How Hollywood’s Most Powerful Stylist Kate Young Throws A Party

Her first tip: “salty snacks, strong drinks.”

kate young
Ben Lozovsky

Party planners should pray that stays a stylist—lest, she decides to conquer their industry, too.

St-Germain tapped Kate Young, who counts Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez as clients, as creative director for its second annual Maison St-Germain, a summer fête celebrating the liqueur and benefiting The Battery Conservancy.

The surrealist installation was Young’s first-ever immersive experience, not that anybody would know. Young enlisted production designer Marla Weinhoff and floral artist to weave a space and theme with depth and humor to spare.

The installation and opening night of cocktails, fortune-telling, and a temporary tattoo parlor were inspired partly by a F. Scott Fitzgerald story—but not The Great Gatsby, mind you. Young took notes from Fitzgerald’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, which is a cautionary tale of decadence and “” parties and tragedies.

In her own words, here is how Young pulled the night together—and how you can host your own surrealist bash at home.

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1 On her design inspiration for the event
kate young
Ben Lozovsky

The idea is that the elderflowers that make St-Germain only bloom for a short amount of time, and it made me think about making a night really decadent and fun because it needs to be seized. It’s the longest day of the year, so it was about making the party fun and whimsical.

A lot of it was inspired by this book, Salvador Dali’s Les Dîners de Gala. There’s such a sense of humor about it but a seriousness, too. It’s like, ‘Everything needs to be very nice, but it should also be funny.’

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2 On where hostesses can find ideas
kate young 
Ben Lozovsky

I love Pinterest. I love a mood board for almost anything. I have many mood boards, called ‘Table,’ about what I want my table to look like when I have a dinner party or how I want the charcuterie board to be laid out. It really helps to look at images to get your own ideas going and then, just do it your own way.

I like playing with scale: These giant flowers are really fun. You can probably do it [at home] with oversized balloons or something. It makes for an interesting picture and adds some whimsy.

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3 On surreal & non-cliche event themes
kate young
Matteo Prandoni for BFA

St-Germain had the whole 1920’s France theme, and I thought that the easy, obvious thing was doing a flapper party. I don’t really like a themed event where you can buy the costume in a bag at Ricky’s. I want it to be weirder—where it’s inspiring and stranger, and you could just put a lobster on your shoulder and that could be your costume. It’s more fun when it’s one degree deeper than the obvious.

The 1920s were also about surrealism. They were Dali, they were Man Ray. The tattoo parlor and the fortune tellers are supposed to conjure that feeling of occultists in Paris in that time. The [installation’s live] portraits were inspired by Christian Schad’s painting from the 1920s Weimar era.

The twenties is very decadent. Stuff was about to go terribly wrong—or was going terribly wrong. It’s the same as the elderflowers. They bloom and they die.

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4 On being inspired by multiple mediums
image
Ben Lozovsky

That’s how I do everything, though. You might just see a Gucci dress, but the reason I like my job is because in my head, there is this epic story I’m telling. It’s just a Gucci dress on some star on a red carpet but I’m in this deep fantasy. That’s how I get inspired, that’s how I get ideas. Otherwise, I’d be bored.

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5 On the best party advice
kate young 
Matteo Prandoni for BFA)

The best advice for any party is salty appetizers and strong drinks, because it makes you thirsty and then people drink more. And when people drink more, they loosen up and have more fun, in my opinion.

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6 On party traditions that need to die
kate young 
Matteo Prandoni for BFA

I hate red plastic glasses that match the red tablecloth. They need to do green glasses with the red tablecloth. I don’t like the matchy-matchy.

However, you know what is brilliant? The line, . She made dresses and tablecloths and plates that match. You can be a hostess and match your table and your plates. It’s so weird and awesome. It could be terrible, but it’s amazing.

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