Hollywood A-listers gathered to honor nine leading ladies, including Jennifer Aniston and Barbra Streisand, at the Elle Women in Hollywood tribute Monday, but here on Casa, we think another woman deserves a spotlight: event designer extraordinaire Cara Kleinhaut. Cara and her award-winning design team at Caravents are not only responsible for the production at Elle's exclusive event, but soirees for top-notch Hollywood clients, including HBO, Target, and Condé Nast publications. Fresh from the intimate women-empowering award dinner, Cara talks to us about translating Hollywood event design into home decor, party tips, and throwing decor caution to the wind. Check out what Cara had to say:
CasaSugar: You recently designed the Elle Women in Hollywood event; what's it like to produce such a high-profile party?
Cara Kleinhaut: We do a complete room transformation at the Four Seasons in LA. We come in and build false walls, stage backdrops, room lighting . . . the room is completely built to reflect and represent the Elle brand, using Calvin Klein Collection as a big inspiration.
CS: How did you come up with the design palette?
CK: Calvin and Elle are minimalists and chic, and L'Oréal Paris is very colorful and feminine. So it was about marrying the different aesthetics that work for everyone. We used a color palette of white, slate charcoal, with pops of plum and a beautiful burgundy. And a texture palette of ultrasuede, hammered silver, plexiglass, and smoked plexiglass. Everything was a partnership with Elle, and the calla lilies were a group decision. They are extremely elegant, very structured, tailored looking, and extremely chic. It was my favorite detail of the night. Barbra Streisand loved our calla lilies!
Keep reading for Cara's tips on how to throw a fabulous Fall fete.
CS: In your opinion, what's the most important design or decorative element?
CK: It's not one element; it's the sum of the parts. It's about having a really strong point of view and overall look. Whether you're designing an award party or a room in your home, start with a color and texture palette, and plan all your details from there. From the invite to the table linens to the decor, everything should communicate a vibe or brand. . . . Whether it is a certain personality or message, it's our job to communicate it. The tools of our trade are tabletops and fabrics — that's what we paint with, and that applies to home decor as well.
CS: What are some Fall trends you're seeing this season?
CK: I really like the idea of using textures, like ultrasuede — something a little more interesting. Use something a little more tactile. [Also,] the least expensive thing that makes the greatest impact are candles. Gather them in different sizes; put them in vases. They'll just look amazing.
CS: What are some tips you can offer our readers who want to throw a memorable Fall fete?
CK: Put out a beautiful spread; put food at different heights. Have a few specialties; people love to know that you made it. Decor tips? Take materials and color and reuse that palette all over. It really ties everything together and makes your whole space cohesive. And, if you see something you like, get it, and go for it. Don't worry about convention. People don't need to worry about the rules so much. It's whatever reflects your personality; it's your home — I think that's the most important thing. If you love it than that's all that matters.
Photo courtesy of Line 8 Photography