When it comes to entertaining, stylist, “Project Runway” star, and general bon vivant Tim Gunn has a unique perspective on how to throw a truly fabulous party. “Frankly, lifestyle is about how we navigate the world. There are very few things that are exempt,” Gunn told The Vivant at the launch of his role as Nespresso’s official celebrity design ambassador. “I’m always talking about the larger rubric of lifestyle, which includes fashion, home, and entertaining. This is fashion and style too.” See what Gunn’s thoughts on street style are here:
Gunn shared with us his top 5 tips for successful (and, of course, stylish) entertaining in the home, and they all stick to one theme: simpler is better.
1. Only invite people you really want in your home.
“Resonate your DNA, your core, with your guests. If you are inviting someone because they are so-and-so and they do this-and-that, it’s not necessarily the best thing to do. Usually that’s the guest you wish you hadn’t invited and that you may want to end up escorting out, like ‘Excuse me! You’ve got to go now.'”
2. The simpler the decor, the better.
“In terms of decoration for a party, what’s wrong with a simple vase of flowers? There’s no reason to go overboard. I feel about entertaining the same way I feel about fashion. In fashion, if you try too hard, you look like a fashion victim. With entertaining, you’ll look like some kind of entertainment victim. It’s not fun for a guest.”
3. Make the conversation the centerpiece.
“The extraordinary [part of your event] should be the conversation you and your guests have. I want my guests to remember most potently when they go away what a great time they had, what wonderful drinks they had, and what stimulating, fantastic conversation they had. That, for me, is a great joy. When I go to a party and come away remembering the crack in the dining room wall, I think, is that all I’m going to remember? That doesn’t say very much.”
4. Feel that you are really being who you are.
“I spent years really hating entertaining. I had wonderful friends I love and wonderful colleagues, and I liked being with them, but I felt this overwhelming pressure about what a host needed to do. About the proper glassware, the proper linens, and every drink known to mankind just in case a guest wanted something exotic. Then I thought, wait a minute, they’re not going to a bar or restaurant, they’re coming to my home; as a host, if I make this entirely too complicated, I’m going to have a really lousy time. I’m going to be a slave to everyone all night, and I think the host should be able to participate in the party. By stripping it all down and getting it down to the essence of what you really want to do, I thought, how liberating is this? I want entertaining to be memorable for my guests.”
5. Deal with unpleasant surprises as gracefully as possible.
“On the one hand, I believe in taking the high road and rising above [unpleasant surprises]. But when you’re a host, you’re really responsible for what’s going on in your home. The whole tone and tenor of [your event] will rise.”