Dancing with Dalí's Ghost

Port Lligat, Spain * September 2013 * Fuji X-E1

It is September 1931. Salvador Dalí, surrealist extraordinaire, only recently swept his wife and muse, Gala, from her former husband and poet, Paul Éluard. The Spanish civil war is still five years away. And they, Dalí and Gala, are perched at home in Port Lligat on the Mediterranean's Costa Brava. In the corner or one room is The Persistence of Time, completed the previous month, and guarded by a pet ocelot. Dalí glances at his pocket watch. Melting. In. The. Sun. Es tarde ya! Los invitados y los no invitados llegan ya! The first Gran Gala of Surrealism has begun. 

Decked in headdresses, the usual suspects file in: Federico García Lorca, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró. And let's throw Dorian Gray in for good measure. Whimsical, magical measure. Blurry beach breeze babes breasts and bums. Colors and sounds and Iberian ham and risotto. Eyes are not where they should be. And where they should. Piano is played. Songs are sung. Champagne is had. We grow tipsy. The white rabbit appears with his pocket watch, exclaiming, "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!" We calm him down. Hand him a gin. My dress doubles as a parachute, I say, if we fall down any rabbit holes.

The Spanish Gala sails through the night. Around the harvest moon. At a villa. Where furniture is made out of watermelons and papaya. Photographers and poets mingle. And Pablo Lecroisey embraces wall space. 

We drink and dance and discuss through the night. We thank our hosts, Dalí and Gala, for inviting us to their home in Port Lligat. We admire his perfectly curled and waxed mustache. We reluctantly retire to a Nutella bed picnic. We fall asleep with our lipstick.


A very special thanks to my fairy goddesigners, the talented Nike Kondakis and Lali Heath, who were instrumental in dressing me for the ball. Nike, a vision in her own right, is based in Kenya and creates spectacular dresses from recycled parachutes, including the impressive yellow frock that stole the evening’s show. Lali is a couture milliner based in East Africa, who trained under the renowned Jane Corbett. Her lovely headdresses were all too feathered and gorgeous for me to decide on the spot, so I travelled with five of her jewels from Nairobi to Spain. I inevitably chose the precious, pleated black one to accompany me through the night.