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

“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.”

WINEGLASS Willow by Canvas $72 domino.com/fall15

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

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

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

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

DINNER PLATE Heloise by Bernardaud $244 michaelcfina.com

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

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

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


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.

DISH flirting butterflies by Anna Weatherly $154 devinecorp.net