An image of Lela Rose from her new book, Pret-a-Party: Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining. Photo: Courtesy
In terms of designers who regularly throw parties, Lela Rose takes the cake. From modernized tea parties that make tequila the mainstay to rooftop roasts with views of the New York City skyline, Rose’s events are as whimsical as her party dresses. In honor of her new tome, Pret-a-Party: Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining, the designer hosted an intimate dinner on Wednesday night at Bergdorf Goodman.
Pink plates, gold silverware, chic floral arrangements and gorgeous cocktails (tequila with celery bitters and a grapefruit rind) were all part of the Texan’s décor for the evening. “I think the devil’s in the details,” the designer told Yahoo Style. “And I don’t entertain unless it’s going to be fun. If it’s not going to be fun, I won’t do it!” Here, Rose shares some of her top tips for entertaining—note to self, you should
1. Let the décor inspire you outfit: “I love the idea of matching your drink to your dress or your dress to your table,” said Rose. “Now, that doesn’t mean, really matching everything, but maybe color coordinating. One thing that inspires me is a color or a vegetable and I match everything around that.”
2. Relax: “You cannot be a stressed out hostess,” warns Rose. “Whatever you need to do to not be stressed out, do that. If that means doing a bunch of prep work, or having a drink before they come: greet people with a smile because no one likes a stressed out hostess.”
3. When in doubt, overdress: “I’m a girl who loves to be dressed. And I always think it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Overdressed—you can always do something dressy but wear flats so you can bridge the gap. I do love to tell people what to wear when I have a party. I’ll match to whatever the theme is.”
4. Let your theme guide you: “I do love to do things with themes but I don’t ever like to be obvious. My kids are named Grey and Rose—four letter colors. So, everything I do has a theme. It doesn’t have to just be Halloween, it could be the color citrine—everything would citrine foods or colors.”
5. Get a Spotify account: “I think music is very important. I have several lists on my Spotify that I just put on a running list and never have think about it again. I have a lot of lists that are called ‘Cocktail List’ or ‘Dinner is Served.’ I definitely think having a Spotify account has changed the game,” said Rose.
6. Have a specialty cocktail: “I’m always looking at different restaurants and seeing what they do. Tequila is a favorite at our house. If you’re doing New Orleans food, you’d do a Sazerac or Manhattan.”
7. Use real dishware: “I would never advocate doing anything on paper or plastic, ever. If you’re having people over, it’s because you’re wanting to connect over something or celebrate something. If that’s all you have, maybe go out to a park and do a picnic.”
8. Take inspiration from your roots: “I think Texans have this kind of ‘come hell or high water, we’re gonna do what we wanna do’ personality. I grew up having a lot of fun, and I think that’s always inspired me,” said the Texas-born Rose.
9. Don’t be afraid to plan ahead: “I would say I start a week beforehand, really planning out what I need to make ahead of time. The morning of, I’m always cooking or chopping before I go to work. I try to do as much ahead of time as possible.”
10. Use your resources: “My husband is definitely my cocktail guy at this point. He’s gotten quite good at it. If someone’s around, I’ll put them to work!”