How lucky are we that we get to work with our best friends? My friendship with Kelly began 3 years ago on a shoot in Malibu where we shot all day, and dreamed all night. Fast forward to now, another year in our friendship. We shared a house in Amagansett, she threw me the best birthday party of all, we collaborated on shoots from CHANEL to golden goddesses, cool kids to Victoria Secret models. Before we each go home to our real families Kelly and I had a Holiday Party here at the studio for our little New York family, the ones that buy you a drink after a hard day or make you laugh when work is stressful or keep you inspired though all forms of collaboration… and the occasional selfie.
Of course we had to go big and by go big we mean we decked the entire party out in Ralph Lauren from the table tops to the shoes! …so it was basically my dream party. Zach, Kelly’s boyfriend (who just opened a new restaurant in Manhattan!) made the most beautiful dinner of Coq au Vin (recipe HERE!) while Kevin welcomed our guests with a Suburban cocktail (see his story & recipe below!).
Kelly took care of the table with a focus on personal touches, my favorite being the way she did the place settings by using a small silver frame and having me print photos that I have taken of us through the years (which was super easy using THIS), as a way to mark each person’s seat at the table. I loved this touch. I thought it really represented our friendship and collaboration and was an amazing way for everyone to re-tell the story behind the image.
While she sat the table I thought it would be fun to put the photo studio in use even for a dinner party! I threw up a gray seamless and put some warm gels over a couple of kino flo lights and had the camera ready to go to take portraits of each other, to remember this time in our lives together, and this holiday season. As the night progressed the portrait studio turned into a candid riot of laughter and dancing and all out friendship silliness. I cherish this night, these real moments of laugher and wine, photography and art- all the passions that brought us together in the first place.
So here’s to the holiday season. I hope you find some inspiration in our intimate Ralph Lauren inspired dinner party for your own this December and remember to be with the ones that you love….
Kelly has a method to her table-setting-madness! See here entertaining tips here!
The Suburban Cocktail
Rye, Dark Rum & Port, Oh My
Kevin: I was very pleased when Jamie and Kelly informed me I was in charge of cocktails for our holiday dinner party. Some time ago I had tasked myself with learning to make a variety of cocktails and the reputation stuck, so I often find myself making spicy margaritas in the summer or, in this case, something more in sync with the winter months.
When I came across The Suburban, a cocktail created in New York City in the 1880′s, and named after a horse race, I knew it would fit perfectly with the Ralph Lauren vibe the girls were creating. It’s a rye whiskey based cocktail, with the unusual addition of dark rum and port, plus bitters. Esquire described it best: ”If you could distill carved-oak paneling and club chairs, leather-bound volumes and three-cushion billiard tables, this is what you’d get..”
Intrigued by how the ingredients might all go together, I made a test batch and was instantly impressed. After round one I was literally struggling to make batches faster than our guests were drinking them. So it’s safe to say it was a hit. Not too strong in taste, and not too sweet. Perfect for a winter evening and, because of the port, an easy transition to the red wine we had with dinner. Although I think at least a few of us kept drinking the cocktail throughout the meal.
3 oz rye whiskey
1 oz port wine
1 oz dark rum
3 dashes orange bitters
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice, or stir. I stirred.
Above~ Ivo wearing a Ralph Lauren velvet jacket, scarf, vest, shirt, plants and monogrammed slippers with Zach in a Ralph Lauren dinner jacket, vest, scarf, shirt, suspenders, pants and pony-embroidered slippers
As you guys know, our friends Mike & Theresa opened Kingston Wine Co. in Kingston, NY this year with an amazing monthly wine share which we saved and used to serve over dinner. Each wine comes with a story on the grower with suggested pairings and recipes… would make an amazing holiday gift!
A one-pot meal you can make in advance of a dinner party is a chic but decadent way to host a dinner party. Zach created for us the perfect Coq au Vin where he shares his personal recipe for HERE.
Above~ Bunny steals the show in a Ralph Lauren cowl neck sweater
Below~ Erin (middle) in a Ralph Lauren cashmere gown
All clothing and accessories provided by my great love- Ralph Lauren