January 1st, 2020

New Year's night at French Club, Carlton and Astor House (1920)

Exactly 100 years ago in Shanghai...


Fancy dress ball in the French Club in the 1920s, colorized by A. C.

Last night the advent of the New Year was celebrated with another burst of gaiety in Shanghai, where three large dances, at the Cercle Sportif Français, the Carlton Café and the Astor House drew large numbers of people from their homes.

The function at the French Club was a remarkable brilliant affair, the guests all attending in fancy costumes carried out in two colours, cerise and turquoise blue. About 300 guests were present and the charming dresses worked out in these two colors alone made an exceptionally effective picture in the choicely decorated and brilliantly lit ball room. Two orchestras provided the dance music from 10 pm until the early hours of the morning, dancing even being continued through what would ordinarily be the supper interval.

At the Astor House last night the attendance must have approached a record. There were nearly 700 bookings for the special dinner de luxe, followed by a dance and supper after midnight. The arrangements were excellent, although the accommodation was severely taxed. There were two orchestras for dancing, which took place in the ball room and dining room. The New Year Carnival was altogether a great success.

The Carlton Café dinner and fancy dress ball was also a popular function, and here again the attendance was very large. The dining room, used to its fullest capacity, was very prettily decorated, as was also the ball room, and guests spent a merry evening, if the "early hours" can be included in the latter term. There was a great variety of costumes, some of them being very charming and original in design, and prizes were awarded for the most original costume, the most pleasing and the most elaborate one, the awards being made by popular vote. (North-China Daily News, 1 January 1920)


Carlton's resident jazz band in 1919. Xavier University of Louisiana