Published Mar 3, 2016 4:00 AM
Capitol’s stunning courtyard and vertical garden provide a magical backdrop for parties. Seasonal flowers separated by kind and color took center stage at the hands of floral designer John Lupton. SCARVES Lula $160 each, lemlem.com
photography by GATELY WILLIAMS
The owner of Charlotte’s most colorful boutique throws a party in honor of her friend, jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth.
Laura Vinroot Poole is known for her impeccable taste. At her boutique Capitol in Charlotte, North Carolina, she stocks ready-to-wear from Balenciaga, Rodarte, and Lanvin in a setting that is as striking as the fashion. The store’s courtyard, featuring a vertical garden designed by famed French botanist Patrick Blanc, is one of her favorite places to entertain and where she recently threw a dinner party in honor of her friend, jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth. Ravishing multicolored gems are Neuwirth’s signature, and her feminine palette inspired Poole’s choices for everything from the rainbow-colored handwritten menus to the arrangements of peonies, tulips, and garden roses on the table. “I’m very classic and I entertain the way my mother and grandmother entertained,” says Poole. “I always want to make sure it’s a luxurious experience.” The hostess brought in her own Leontine linens monogrammed with a neon thread and Tobacco Leaf china, and served classic Southern cheese wafers on silver biscuit trays. An ombré cake by Sarah Wrenn featured layers in opaline colors inspired by Neuwirth’s jewelry. Poole even draped colorful Lemlem sarongs on the back of each guest’s chair—a party gift, as well as a thoughtful way for guests to stay warm. The guest of honor loved every detail. “Capitol is the most gorgeous store that ever was,” says a thrilled Neuwirth. “And Laura has the best style on top of it!” —Gillian Koenig
Poole, in Saint Laurent. She and her husband have renovated her three Charlotte boutiques, Capitol, Poole Shop, and Tabor, with the help of friend Scott Newkirk. “Our stores really look like our house,” says Poole. “My husband is an incredible collector of midcentury furniture, and he’s collected all of it for the stores.”
Menus, in rainbow shades to highlight Neuwirth’s jewelry, were handwritten by Hobnob and penned by Palmer in Charleston, South Carolina. DINNERWARE Tobacco Leaf $575/five-piece place set, mottahedeh.com
White Dragon cocktails, made with Neuwirth’s favorite tequila by Casa Dragones, pop against a hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper.
WHITE DRAGON COCKTAIL serves 1
- 1¾ ounces Tequila
- Casa Dragones Blanco
- ¾ ounce Cointreau
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 1 orange peel
Dry-shake the tequila, Cointreau, lemon juice, and egg white, then shake with ice and fine-strain into a chilled coupe. Twist an orange peel over the surface and discard.
Cheese wafers, a Southern classic, were served on borrowed silver trays from friend and caterer Sarah Wrenn of Wrennhouse.
SOUTHERN CHEESE WAFERS By Sarah Wrenn of Wrennhouse serves 4 to 6
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 60 whole, shelled pecans
Sift the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
Mix the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and slowly add the cheese and then the flour, ¼ cup at a time, until mixed. Knead the dough by hand and cut into fourths. Roll the dough into four 1½-inch-diameter logs and wrap with waxed paper. Refrigerate the logs several hours or overnight.
Slice the cold logs very thin (¼ inch) and place a pecan on top of each. Bake 375°F until lightly brown. Transfer to parchment paper until cool.
Will keep several weeks in a cookie tin.
Unused logs may be frozen for later use.
“Irene embodies her jewelry more than anybody I have ever met,” says Poole, here with a Marc Jacobs–clad Neuwirth. “Bright, warm, effervescent— a really bubbly force.”
Poole’s recently launched app,House Account, connects shoppers with the chicest independent boutiques across the country.
LAURA VINROOT POOLE ON SETTING A SPRING TABLE
I love all sorts of seasonal flowers but prefer never to mix within vases— it looks too fussy for me. Flowers really shine on their own.
Definitely mix up your plates, silver, and linens. It’s hard to make a mistake when you love your pieces!
Don’t be afraid to borrow from friends. I don’t own the silver biscuit servers, but Sarah always loans me hers, and they never fail to be a hit.
Great lighting is the absolute essential for a great dinner party.
Serve dinner family style— it’s less formal and encourages good conversation.
Sarah Wrenn’s salted vanilla cake, a favorite of Poole’s, was custom made with ombré layers and topped with an oversize bright pink peony.