It comes as no surprise that when I ask Tish Weinstock, a beauty editor for British Vogue, about the festive holiday season, she starts talking about Halloween. Self-declared as ‘Morticia Adams’ her vampy style has become her signifier, and in turn her home (which she proudly designed with an interior designer during lockdown) is decorated like a chic dungeon. There are blood red walls, windows with heavy velvet drapes, plush sofas, upholstered stools and lamp stems made of metal chains. If I were to be chained up, it would be in this room – which says all you need to know.
“The holiday season starts with Halloween,’ Weinstock says with conviction, “it’s already very Autumnal and my birthday is on the 4th which really kicks off the celebrations, it’s essentially Christmas and birthday all rolled into one.” Weinstock takes no prisoners when it comes to decorations, and loves a serious rifle at her nearest naff party shop - cobwebs with spiders are a personal favourite. “The concept of restraint is very foreign to me,” she remarks, gesturing to the room. I cannot disagree.
1. A dinner party must only consist of 6-8 guests. “Four is too little, you can hear the knife and fork click-clank and I find that sad. But 6-8 is raucous and fun.”
2. Table debate is only allowed when Weinstock is not involved, “I don’t like it when I disagree with someone.”
3. Party games are essential and names from a hat is a classic or the question game (when names are stuck to one's forehead).
4. If you have a box of celebrations, melt down the rejected chocolate into a sauce for ice cream, a very “Delia tip”.
When tablescaping, Weinstock is meticulous and particular. Today’s dinner table reminds me of Snow White – albeit the morbid version. A gigantic red melting sculpture designed by artist Alex Hoda stands as the centrepiece, and Weinstock has adorned the table with glittering red mushroom candles by &Klevering, ceramic plates with vein like coral fronds by Les Ottomans, mushroom napkinsby Elizabeth Lake, squiggly red candles from Viisiions and vasesby Gaetano Pesce - all available at KOIBIRD. “I think the mushrooms are so fun and witchy - my aesthetic - but they aren't twee,” she muses. There is definitely a mushroom obsession going on, “mushrooms remind me of fairy tales, and the napkins and candles help transport you somewhere else, that’s the point of a dinner party after all,” she says.
If you like a pristine white napkin, then you fall into the category of Weinstock's worst nightmare. Napkins, I discover, must always be colourful. “I am very messy,” confesses Weinstock, “and colourful napkins can cover up all sins! I cannot look at a dirty white napkin and then it’s the hassle of washing them all the time. These mushroom napkins are just perfect, no one will ever know when you spill the red wine!”
For those hosting a dinner party soon, Weinstock's advice is simple. There must be a theme and if you are stuck for one, take inspiration from your very own home. “There are so many objects in this room and treasures," says Weinstock looking about, "different sculptures, objects and artworks, so I play around with them on the table as a centrepiece and then my theme changes to suit and I decorate the table from there.”
And with that it’s time to leave before the guests arrive, I can only assume not on tinsel adorned broomsticks.
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