A Dinner Party with Filipa de Abreu

The ebullient entertainer's mural-filled dining room features in a new book.

Excerpt from A Loving Table by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Shelley Johnstone Paschke.  Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith Books.

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A place setting of Themis Z Athenee Peacock. Photograph by Louie Thain.

Even just talking about her dinner parties, Filipa de Abreu exudes the kind of enveloping energy that makes you want to be a guest in her home. She comes alive at the thought of gathering friends around the table in her sublime, mural-filled dining room.

As a brand ambassador for Tory Burch and Themis Z, among others, Filipa has plenty of opportunities to entertain. She recalls that her mother entertained formally while Filipa was growing up in London. When Filipa entertains today, she invites her children to get involved and help host at her dinners. They escort guests to their seats and even help with serving.

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Filipa is all smiles as she helps her guests to hors d’oeuvres served on Portuguese cabbage ware. Photograph by Louie Thain.

Filipa fills the table with beautiful objects and prefers a relaxed and laid-back ambience. For example, in addition to having the guests’ names on place cards, she also adds a different quote to each one. She then asks each guest to share the quote aloud with the rest of the table. An example of one of her quotes is, “A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be in the cell with you, saying, ‘That was fun!’”

Filipa also loves monogramming and at times monograms her guests’ initials on the napkins in lieu of place cards. The guests get to take the napkins home as a memento of the lovely time at her home.

One of Filipa’s dinner-party signatures is live music. An acoustic guitarist might play throughout dinner, or a three-piece band may make an entrance with dessert. It makes Filipa’s night if her guests get swept up by the melodies and dance the night away!

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Entertaining With Color.