On July 12th, we hosted a private immersive experience for two lucky contest winners. We wined and dined them in full 1920s splendor creating an intimate speakeasy experience allowing them to be transported back in time and party prohibition style. It was the bee's knees! Here’s how we made it happen.
Last May, we launched our first-ever Instagram contest. Two lucky people were set to win an exclusive, personalized immersive experience from one of our four signature universes hosted in a private apartment in Paris. Fun prize, right? Curiosity was piqued and interest abounded. What exactly would they be winning? They didn’t know, but they had a hunch that it was going to be a blast regardless.
Then in June, we announced the lucky winners. Joining us for this special occasion would be Gail Boisclair and her friend, Lily Heise. Gail is the Founder of Perfectly Paris, a boutique rental service offering short, medium and long-term furnished apartments in Paris. Lily is an author, travel writer and podcaster on all things Paris and also the creator of the successful blog Je T’Aime, Me Neither. With these two fabulous ladies joining us, we knew that it was going to be an event to remember!
Now that the winners had been announced, it was time to get to work! First up on our to-do list was choosing the universe. We wanted to make sure to immerse the ladies as much as possible and knowing that the event was to take place in a private apartment in Paris, we needed to choose a universe that would work with the location.
This is where serendipity stepped in. As a property manager in Paris, our winner, Gail, has access to some beautiful Parisian apartments - the kind that you see in magazines and daydream about - and much to our luck, she kindly agreed to host the experience in one of her rentals. A beautiful backdrop for a marvelous evening! And being that the apartment had a touch of art deco charm to it, we decided the best fit was the speakeasy experience.
With the universe chosen, the next step was to cast the right performers. As we are fortunate to work with a large network of artists and performers, many of whom work with us on our other projects, this part was easy. In the role of the flamboyant bootlegging gangster, Legs Diamond, was one of our permanent cast members, Matthieu Vinel. And portraying the talented dancing dame, Mae Dix, was our very own Elena Odessa Ray. Experienced in improv and immersive performance, we knew they could deliver the goods.
With the universe, location and performers ready to go, the next step was designing the experience. In using the “5 Es” as one of our staple design tools, we brought to life the experience. The story was drafted, the costuming was fashioned, and the props were sourced. We carefully crafted invitations and letters; we curated themed keepsakes; and we concocted prohibition-era culinary delights, including creating our own cinnamon-infused ‘moonshine’ gin.
Everything was ready!
On the night of the experience, the winners arrived all dolled up in full flapper regalia! Having received a personalized, themed invitation with the secret rdv information and code (it is a speakeasy, after all!), the ladies stepped into the universe and the fun began!
Festive tunes filled the air while Mae sang a little jazz diddy and Legs showed the ladies how to make their own bathtub gin. Mae also dazzled the winners with a spicy burlesque number and then taught them some of her signature moves. Gail and Lily were naturals! Stories of mobster exploits and backstage gossip rounded out the evening. The ladies even promised to open a juice joint with Legs!
It was a night to remember! And even though the coppers ended up raiding the joint and Mae and Legs fled, the gang promised to stay in touch and meet up again for future adventures.