HTSI editor’s letter: are you ready to party?
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
How many courses should you serve at a dinner? Are placements still in order? What’s your playlist? And is a dress code still imperative for a soirée in 2023? As we head into the party season, we’ve picked all the questions you might have about celebrating and tried to answer them (page 55).
As has become tradition at HTSI, we’ve also invited ourselves to the best nights out in town – from Ashley Longshore’s champagne reception in New York City to an outdoor rendezvous in Montauk with star design duo Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, and cocktails by the fireside with Alex Eagle in Oakley Court. Each host has a distinct style of entertaining, whether it’s high kitsch or wild grandeur. But each party looks tremendous and we are enormously grateful for each and every HTSI feast.
In this issue we’ve also championed people whose mere existence puts us in a brighter mood. Kim Sion, our Aesthete, is one such person: along with her boyfriend Jarvis Cocker, she can be relied on to raise some cheer. Manolo Blahnik is another: soon to be 81, the master shoemaker is still king of the dancing heel. In an exclusive interview with Louis Wise, he talks about the swinging ’70s, his unshockable persona and still-burgeoning empire. Last year, for the first time, his company’s turnover exceeded €100mn. He’s enjoyed success with his men’s collection, and moved into a new headquarters in a Georgian townhouse on Old Burlington Street. Next he’s off to China, to open an inaugural store. All this and he still has time to shoe the most stylish women in the world. “I’m very boring,” he tells Louis: a point on which we must demur.
When musician and record producer Mr Eazi first went to the beachside club Code, the soundtrack wasn’t to his taste. Rather than go elsewhere, however, he decided to take control. “I went and turned up the volume and told the DJ to play some Afrobeats. Then I took the mic and became the hype-man and I’d do that every Sunday.” The club is now one of the highlights of Cotonou, the coastal city in Benin. His guide to the area serves as a tasty appetiser to one of west Africa’s lesser-known retreats.
For those who like a bit of magic with their celebrations, we present the food illusionists. You’ve seen cakes that look like burgers, but have you broken open a peanut and found it to contain a pearl? Imogen Kwok heads up a feature about the artists using food to create imaginative feats: I’m still trying to work out how she managed to present an egg that, on being cracked open, revealed a ball of rice instead. The processes by which these dishes are created are probably mundane, but the results defy belief: sign me up for Ben Churchill’s outrageous olive-oil sponge cake that recalls a scouring pad.
Plus we do party dressing. I would like to don a cream three-piece and two-tone Wingtips – à la Jay Gatsby – to attend my festive fête. Others may prefer a red chiffon confection by Dolce & Gabbana (pictured above) or a metallic Chanel pyjama-suit. Jeremy Everett and Delphine Danhier have collated the season’s more adventurous looks and, along with models Penelope Ternes and Chaima Ameziane, they’ve created the dress code for the ultimate house party.
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