beauties and beasts alike can enjoy a mini-makeover at the Beauty Bar, gyrate to the tunes of Erik Rydju amongst dancing roses, succumb to the charms of Melissa Ulto and her hypnotic video trance and sip specialty-themed cocktails while perusing a one-night-only gallery installation of headwear created by Michelle Palmer, Sarah Sokol Millinery and Seraphim Sin!”



I don’t know why the event happened but apparently it does every year. Hearing that I could attend this again was music to my ears.


Fabulous NYC Millinery

And what about the millinery celebration? After all, that’s pretty unique. Well, the National Arts Club had instructed everyone to do the following:

“strut your headpiece in the hat parade, meet celebrity milliners, craft a chapeau of your own design, discover your best hat style at the milliner’s photo booth and peruse the gallery installation created especially for this event by the Milliners Guild while enjoying vintage cocktails, a light supper and parlor entertainments. “


The Sarah Soko Millinery


The hats on display were creative and the milliners were really talented. I don’t know how you get into that hobby but it’s pretty awesome that people still do.



Helena and I had such an awesome time that night. She’s lovely and literally my oldest friend. We met when we were three <3


What would you do if you ended up at the Bonnet Bash on a random night?