Fabulous People: Colin Cowie

The new Elle Decor arrived at our office today and it is such a good issue. They had a short piece on the party planning extraordinaire Colin Cowie and he gave some fantastic advice for holiday entertaining at home. I thought he gave some really helpful tips applicable not only for the holidays, but any time you have guests for dinner. It should come as no surprise that Cowie would be an amazing host; some of his top events include Oprah Winfrey's 25th anniversary party, the opening of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas and a list of celeb clients including J.Lo, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston and many more.

Here are some highlights from the article:

- Life of the party
• If you want to show people your real sense of style, open your house to them. The key is to set everything up the night before. That way, the day of the party, I just have to put food and drinks out, and I’ll still have time to shower, shave, and change into a new shirt. Dress up. If you’re a hostess, buy new shoes and a lipstick, and put your hair up. A gracious host is unflustered and has a great story to tell.

- Holiday Decor
The artificial trees of today look so real, and you can reuse them next year. If you miss the scent, you can get fragrant candles that smell like pine. A tree should have at least 100 lights per foot. Try fresh flowers on a Christmas tree: Put red roses in test tubes and nestle them in the branches. Last year I did a turquoise tree and used green spider mums.

For a dinner party, I set my table to the nines. One Thanksgiving, my theme was a secret garden, with moss and twigs at each place setting; or I’ll go contemporary, with glass, manzanita branches, and miniature white pumpkins.

- 5 Essentials
 Serve a signature cocktail. Set up a drinks station with glasses and a beverage dispenser so guests can serve themselves. Or hire a mixologist—they’re rock stars these days.
- Five Essentials
2. Play great music. Don’t make it all about Santa. Take your best cocktail playlist and mix in about 20 percent holiday songs.
3. Set up food stations. I like charcuterie, smoked salmon and rye bread (with frozen vodka or aquavit), and one warm dish like turkey stew, chicken pot pie, or risotto. To serve, have a tray of espresso cups and spoons at the ready so people can have a taste.
4. Assemble a colorful guest list. Don’t always invite the same people. Mix it up.

5. Good lighting is a must. Not too bright; use dimmers. There’s no such thing as too many candles. Votives, pillars, tapers—use them everywhere.

- Social Cues
• A guest makes an effort—dressing up, arriving on time, having something to say. So keep politics and religion out of it. Afterward, a timely flower arrangement, handwritten thank you, or phone call to the host gets big points.

Check out some of his beautiful work below..

Cowie in his chic Manhattan pad

Set up a drink station so that your guests can serve themselves... and making it pretty doesn't hurt either

Choose a color theme for the party and stick with it - a bowl of ornaments is a warm, festive touch

Oprah's 25th anniversary party

Images from Elle Decor and Colin Cowie

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