When I was asked to do a dinner for Rodarte at Harvey Nichols I was thrilled. I love producing events for Harvey Nichols as they allow so much creative freedom that it really is a pleasure. I am also a huge fan of Rodarte and love their fragile couture-like clothes. I recently succumbed to buying their leather cut out leggings which I had whittled out of the Harvey Nichols window as soon as I could.
For this dinner, to create a decor which needed to be suitably fabulous but in keeping with the constraints of our current economic times, I incorporated junk shop finds and remnants and embraced the challenge of redefining them to suggest a visual decadence. Guests should walk into a room and still be blown away visually without wondering about the cost. Sometimes mundane elements such an old chair or a piece of wood can be re-presented in a more thoughtful way.
So with this in mind, the Harvey Nichols/Rodarte dinner became an exercise in restraint with some very chic recycling.
I have a passion for chairs and will do pretty much anything to avoid a standard banqueting chair. Visually if you have a dinner party on a long stretch of table, you are faced with a line of chairs which in itself is such an important aspect of the design. My team trawled junk shops for old chairs which we then repainted and re-upholstered in my studio. I love the eclectic shapes of the chairs but also the uniformity once they all have a slick of white paint. The chairs had a renewed vigor and were requested by many of the guests as a gift to take home!
For placement I always avoid the obvious white card, so we used old bits of scrap wood, painted them white and carved out all the guests names, reminiscent of scratched school desks. Simple, effective and totally inexpensive. The guests loved these personal touches and nearly all placements were taken home. The napkin rings were made from skinny strips of patent leather remnants. For the evenings final act of glamourous recycling we took the beautiful English sweetpeas from the table, wrapped them in paper, put them on trays and guests on departing got to enjoy the flowers at home.
A fabulous junk shop find.
Scratching out the guests names in wet paint…. fun!
My favorite chair now resplendent in white.
A line of eclectic chair backs.
Our hand crafted placement.
The table setting complete with hundreds of vintage glass science funnels and filled with masses of beautiful British sweetpeas.
The gorgeous Kate Bosworth, hostess for the evening.