Step into any high school in late spring and you will undoubtedly feel a palpable excitement due to seniors counting down the days until graduation, students preparing for final exams, and the high-energy planning for one of the most anticipated events--the prom. From underwater themes to decorations that represent the lights of the big city, the best prom themes are those that have many opportunities for intricate detailing. A Moulin Rouge--or Cabaret--setting is one of those themes.
When it comes to cabaret, it's all about the senses. The famed French artist Toulouse-Lautrec captured the scene so accurately on canvas with his high-kicking, gaily dressed courtesans cavorting with mustached men, and musicians mingled in amongst the crowd. Replicating his work in mural form to decorate walls and large spaces would set the appropriate tone and create a fantasy feel. The colours of the Moulin Rouge were red and black. Black or red chair covers would add a lush look, and red and black tablecloths dusted with fake diamonds would be an opulent and extravagant detail. A disco-style ball would give the right level of sparkle to the dance floor.
Dressing the Part
These were days when fashion was nothing if not over the top. Have the guests choose an accessory upon arrival--bowler hats or handlebar moustaches for the guys; diamond bracelets, feather boas and tiaras for the girls. On the invitations, costumes could be an optional choice, or a strict colour palette of red and black could be suggested. The infamous Can-Can was a favourite cabaret entertainment and if the girls are going to give that a try, petticoats and ruffles are a must. Textured stockings and high heels complete the look.
It's all about the French when it comes to the Moulin Rouge. And with the French, it's all about the food. Fancy French finger foods such as individual tarts or quiches, or a beef Bourguignon as the main dish, would be just right. A table that features petit fours and bonbons could also be delectable. Try sparkling cider as an adequate non-alcoholic stand-in for champagne--just have plenty of it. Candy cigarettes would add another layer of obvious decadence.
French postcards printed out in the size of place mats carry the Parisian theme, as would Eiffel Tower centrepieces. Large glass bowls filled with dyed black and red carnations keep the colour theme active. Or stick moustaches on dowels and stand them in a container for a frivolous and funny touch.
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