We started the new year with one of our favourite weddings ever. Held in a charming St James Street townhouse, it was a beautiful wedding for a wonderful couple, Kate and Julian. It gave us the chance to explore some of our new obsessions and some old favorites…
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.
On a recent trip to LA I was delighted to hear that the auction of Michael Jackson’s personal memorabilia had been cancelled but would still be exhibited. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see iconic pieces from Michael’s career and Neverland Ranch. Thus I found myself spending a pretty surreal Saturday wandering around a staggering array of life sized superheroes, replica castles, Disneyana (nice to know that word exists) and lots of custom made pieces from MJ’s estate including a Peter Pan emblazoned golf buggy and Neverland Ranch bespoke Fire Engine.
It was mesmerizing to see all of the iconic emblems so synonymous with MJ. The twinkling white jewelled glove, numerous medallions, the incredibly ornate costumes. One of my favourite pieces was the giant supersized black lego Darth Vader. It stood at seven feet tall and breathed heavily in between reciting eight different lines of dialogue from the film. Darth Vader illuminated with a red light sabre, kind of genius.
I did feel a little like it was more of an expose than an exhibition and I guess since the items were intended to sell and not exhibit the same care was not taken in selecting the pieces for display as with a usual exhibition. It also felt strange seeing so many personal effects of someone who is still alive, the scale of the display had an eerie posthumous feel. That said I am glad MJ is very much alive and going back on stage and that all his belongings will be returned to Neverland Ranch where they belong.
I’m so incredibly excited to have a page in the May edition of British Vogue. I have been buying Vogue for as long as I can remember and it is such an honour to be included in my favourite magazine and online at Vogue.com.
In these difficult financial times when eating and entertaining at home can offer a more cost effective alternative to going out. As well as being economical, playing host can present the opportunity for a richer and more intimate experience on many levels. Our homes represent our personalities, our passions, our interests and our own unique aesthetic. Mix & match china and glassware can be a charming break from restaurant regimentation.
Thoughtfulness and attention to detail can make your guests feel more special and welcome than expensive extravagances. Entertaining at home should not mean pressure to impress with lavish gestures. With this in mind, I always like to do personal placements with guest’s names. Everyone loves the personalization of seeing his or her name presented in a unique and charming way. Touching, thoughtful and more often than not it costs very little.
I made these bracelets for Stella McCartney’s eco launch at Harvey Nichols made simply from ribbon with alphabet beads threaded on fishing wire. They served as placement, napkin rings, guests gift and chic dinner accessory all in one.
Another inexpensive and easy idea is to write guest names with lipstick on small compact mirrors or with chalk on mini slates. Quick, easy and convenient for last minute guests. The beauty of this bulb placement is that guest’s individual bulbs can taken home and replanted after the event.