Hosting the Christmas cocktail party this year? Can’t face another mince pie or over-played festive hit? Then it’s time to up your game. From bespoke mix-ups to cutting-edge canapés – throw the most beautiful soirée, fashion editor style.
The second in our three part series, editor and journalist Harriet Quick talks crystal-decked trees, Saint Laurent manicures and spending Christmas in paradise. Brace yourselves, this is party etiquette 101.
The dress code…
I tend to start from the heels up – I love Jimmy Choo's Cruise collection that features removable Swarovski crystal motifs, brooches and pins that you can use to customise clutches and heels. My obsession with 'Cinderella Shoes' has taken on a new dimension having written the just-released box book Vogue: The Shoe. I’ll be wearing these with tuxedo suits or a fabulous feathery jacket.
For me, it's all about interchangeable pieces – so a ruffled blouse and voluminous tailored trouser, an asymmetric hemmed skirt and vest top, and an outsized Puffa jacket such as those by Balenciaga and Stella McCartney are all on my wish list.
This year, I’ll be spending Christmas in Vietnam on a small island called Pho Quoc and afterwards travelling to Cambodia. It will be board shorts and a bikini in the morning followed by a breezy silk dress by Prada. By then, I will have picked up some local finds. Vietnam has wonderful silver jewellery.
Beauty wise, I adore trying new glitter eyeshadows and lipsticks – guided by some helpful tutorials from Lisa Eldridge's wonderful YouTube series for parties. I will also be enjoying a new shellac shade on my nails – a combination of fuchsia pink and orange inspired by Saint Laurent's signature colours.
On the menu…
Confession – I'm not an accomplished cook. What I like creating is a series of big sharing platters that might feature Asian beef salad, onion ring tempura with yuzu dressing, buckwheat noodles with raw red cabbage, ribbon courgette and fennel, blinis and smoked salmon, and my interpretation of Barry's pizza that is a staple on the menu at the Mercer Hotel in NYC. This is thin-based pizza with wasabi mayonnaise, grated mooli and carrot, and seared raw tuna: delicious. As soon as I arrive in New York, I hanker after it. It's so chic just to serve a mono dish – like the perfect lobster slide. I am really better as a 'sous' chef and will happily undertake the chopping, fine decorations and I make a mean Eton Mess. In general, I think stagger the prep time and pre-make all the sauces and condiments with ample use of a blender.
Decking the halls…
I have a wonderful set of Swarovski crystals that I will hang from a tree with simple white lights. Otherwise, lots of greenery looped over picture frames and doorways with vintage silk ribbon threaded between. My mother is a vintage antiques dealer and I go to her for the most beautiful silk and metallic ribbons, artefacts and fabrics that might make a lovely tablecloth or napkins. As a family, we are deeply competitive on wrapping and I love to customise parcels with motifs, stickers and ribbon. Every year, we look at the Christmas tree and say 'the best yet.’
Behind the bar….
50ml/2 fl oz Blanco tequila
15ml/ 2⁄3 fl oz Noilly Prat Extra Dry vermouth
8ml/ 1⁄3 fl oz Pine syrup see Larder, p58
8ml/ 1⁄3 fl oz Nettlecordial
1ml/dash Chardonnay vinegar
1 Cucumber slice
Put all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill it with cubed ice. Stir for 45-60 seconds depending on taste. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Recipe taken from Cocktail Cookbook by Oskar Kinberg
Follow Harriet: @harrietquick