Washington Life:You’ve designed parties for the White House, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and the BritishRoyal Family, among others. Can you tell us about some over-the-top partiesyou’ve been to or created?
David Tutera:I produced and designed a five consecutive day event in the Dominican Republic. There weredaytime parties on private beaches and yachts, as well as a final blow out partyin an all-white tent on the beach with a private concert by Latin Grammy winner Elvis Crespowith a spectacular fireworks show on the beach.
I also produced and designed a very special wedding for a client inConnecticut. Just after cocktails, a full fireworks show went off over thecoast in all white lights as guests moved from the cocktail tent to the dinnertent. I used strong colors of chartreuse, orange, and red to transform a tent onthe beach into an exotic paradise.
I’m designing the 45th Annual Post-Grammy Party in New York City inJanuary. Six ballrooms will be completely transformed into chic, sexy andfunky lounges. There will be an all-red lounge, as well as a hot Latin roomalong with an all-white room complete with a forty foot long by twenty foothigh wall of water that will have video images of past Grammy show projectedonto the wall of water.
WL:What trends in home entertaining have you witnessed recently? Whatchanges do you predict will mark home entertaining this coming year?
DT:Create one-of-a-kind martinis drinks when entertaining at home.Guests love to try and see something new and interesting. You can also create self-service barsby placing recipes in frames along with all ingredients/tools so that guests can make themthemselves. Also, when entertaining at home, try a progressive party. Start by servingthe first course outside, main entrée in your dining room, and then dessert inyour kitchen. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, have each course in a different home.
As far as design is concerned, sophisticated styles instead of themes are beingcreated. Think like an interior designer.
WL:Who are the best lighting designers you’ve worked with in D.C. and N.Y.?
DT:Atmospere and Frost are both wonderful.
WL:When you use music at one of your parties, who do you use for sound in D.C.and N.Y.?
DT:All Stage and Sound is great.
WL:You’ve been described as possessing “simultaneous creative vision,” Can youexplain this? And, can you describe some of the unique challenges you’ve faced intransforming your creative visions to reality?
DT:Since I always create design ideas that are unique and special, each andevery event creates an obstacle. I don’t like to do what is typical or easy. I havedesigned The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Gala for fouryears. One season I actually hung more than 90 crystal chandeliers over theguest tables. I achieved this by installing a grid of aircraft cable in the ceilingto allow for each chandelier to float over each guest table.
This past December I designed the National Symphony Ball at The Building Museum, where Ialso designed the Cancer Research Foundation Ball. In this very cavernous space I drapedthe entire room with fabric, as well as flew moving scarves of fabric across the ceiling.The trick was creating a more intimate dining environment for 1000 guests.
Creating a variety of table designs helps to break up a typical cookie cutterdesign that I find most designers tend to do.
WL:What are three tips for a successful private party?
DT:Be original, be organized, and most importantly, be a guest at yourown party. To be a great host, you have responsibilities to uphold, so enjoy theprocess, but most of all be unique.