Location: The Alexander, Manhattan
There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.
Once upon a darker-than-usual Halloween night, one Mad Hatter, one Queen of Hearts, one Chesire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, one little Alice, one little White Rabbit, and one dog dressed like a flamingo, jumped down the rabbit hole to join the Mad Hatter’s grandfather, the King, for a feast among the bright flower beds and cool fountains, right in the middle of The Alexander’s majestic rooftop garden. Magic, miracles and mayhem hung in the air. As did the smell of devilishly sweet pumpkin pie and chocolate fudge.
Following the smell, they passed a maze filled with mirrors shining like a bright, silvery mist. If they listened closely they could hear the talks and whispers of those looking in from the chimney-piece on the other side of the looking glass. The path gave a sudden twist and the next moment they found themselves walking through a door that seemed to hold no walls, still breathing in that wonderfully fine air only starry skies and full moons can provide.
Everyone knows that on this side of the glass things go the other way. And you had to walk in exactly the opposite direction or be dreadfully puzzled forever. Unless you don’t believe in nonsense of course, which would mean there is no place for you at a Mad Hatter’s dinner table.
When everybody sat down, and nobody was late, the King screamed “By Moonlight and Broomsticks, let’s eat!” Out of nowhere a deliciously spooky dinner appeared. Witch finger bread sticks, mashed potato ghosts, stuffed mushroom eyeballs, meatball mummies and fried vampire bat wings, followed by luminous lollipops, teacups filled with toffees and ice cream loaded with bloody strawberry syrup and tantalizing marshmallow toppings.
After each plate was empty and each guest and ghost stuffed, the King proclaimed “and now… I dare you to win or lose it all in a game of flamingo croquet”. Before Tweedledee and Tweedledum could say “Nohow!,” he added, “and don’t be nervous, or I’ll have you executed on the spot!”
As if pulled by tea-trays in the sky everybody jumped up to find a flamingo. Everybody besides Wally who already was one. The Queen of Hearts and the Chesire Cat excused themselves because Chesire Cats fade away as they please and Queens have to be dignified, you know. They went to play a game of grand chess with pawns twice their size but half the size you become when you drink from the potion in the bottle that says “drink me.”
And when all ended their games and stepped into the elevator to travel back to where everything is just as it was, this Halloween story ends exactly how it should end. Like a riddle with no answer. What the answer could be? Well, I haven’t the slightest idea.
Illustrations: Sophie & Wally, Poppy & Parker: Chuchu Briquet / Grace, Kat, Frederick & George: Begoña Toledo / The Mad Hatter Halloween dinner table, mirrors, flamingo croquet: Maya Shakur Styling: Priscilla Obermeier
Wardrobe: SOPHIE (The Mad Hatter), emerald green, corduroy jumpsuit, Anna Mason, burgundy hat with silk purple ribbon, Philip Treacy, burgundy leather mules, Malone Souliers, GRACE (The Queen of Hearts), ornament satin midi dress, Maticevski, Queen of Hearts tiara, Dolce & Gabbana, metallic patent leather pumps, Christian Louboutin. KAT (The Chesire Cat), Indiana double breasted cady blazer, Altuzarra, Henri cady skinny pants, Altuzarra, satin-silk blouse, Gucci, PVC and suede pumps, Aquazurra. FREDERICK & GEORGE (Tweedledee and Tweedledum), Tuxedo jacket, Brunello Cuccinelli, Tuxedo trousers, Brunello Cucinelli, Baseball cap NY Yankees, Gucci, sneakers, Gucci. POPPY (Alice), dress, Gucci, silver lambskin leather ballerinas, Baby Dior, hairband with XL flower, Miss Grant. PARKER (The White Rabbit), navy velvet jacket, Baby Dior, white denims Baby Dior, white shirt, Dolce & Gabbana, sneakers, Yporqué.