Monday, June 8, 2009

Grand Savoir Faire

Cocktails at the Menzies Hotel Melbourne circa 1965, certainly reeked of Savoir Faire. Take a behemoth Victorian Hotel decorated to excess with all the trappings and grandeur that the era could offer (and that the building could endure), update it with a 60’s style bar and furniture, populate artily with models with cocktails and cigarettes in hand and voila! Instant chic and savoir faire.
Take the same models dressed in the best fashion that Australia could offer in 1965, this time in a stairwell, and again instant chic! I love how models were used to convey the sense of how hotels, airlines wished to portray their image. In this case even though the building and interiors were something of an anachronism, the image portrayed is one of casual modern elegance, something a potential guest could aspire to and even have the chance to rub shoulders with the rich and beautiful.

Built in 1867 in time for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh. Remodelled in the high Victorian 1880s to an unusual eclectic Second Empire ornamentation. Built in 6 months, the hotel was one of the worlds foremost and finest. Host to Alexander Graham Bell, Herbert Hoover, Dame Nellie Melba and General Douglas Macarthur. Sadly demolished in 1969 to make way for a modern office building.

Each city needs a grand hotel as such, and luckily Melbourne still has the Windsor!


  1. David! When you get a moment, contact me by e-mail, if you'd be so kind.

  2. Great photo of the cocktails. I haven't seen that photo before.

    But "sadly" demolished in 1969 to make way for a modern office building? Tragically, I would say! And for what? Modern office buildings could go anywhere. The Menzies was interesting on the outside and fantastic on the inside.


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