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Preston Bailey's Design for Entertaining: Inspiration for Creating the Party of Your Dreams    by Preston Bailey order for
Preston Bailey's Design for Entertaining
by Preston Bailey
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2002 (2002)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Design for Entertaining is not a book for the faint of heart. The designs for the perfect party are labor intensive as well as elaborate, imaginative, bold, impressive and dynamic, while at the same time simplistic, sweet, endearing and utterly mind boggling. Bailey's list of clients includes Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Mrs. Bill Cosby, to name just a few.

His chapter headings take the task of party planning and execution one step at a time. Envisioning the Event moves quickly on to Shaping Your Vision to Create a Mood. Lighting, Space, Details, Flowers and Bringing It All Together follow in this beautiful book. While the magnificent photographs show elaborate settings, one could pick and choose from the various ideas presented. A simple but elegant table setting - white, gold and silver - of tall crystal vases (made taller with golden tulips and lit by slim tapers) could, as the author says, 'easily have charmed King Louis XIV and his Court', as well as your next dinner party.

The winter wonderland created for the wedding of Joan River's daughter is awe-inspiring and worth the price of the book all on its own. Bailey achieves dramatic and romantic effects using candlelight. But he proves electric light can also be very effective. Movement sensor light fixtures for a wedding in the Terrace Room of the Plaza Hotel gave the illusion, as the bride progressed down the aisle, that she walked on a carpet of white light. Absolutely brilliant.

Bailey says, 'Perhaps by seeing what can be achieved with a little ingenuity, you will be inspired to view any venue for your events a bit differently - not as a static given but more as a backdrop with all the potential in the world to help you effect your vision.' Using fresh flowers, delicate ribbons and wire gift baskets, Bailey created the perfect hostess present that will remain in the mind of the hostess long after the flowers fade.

Design for Entertaining is definitely a coffee table book. But, should you own one - and you really should - prepare yourself to see it become grubby and dog-eared, as anyone who sees it won't be able to leave it alone.

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