Mad Hatter Cocktail Party

Before Christmas I headed over to Portal restaurant and bar on St John Street, EC1, to try out a Mad Hatter cocktail party courtesy of world renowned milliner Katherine Elizabeth.

Katherine started the day by creating a festive window display, in conjunction with chic florists McQueens, in which she created a bespoke hat from scratch inside the window box of the restaurant. This was followed by a cocktail party with special Alice in Wonderland themed cocktails and hat shaped canapes.

Portal’s very own mixologist, Leandro Pacheco, created two delicious Wonderland inspired drinks including The Queen of Hearts consisting of vodka, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla and The Portal Caterpillar made with cucumber, mint, elderflower, lemon and apple.

Guests then had the chance to try on a selection of Katherine’s fabulous hats and fascinators. I tried on a beautiful white fascinator with an elaborate rose and huge white ostrich feather that I really didn’t want to take off. Katherine Elizabeth’s creations have a vintage feel to them and add serious glamour for seriously special events of the kind I don’t attend nearly often enough.

Next Katherine produced an array of material, ribbon, netting and jewels and showed us how to make our own fascinators. The trick is to chose a selection of feathers and ribbon and sew it all together before attaching it to the hat. Katherine showed us how to make a small fascinator each but in her classes, which usually take between two to three hours, she can show you how to make anything from a cute head band or corsage to an elaborate full-on hat. All the trimmings – the ethically-sourced feathers, costume jewellery, beads and ribbon – are provided, meaning the possibilities are endless.

Grabbing a pair of scissors, I dragged my poor friend Craig, who I had convinced to come with me with the promise of free food, into the corner to work on my new creation. Surprisingly, he got right into it and was cutting and sewing like a pro within five minutes. Together we made a pink fascinator with butterfly netting and feathers.

Everyone seemed to love the chance to get creative and we all walked out the door with individual and stylish fascinators to show off during the party season.

Mad Hatters parties come in two packages, with the first from £38 per person including materials and small trimmings. The second package is £55 per person, and includes premium fabrics and larger trimmings to make a more high-end couture piece. Both options come with expert tuition and a finished designer head-piece at the end.

Portal Restaurant and Bar
88 St John Street

Tel: 020 7253 6950

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