IT WAS hailed as the party of the century – thrown by American author Truman Capote and with a guest list which included Frank Sinatra and his then wife, Mia Farrow.
Also in attendance were Henry Ford II, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Joan Fontaine, Sammy Davis Jr, Andy Warhol, Greta Garbo, Gregory Peck and Jackie Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill.
The famous Black & White Ball at the Plaza Hotel, Manhattan, on November 28, 1966, was described as “a pinnacle of New York’s social history”. The great and the good vied for invitations to the glamorous event.
Now a charity ball modelled on that lavish bash is to be held at Prestonfield House hotel – and Frank Sinatra Jr has given the event his endorsement.
Former councillor Tom Ponton, who has organised the ball, said: “It will be the biggest thing in Edinburgh this year.”
There were 540 guests at the 1966 ball and the quirky menu included scrambled eggs, sausages, biscuits, pastries, spaghetti and meatballs and chicken hash – along with 450 bottles of Taittinger Champagne. The tables were decorated with red tablecloths and gold candelabras.
Next month’s event, marking the centenary of Frank Sinatra’s birth, will aim to reproduce as much of the atmosphere as possible, while raising money for the charity Nordoff Robbins, which provides music therapy in care homes, day centres, hospitals and schools.
Mr Ponton, East of Scotland chairman of the charity, said: “The room will be decorated similar to the Plaza Hotel. There will be a big screen with old footage of Sinatra and, of course, Sinatra’s music.
“We’re hoping to raise £50,000 on the night from ticket sales, an auction and donations. It will be a really big night.”
The evening will begin with a champagne reception; there will be music from the Eliot Murray Big Band and guests are expected to include singers Susan Boyle and Barbara Dickson. Also invited are Queen guitarist Brian May and actress Anita Dobson.
The guest list is limited to 300, but some spaces are still available. Tickets will cost £900 for a table of ten or £90 for a single place.
In his message, Frank Sinatra Jr says: “I am delighted to learn that, on October 31 in Edinburgh, devotees of my father’s music have chosen to celebrate the centenary of his birth by endeavouring to recreate some of the magic that was created in the Plaza Hotel, New York, back in 1966 with the famous Black & White Ball.
“That it is being held in support of the work of the charity Nordoff Robbins, that seeks to show how music can touch and transform the lives of very vulnerable children, is something that my father would have been so proud.
“I wish you all a great evening and wish I was with you.”