My passion for fashion is no secret to anyone! Nothing inspires my design work more than the colors and textures of fashion. Recently I spent eight days in New York City attending Fashion Week where I reported for CBS television and radio. My adrenaline has never moved at such an energetic pace. From the parties to the fashion shows (designers were showing their Spring '09 collections) I left inspired and wanted to share some of my experiences with you in hopes that you too are inspired to bring some of the fabulousness I saw into your events.
Let me start with some of my favorite celebrity sightings: Bette Milder at the Jill Stuart show; Halle Berry, Martha Stewart, Naomi Watts at the Calvin Klein party (I'll talk more about that later): Jennifer Lopez sporting diamond earrings as big as soft balls at the Oscar de la Renta show; Anderson Cooper at Diane von Furstenberg; Vogue editor Anna Wintour clapping—not once but three times (trust me, this does not happen)—at the Phillip Lim show; Victoria Beckham sporting a new do, inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s infamous pixie cut and done by the same stylist who styled Hepburn’s hair, at the Marc Jacobs show and more.
WHAT INSPIRED ME
What most sparked me to the importance of having a fabulous aroma when hosting an event is when I arrived at the Calvin Klein 40th Anniversary Soirée! As you walked into the party hundreds (I am not exaggerating) of white rose bushes that were brought in specifically for the party lined the walkway. The scent in the air was remarkable! Whether it be floral or something deliciously amazing that your caterer has prepared, remember to touch people’s senses at your party. I must mention how fabulous former Calvin Klein jeans model Brooke Shields looked at this party. Of course she was in jeans and went on to say not only her jeans, but her shirt, jacket and even underwear were by Calvin Klein. “Oh my!” I gasped, “Brooke Shields is talking about her under garments!”
Bite Size Hors d’oeuvres
At most of the parties, I found caterers are truly discovering the world of bite-size hors d’oeuvres. When I say bite-size I literally mean bite-size; one bite and you’re done.
No napkins, skewers, forks, plates, etc. needed. This makes a party experience much more enjoyable. One thing I wish more of the caterers would have been more conscious about is the use of garlic and onions in appetizers. Trust me; it is not enjoyable to be in conversation with people who have just popped a garlic infused appetizer in their mouths. Whoa!
On a more humorous note, I must mention that at the party to celebrate the showing of the collection from celebrity David Arquette (I talk more about the line below) there was no bite size anything. Instead he served mac and cheese and meatloaf! And let me tell you, it was fabulous. Others in the crowd included David's wife Courtney Cox, Courtney's bff Jennifer Aniston, and Meg Ryan. What made the evening extra special it was also David's 37th birthday. It showed me once again that comfort food is always a party hit.
EVERY party I attended was flooded with candles. You simply cannot create a more sexy and romantic (and cost effective) atmosphere any better than with candles. In all shapes and sizes they are still the hottest party design trend, and after what I saw this week, just know that if you continue to use them in mass you will still be considered cutting edge. I am not a strong advocate of using scented candles on dining tables or food buffets. You should have nothing competing with the fabulous aromas of your food.
On the fashion front...
Gold, Gold, and more Gold
I saw gold everywhere (including a stunning gold dress on Olympic gold medalist Natsia Liukin sitting front row at the Peter Som show). So if you've got gold, don't hesitate to break it out. From food service serving pieces to table accents, to drapery treatments, I predict gold is going to make a strong comeback. Actually I find it quite refreshing after spending so many years awash in silver and pewter tone finishes.
This will probably not come as a big surprise yet I saw a bunch of organic elements being brought into the designers collections (another thing I saw a bunch of was PETA protesters outside the Donna Karen 20th anniversary show). The aforementioned and famously quirky dresser David Arquette presented a clothing line made from organic products with his business partner Ben Harper (who just so happens to be married to actress Laura Dern) called Propr—intentionally misspelled. Don't hesitate to bring organic fabrics, both textured and eclectic, into your event, whether it is furniture, draperies, fabulous linens or cushions.
Many of the collections I saw had strong architectural elements which made me think about one’s event. Many times people think of architecture as only relating to the design of the overall event itself, yet I feel strongly that architecture should also be reflective in the elements inside your event. Think about selecting pieces for the furniture collection in your lounge environment much like a designer selects the different pieces for his or her clothing collections...it all somewhat ties together in a magnificent way. It is also important to note that not only does the process of selecting the furniture itself take time, so does selecting the various components that make it a unique and remarkable environment. For example, once designers determine the architecture of a particular garment (what it will look like), they then probably spend months looking at fabrics for one garment. You should spend an equal amount of time when thinking about the fabric treatments for the pieces of lounge furniture collection. I recommend selecting furniture with a distinctive architecture that will be fabulous the day you select it and 50 years and more from now.
In closing, I highly recommend if you want to make a fashionable impression on your clients and their guests that you consider the colors and textures of fashion. Much as designers select a theme for their collections, you can be inspired from fashion for the next theme you present to your client.