Showing posts with label David Tutera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Tutera. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 5

Event Spotlight - Old Hollywood

In this edition of the event spotlight, I am sharing a gala I did with the one and only David Tutera. This was the second event I created with David and just like the first one, it was a total blast. He and his team were consummate professionals who also had a lot of fun. Unlike other celebrities I have met and worked with (ahem...not mentioning any names), David is completely down to earth and easy to work with. BTW - if you haven't caught his new show CELEBrations on WeTV you must tune in. Check it out here!

This one was created for The Phillips Collection Museum in Washington, DC in celebration of the 85th anniversary of the museum. The theme of the event was Old Hollywood, complete with black and white film decor which was inspired by an exhibit at the museum at the time of the gala. Working with David, we came up with an elegant way to include film into the decor. Here are some shots of the 2007 Phillips Collection Gala:

Because the museum has a lot of incredible paintings that are full of color, the black and white tables and flowers really stood out in contrast. The very large flower arrangements were made of white calla lillies, hydrangea and roses along with white snapdragons. They were completely stunning in person and made a big statement.

The event took place about seven years ago and the times they have a changed! Events are even more over the top now and glamorous. Look at these other Old Hollywood themed parties on I found on Pinterest. Here's a really cool one that incorporates red into the design which I love.  Look how the base of the candelabra is all roses and how the seating around the table is a one large sofa. Love how unique and intimate it is. This is the way you want to enjoy a party - feeling cozy and glamorous all at the same time!

Here's a beautiful event that incorporates feathers into the decor. There is no doubt this was a big budget event, but it is so dramatic it was surely incredible inside that tent. 

Along those same lines, here's an over the top old Hollywood themed wedding which is just stunning. Would have love to have been to that event!

Speaking of taking it to a whole other level, can we just stop for a minute and admire the style of the women back then?  How incredibly stunning were they? Here are a few of my favs...
Rita Hayworth 

Grace Kelly

Yvonne De Carlo

Audrey Hepburn

It is hard to think about being this just makes my head hurt! But don't worry..even though 99.99% of us will never look like this, it doesn't mean we can't incorporate the feeling of Old Hollywood in our events and homes. 

Monday, March 17

The Boating Party Party

Right after I left NPR (yes...I worked for a serious news organization. I am not totally shallow and fluffy) when I had my daughter, I got a call from someone I had met when I first moved to DC.  He had been with the Washington Opera and had moved over to an amazing museum called The Phillips Collection (TPC). TPC is probably best known for this, its signature work of art Renoir's Luncheon of The Boating Party.

At the time, I had no intention of going back to work but he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. TPC had just finished a major renovation and addition and most of its main pieces of art had been on a 4 year international tour and were coming back to the purty new space.  They wanted to have a major Gala to celebrate these important milestones and guess who they wanted to plan it??? ME! The best part was that I got to work from home as a consultant so I could spend a ton of time with my new little munchkin. 

It took an entire year to plan and I didn't do it alone. I brought on famed event designer David Tutera to create the look. Working with David was a dream. He is truly one of the sweetest, funniest people I've ever worked with - no drama, no ego. Just adore him. In fact, we went on to do two more events together including the first Trust for the National Mall Benefit Luncheon I mentioned before. 

Here is how the tent looked after all the planning. Stunning right? 

The entire theme revolved around France in honor of Renoir but David took it in an entirely fresh direction. The food was also AH-mazing. The menu was created by chef Yannick Cam and included poached lobster and stuffed quail. FANCY! Here are the place settings close up. 

You can see that all the centerpieces have French tulips and grapes. Lots of lace inspired candle holders and even the bread baskets. And if you look closely, on the table below there were even baguettes included in the design. The tent was also decked out with life size exact replicas of the Boating Party that David had recreated and that we auctioned off at the end of the night.  I was lucky enough to snag one for myself  and it currently hangs in our guest room. 

Because the Gala was huge (800 people) but the museum is small, we hosted the event at this former estate of Washington Post owner Katharine Graham in Georgetown. We ended up constructing 8 - yes 8! - tents on the property that were all connected. We even had to cover the pool to create the kitchen. It was a SCENE to say the least. 

I think my favorite memory from the night was that a hurricane was blowing off the coast and we were getting torrential downpours and heavy wind. At one point, the chairman of TPC came over to me and to the guy who built the tent and said "There's no way this tent is coming down with all of these people in it, is there?" and without missing a beat, the tent guy said "No sir! She is solidly built and you have nothing to worry about." Our chairman walked off and without missing another beat, tent guy turns to me and says "I can say with almost certainty that this tent is coming down. It's vinyl attached to poles which may as well be lightening rods. And filled with people and open flamed candles. You're likely screwed my friend" and walked off.  I spent the rest of the night praying to the Lord above that I wasn't responsible for planning the event that killed 800 of Washington's most prominent people.  Luckily, it stayed up and it was a great night.  

The event raised close to $1M for the museum's education programs and he next day, it was the talk of DC. My career as a freelance event planner was officially off and running and I suddenly had a ton of work.  I went on to plan 3 more TPC galas after that. We moved it back to the museum itself which presented the incredible opportunity for people to dine right in front of the art.  Here are some pictures from inside TPC Galas:

8 years later, I am still working for the Chairman of TPC - but with his new organization called USAgainstAlzheimer's.   Another non-fluffy, serious organization (just for the record)! But I do miss these fancy affairs.