From curating exclusive guestlists to providing live entertainment, we look at four legendary hosts
As I stare at my alarmingly saturated calendar, I realise that I will be attending 12 dinner parties and events in the next month alone. Excessive? Certainly. But for me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than laughing well into the night, surrounded by delectable tableware, and even more scrumptious dishes (and if the evening ends with dancing around the kitchen - even better).To this end, I started to cast my mind on what makes the perfect host. Is it being as effervescent as a flute of champagne? The ability to turn any room into the Shangri-La? Or perhaps it’s what I like to call ‘the swan’; The elusive skill of looking calm while passing round smoked salmon canapés, topping up martinis, tidying up, cracking jokes yet all while having an existential crisis that you didn’t buy enough green beans.Whatever your hosting style, I’ve selected four hosts supremos, in the hopes they may spiritually guide me, and you, in future endeavours.
Beluga Caviar, Cristal champagne, suites at Claridges and 100-hour long birthday parties in the Cotswolds, no one knows quite how to throw a bash like British supermodel Kate Moss. Moss threw a now-legendary 30th birthday in the suites of London’s Claridges with a party titled “The Beautiful and the Damned.” A theme taken directly from F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name. The party encapsulated the decadent and hedonistic atmosphere of 20s New York with rooms strewn with petals and love hearts saying “love from Kate’. Guests included Naomi Campbell, Alexander McQueen, Grace Jones and Stella McCartney to name but a few. The takeaway from here is to go big and don’t expect to come home.
EMERALD LADY CUNARD
"Let me introduce you to the man who killed Rasputin," is supposedly a line that Lady Cunard once said to a guest. Born in 1872, Cunard in her adult life grew to become one of London society's most infamous hostesses with her often scandalous parties at her mansion home, No.7 Grosvenor Square, (invites to her events up until the outbreak of the Second World War were considered the height of social stardom). And like any good host, Lady Cunard knew how to set the mood - with music of course. She offered generous patronage to talents she liked, who would play at her soirees as entertainment. If only we had a time machine.
TV darling Stewart knows her way around a dinner party better than Kim Kardashian knows a pair of Spanx, (and who can deny that Martha and Snoop Dog’s Potluck Dinner Party series is not one of the greatest shows ever produced?). Stewart has much to offer in terms of wisdom such as; start your dinner prep an entire week before, choose dishes seasonally - if in winter oxtail soup is a personal favourite - and if the conversation starts to take a turn, be sure of your role; ‘as the host, it is your duty to step in and gracefully redirect the conversation and help your guests move on with the party,’ she writes on her eponymous website. Stewart, we salute you.
The definition of glamour, Marella Agnelli lived a life many of us could only dream of. Married to Fiat tycoon Gianna Agnelli in 1953, she jet-setted across Europe, stayed on mega-yachts and had personalised towels organised by a family butler wherever she went - even when on sleeper trains. When it came to a theme, Agnelli was a pro, guest placement was of utmost importance, as was curating the perfect menu. Agnelli once served a fruit salad to her dinner guests, a white fruit salad to be precise, for who needs colour?