In a quest to revive the lost art of hosting, we transformed the Timothy Oulton showroom into a sensuous feast of tantalizing texture and sizzling sparkle for the first leg of our global dinner party odyssey.
The exclusive invitations promised a ‘show-stopping dinner party experience’, brought to life after a year of creative planning and preparation. 160 guests including VIPs, interior designers and press arrived from all over the world in anticipation for an evening to remember.
Guests were led into the huge elevator, furnished with a sumptuous sheepskin sofa, as they made their way up to the dining room. As the elevator doors opened, sharp intakes of breath could be heard as the grand spectacle was revealed. Framing the view, enormous theatrical curtains were covered entirely in thousands of freshly cut red roses. A huge 100ft-long white marble table stretched out endlessly into the distance, with decadent fruits de mer embedded in a glistening ice trench, custom built into the entire table length. Thousands more velvety red roses adorned the table top and filled the rows of classical urns flanking either side.
Dramatic Odeon chandeliers sparkled overhead with a warm, red glow, casting shadows and shapes across the room in the flickering candlelight. In a nod to our British roots, Bowler hatted servers stood ready to fill the champagne flutes.
Guests took their seats for the evening, with every thought-out detail now revealed up close. Vintage cutlery and glassware were perfectly polished while balls of delicate seashells had been fashioned by hand. The wheels of conversation whirred as new acquaintances were made. Guests took the opportunity to get to know Tim Oulton and the rest of the design team, while our appointed Dinner Party Critic – British writer Jonathan Thompson – took notes of his experience, preparing to write his review of the evening. A diverse array of personalities made for interesting conversation and storytelling around the table.
A global array of dessert tempted guests with traditional British bread and butter pudding, a French cheeseboard including Brie de Meaux, Taleggio and Comte 12 months, and caramel chocolate mousse made with Vietnamese chocolate. The eating part of the evening had drawn to a close but the night was far from over as the crowd moved into the London Lounge cocktail bar next door.
Drinks were poured and relationships forged as portraits of Henry VIII, Winston Churchill and Alfred the Great gazed down in silent approval. The music played, cigars were lit and enterprises were hatched late into the evening. Some lounged in the comfort of leather armchairs, some stood in animated chatter and a few had even climbed atop the great marble table with their dancing shoes on.