By Caroline Biggs

Published on October 1, 2015

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Photography by Michael Rubenstein

David Stark, a master of event planning, forges an autumnal fantasia inspired by Valentino’s pre-fall line.

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Photography by Michael Rubenstein

“The element of surprise is essential to creating a memorable scene,” explains David Stark. “I always like to challenge people’s expectations of what a table setting is supposed to look like.” Taking cues from Valentino’s exquisite pre-fall line (which was, in turn, inspired by Botticelli’s masterpiece La Primavera ), Stark and his colleague Corrie Hogg created a whimsical display of feminine florals and delicate details. Together, the pair crafted a centerpiece of custom crepe paper flowers and foliage—poppies, daisies, cherry blossoms, and clover. To further evoke the dreamy spirit of Valentino’s collection, the designers tossed in an assortment of glistening details: sheer silver organza layered over a deep charcoal cotton tablecloth, glasses engraved with butterflies, and gold-plated cutlery. “The scene has a magical quality,” says Stark. “And for at least the duration of the party, we can usher our guests into a fantasy.” 

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WINEGLASS Willow by Canvas $72 domino.com/fall15

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goblet Fat Glass in amethyst by Canvas $11.50 domino.com/fall15

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GLASS balloon double painted butterfly by Lobmeyr $295 marchsf.com

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The inspiration!
DRESS Look 28 (Pre-Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear), valentino.com

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CUTLERY Oslo in matte gold by Canvas $100/set, domino.com/fall15

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DINNER PLATE Heloise by Bernardaud $244 michaelcfina.com

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HARGER color block gray gold by Haviland $210 michaelcfina.com

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We’re not just trying to capture the spirit of a garden or a table or a dress,” says Stark. “We’re conveying an emotion, an atmosphere.”

—david stark

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Stark’s tips for throwing a fashion-forward fete!

counterpoint

When devising a table setting, deliberately court contrast. In this instance, we paired dark-hued dinnerware with dainty florals. 

gradient glass

To create a compelling tablescape, mix new and vintage glassware, as well as cups and tumblers of various sizes.

social strata

Layering sheer and solid table linens lends structure and sophistication. 

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DISH flirting butterflies by Anna Weatherly $154 devinecorp.net