Twists of fete

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am


Christian Louboutin, shoe designer

If I could have attended any party in history it would have been a tribal sun ceremony or a coronation during the Inca or Aztec period. Or the entry of Cleopatra into Rome.

My fantasy is to host a ballroom party with a line dancing contest between Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and E.T., the alien.

I would serve a timbale of scallops. I would also do something with mushrooms. And a seven-hour lamb using a recipe by the French writer George Sand, called 'spoon-lamb' because you don't even need a knife as it's very soft. For drinks we'd have bourbon sour. Do a good strong cocktail at the start, as it sets the tone.

The dress code would be a masked ball. A masked party puts you in the position of play so you're not only having a party but enjoying a role. It's a great way to be liberated, be someone else, and it's funny to see the fantasies of who people want to be.

What should never happen at a party? A fight. Or a speech. Nothing is more boring than a long speech. When someone stands up for more than three minutes, it's a disaster.

The best party memory is when you don't want to leave and the lights are on.

And my worst party memory? I'm pretty obsessive with food. When I was 18, I gave a big dinner for 30 people. I had this giant steak tartare for 30 people. It looked disgusting and everyone was horrified.

Host or guest? I'm the worst host on the planet. I'm better as a guest because I'm completely free and I can do anything. As a host, you don't really enjoy the party.

What makes a great party? Alcohol. You cannot be cheap with the alcohol. You have to get people drunk very quickly. I like to have a cocktail reception, then a dinner which isn't too long, and then after that, you're dancing.

What makes the ideal host? Dress up - it makes people happy, and people who don't know you come and speak to you. There's nothing wrong with being overdressed at a party. And never put the music too loud - that puts a lot of people off. You need to be able to speak, otherwise it's not a party, it's just like going to a club. Lighting is important. I remember an awful party in Paris where the lighting was crude - it was so white. Women were looking at other women saying, 'Oh my god, if she looks likes that, I'm going to leave.' By the end of the dinner, everyone had left. It was shocking. After the age of 25, invest in dimmers.

Eva Green, actress, model

Better guest or host? I am definitely a better guest. As a host I am always too worried that my guests won't enjoy themselves.

My fantasy guest list consists of writer Haruki Murakami, Ingrid Bergman, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter.

On the drinks menu would be Penfolds Grange.

What would the guests wear? I really don't mind, they could come in pyjamas if they wanted.

On your playlist? 1980s pop music and Bats For Lashes.

My best party memory: I adored the White Nights Ball that Montblanc held at Catherine's Palace in St Petersberg.

Worst party memory? Any time I have had too much to drink.

When the party is over I feel relieved to be in my bed.

Key ingredients for a perfect party: fascinating and fun-loving people, great music to dance to and attractive men.

What should never happen at a party? Arguments - they ruin the atmosphere and make the evening awkward for everyone.

Alain Ducasse, chef

If I could have attended any party in history it'd have been the wedding of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in July this year. I was cooking their wedding dinner, along with my team from the Louis XV restaurant.

Host or guest? I'm definitely a host. I am good at making people feel at home and relaxed.

My fantasy party would be a picnic party in the countryside around La Bastide de Moustiers, my country inn in Provence. We would take the Chevrolet pick-up Holden 1600 type especially customised - with a folded table, a refrigerator, glasses in the armrests and even a hammock for a nap after eating. I would be with my wife and only four close friends (there are just six seats in the Chevy). The picnic basket would consist of simple yet delicious salads and sandwiches, freshly prepared. What should never happen at a party? For it to rain - when it's an open air party.

What should always happen at a party? Magic.

My favourite party memory is the last one I organised in my country home, in the Basque country, at the end of summer.

When cornered by a bore at a party blame yourself - one should never invite boring people nor attend a party where you run this risk.

You should never invite anyone whose party you would not attend.

David Tang, entrepreneur

If I could have attended any party in history, it would have been the dinner which Charlie Chaplin gave for Albert Einstein when he first arrived to live in California.

Host or guest? I?m definitely a host because I am a control freak.

At my own fantasy party I wouldn?t mind being Jay Gatsby, throwing his endless soirees, hoping that one day Daisy Buchanan would turn up. It is the romance of a chance meeting that would add excitement.

Who would be on your fantasy guest list? I wouldn?t care as long as my girl is there.

For drinks we?d have plenty of martinis in martini glasses.

The dress code? Men should always be in white or black tie; and women dressed beautifully, but with minimum make-up - and preferably no plastic surgery.

My best party memory is of my 50th birthday dinner, held in a tent on top of a hill in Bhutan in a rainstorm.

When a party is over, I feel utter relief and joy and luxuriance, and usually regret for having gone.

What makes a fabulous party? People, people, people.

What should never happen at a party? Somebody having a heart attack.

What should always happen at a party? To have the climax at the beginning rather than at the end of the party.

When cornered by a bore at a party, ask him for a personal loan. Either he will immediately disappear or actually send you money.

Never invite to a party someone who totally fits in.

My music playlist consists of live music - always - and Cole Porter never goes wrong.

The perfect host is one who doesn?t ever fuss about who his guests are and whether they are enjoying themselves. The ideal guest is one who flatters the host uncontrollably.

Bonnie Gokson, businesswoman and proprietor of Sevva

If I could have attended any party in history, it would have been Truman Capote's Black and White Ball. It was glamorous, chic, fabulous - from the mix of people to the awesome setting.

I can be both host and guest, but I think I'd rather be host. It gives much more flexibility to control the scene and steer friends into better conversations.

My fantasy party would be somewhere in nature, inside a beautiful tent. Bonfires would be seen leading to a surprise venue. There'd be comfortable seating, huge rugs and chandeliers hung on tree trunks. Live music played on simple flutes and violins would accompany the sounds of nature. A dinner of roasts carved from spits would serve as the food. I'd have a magical open air show by the amazing maestro Zhang Yimou that would show nature at its best.

On my fantasy guest list would be Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Frank Gehry, Jon Bon Jovi, Alexander McQueen, Joyce Ma, Anderson Cooper and Beyonce.

The drinks menu would be Cristal all the way. And a great water bar with different pure waters flown in, and specially designed cocktails.

The dress code? Since high glamour is scarce these days, I would have my guests dressed to the nines.

My best party memory is of the party at Chateau Lafite that Kenzo held, with amazing floral arrangements. The four-day wedding that my sister threw for my niece in Venice, taking over the Cipriani Hotel, was great. So was my three-day party in the Philippines. The first day was a poolside party at my friend's home, and the second was inside the Metropolitan Museum [of Manila]. And on the third day, I organised 20 uniformed masseuses and Pilates masters to give poolside massages and stretches at another friend's home.

Key ingredients for the perfect party include a good guest list mix. If you're hosting you should welcome people and make proper introductions. That way, your guests won't feel like they're just a rent-a-crowd. There should also be some surprises. A party should be like a good orchestra: every element, from mood, correct lighting, food and entertainment, should go together seamlessly.

Never invite friends who bear grudges against each other. It makes things awkward and uncomfortable.

David Yeo, restaurateur and founder of Aqua Restaurant Group

If I could have attended any party in history, I would have been a fly on the wall of the last wedding of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor - and would have loved to tell them to get their act together for good.

Host or guest? I'm neither. I am probably best when I am in the kitchen making sure that everything is in order.

I would love to host a party that looks like a set from the piano bar in the film Casablanca.

On the guest list would be Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Sally Fields, Lady Gaga, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman.

The dress code would be white tux and off-white evening dresses and Biggles-like flying goggles.

My best party memory is my last birthday party, when friends flew in from all over the world to share a great time.

My worst party memory is my last birthday party - when everyone jumped into the pool still clutching their champagne glasses.

When the party is over I feel blissfully hungover and a bit deaf. Hopefully.

Key ingredients for the perfect party are people, great music and a chance to go in fancy dress, as there's always someone who gets it so wrong.

When cornered by a bore at a party, get him intoxicated. That should liven things up or put him to sleep. It works either way.

I'd never invite my dogs. At parties they suddenly decide to walk on their hind legs and tango with everyone.

The music playlist? Claude Challe and Stephane Pompougnac.

To be the perfect host or guest just be yourself. Drink in moderation or stay well away from the best china and glassware, especially when they are yours.