During San Francisco Fashion Week, I was lucky enough to attend Gen Art's premiere show Fresh Faces In Fashion. Gen Art is all about supporting and promoting upcoming talents in the fashion, film, music, and art worlds, and their fashion show is always a hot ticket. The room was packed, the decor was lush, and the drinks were flowing at both the pre and post show parties.
Two days before the show, I was lucky enough to speak with event producer Dana Castro. Despite having been up since 3 am, she was friendly, fresh faced, and focused.
PartySugar: What is your outlook when you plan a party?
Dana Castro: It depends. The first thing I always do is book the venue right away. I started planning this show at the beginning of June. I outline the show, outline the party and think of the elements of the party. I find the people to sponsor and the designers for the lounges. This year I've contracted SillaPere, who I've worked with in the past, to create a lounge and do the flowers. It's all about Spring 08 fashion with an all white background.
PS: What trends are emerging in event planning?
DS: Going green. Eco-events. For example, in weddings people are doing invites on seed paper. It may put them over their budget, but people are doing it.
To see what else she had to say about planning a party this size, plus pictures of the event,
PS: What do you like about event planning?
DS: I used to be a film producer, so I really like the immediate outcome of event planning. I have a template formula that I follow for most of my events and after two and a half months of planning, the final product is there.
PS: What's the most important part of an event?
DS: The flow is very important. You have to make sure everyone checks in and gets to their seats. You have to figure out how to get 1000 people all to their seats at the same time. You ask yourself, how long will this take? How many seats? And plan accordingly.
PS: How do you set up for an event?
DS: We set up the day before. We build the runway and back drops. The lounges for the parties are installed the day of. Everything is built and we roll it in on wheels. I have the entire day scheduled out minute by minute, so I know where everyone and everything should be going.
PS: What was your most memorable party?
DS: An Ignite event I threw a few years ago. It was an multi-media art exhibit and the Fire Marshall came in and told me I couldn't have the party inside, so I had to take the entire event and set it up in an parking lot next to the original venue. It was Burning Man style — I worked with what I had and made it work.
PS:What's your advice to the everyday hostess?
DS: Keep it simple, less is more. You need to be able to socialize with guests. Make everything the day before or get it catered.
PS: What is your favorite flower?
DS: Big fluffy French roses. I can't remember their name right now. Those and dahlias.
PS: What is your guilty pleasure food?
DS: Potato chips.
PS: A successful party is…
DS: Where everyone has fun.
PS: What are you inspired by?
DS: People's reactions to what you do.