Actresses Heiresses Debutantes and the Stylish Elite at El Morocco New York
Posted on 09 March 2015
Sometimes, I wish I could travel back in time. I wouldn't want to STAY in the past, the medical care and women's rights issues make me happier to be alive today, but I would just like to visit. I would go directly to Paris to see all of my favorite designers runway collections first hand, Balenciaga, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Jacques Fath, etc. But then, I would fly to New York and stop by the El Morocco nightclub.
Before Studio 54 in NYC became associated with the "velvet rope" and nightclub exclusivity, El Morocco provided a party haven for the rich and famous. I would slip by the doorman and enter the club - I would most likely run into someone like Salvadore Dali or Charlie Chapman or even Marlene Dietrich on the dance floor.
El Morocco was originally opened in 1931 at 154 East 54th Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue as a speakeasy. After prohibition was repealed, it went on to became one of the most popular nightclub establishments in New York City. If I walked around the room I could see people like Mary Pickford eating pasta and drinking champagne.
El Morocco's regular clientele consisted of celebrities, debutantes, fashion professionals, high society, politicians, and artists. The recognizable zebra stripes on the banquettes were a give away everyone who saw the photos in popular publications, so everyone wanted to be at club El Morocco. Before Gray Gardens, Edith Beale was a prominent NY socialite. I might stop and chat with her - give her a little encouragement to leave home and see the world, (and to possibly pursue a career in fashion design).
If I made a few trips, I would be able to meet 3 of Elizabeth Taylor's husbands!
I could then just spend the evening trying to eavesdrop on the famous guests, and of course, memorizing their outfits.
El Morocco eventually moved to 307 East 54th Street, near the corner of Second Avenue in 1960. It later didn't have the same prestige as it's earlier days, but in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, it was THE club.
CZ Guest used to say that they would often go to El Morocco after Truman Capote's Black and White Ball. I would probably stay a while to see if any of the party goers would show up. I'd love to see Truman's swans and meet the man himself. After a few more dances, I would climb back into my time machine and head back to 2015. Or.. maybe I'd spend the night at Babe's or Audrey's so I could stop by Bergdorf's in the morning. Time machines allow 2 checked bags - don't they?