Preston Bailey's Inspirations for the Perfect Party
by Preston Bailey
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: A private lounge at a wedding in the Middle East; a bridal lounge in the Middle East; a second bridal lounge in the Middle East. BELOW: Towering peacocks in London’s Covent Garden.
CITY AS MUSE
I look to New York for inspiration in its innovation. It is also the epicenter for fashion, and that drives a lot of what I design. I get inspiration for colors, different textures. I also love the Brooklyn Botanic Garden— the magnolia trees. I love Central Park and its beautiful seasonal foliage. I also travel a great deal, and am often in Asia or the Middle East working on events for royal families that include upwards of 3,000 guests. I’ve also been commissioned to create various art installations in London and Asia, and I’d really love to do something magical and inspiring in a public space in New York.
KEEP GUEST ON THEIR TOES
What really raises the bar is creating the element of surprise. Every 15 minutes you should have some surprise—whether it’s a lighting change or the unwrapping of a gift. My new favorite thing to complement the décor and not overwhelm the guests is serving tapas and small plates. My friends here in New York are certainly a group that knows how to party—especially since we were once living it up at Studio 54—so after my dinner parties I like to always be prepared for an intimate and sophisticated afterparty. It’s a must!
I’ve worked with celebrities like Matt and Annette Lauer and Regis Philbin, but I really enjoyed working on Ivanka Trump’s wedding at her father’s golf course last fall. One of the other stand-out projects for me was when we built—from the ground up—an entire building! It was a crystal palace that was erected for a royal wedding in the Middle East.
photographs by john labbe
Cover shoot: May/June 2014 issue of Gotham magazine.