MEET THE DESIGNER
A LEADING TASTEMAKER AND HOSTESS SHARES HER ENTERTAINING SECRETS
As a noted hostess, why is it so important for you to set the scene before an event? Entertaining is one of the last rituals left that slows us down from our modern, hectic, over-scheduled and stress-filled lives. A beautifully decorated table is like a wrapped present, an offering to guests, thanking them for coming to the table. What's your design philosophy? The order and harmony found in the classical tradition. My current philosophy centers around simplicity as the definition of elegance in all aspects of my life, from designing a space to entertaining. Do you have a favorite trick for setting a scene? My trick is to pay attention to the space and use the elements in place to support the theme. This summer I hosted a Peony Dance outdoors in early June when the peonies were blooming. Marry the occasion and the season and you have a natural starting point. What's exciting to you right now in the world of design? Combining black and white is bold and chic, yet it's so clean and simple that it carries a classic air about it. . What needs to go away? Anything fussy and overdone. What's a common mistake people make when entertaining?Making themselves crazy by fussing over a menu that is too complicated or merely filled with expensive ingredients. E-mail invites, yes or no? I would never say no to a great e-mail invite. My gosh, I have a website! Though in my heart I prefer beautiful invitations sent via post, I'm all for a save-the-date e-mail as long as a lovely invitation follows. I wish I could just say e-mail only is fine, but I love getting my daily mail and appreciate and enjoy a beautiful invitation. What's your motto? Simplicity is the ultimate luxury. Who is your style icon? ? Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta. They are geniuses, patient teachers and my dearest friends. Do you have a signature? ? I asked my staff if I had a signature, and they answered classical beauty. I thought that was very sweet.
Any tips for hostesses? Save one hour prior to the party for yourself. I always find an hour to take a bubble bath and get dressed while enjoying a glass of wine to kick off my evening. Always take time for yourself. If you do not take an hour for yourself, who will?