Stephanie Booth Shafran Hosts a Dinner in the Garden with Oscar de la Renta

Inspired by the brand's recent floral designs, the decor emulates all things Spring.
Oscar De La Renta Dinner Party

Photography by The Ingalls

Stephanie Booth Shafran—the great-great-granddaughter of The Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis—grew up in a home where her parents, Dorothy and Otis Booth, habitually entertained a wide circle of friends. Shafran has translated her own lifelong passion for decorating, interiors, architecture, gardens, fashion and travel into developing beautiful, tasteful events for family, friends and charities.

When Shafran’s book, You’re Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining (Rizzoli, 2020), was published, she received some extra support from one of her favorite designers, Oscar de la Renta. The ODLR team hosted parties for her in stores and even created a custom slipcase for the book in a blue-and-white toile— one of the late designer’s historic fabrics. As a thank you, Shafran invited the team of Oscar de la Renta to an intimate dinner party in her garden at her home in L.A. The Qentire evening was designed as a nod to the great designer. In homage to the fashion house’s recent bright floral designs, Shafran adorned the table with bold pink peonies, deep purple sweet peas, hyacinths and magenta anemones.

What’s behind your passion for entertaining?

For me, entertaining is creative expression, every bit as inventive as decorating and designing. I live in a visual world where I am constantly dreaming about fabrics, colors, architecture, gardens and fashion. Hosting parties bring me joy from the second an event is on the calendar to the moment the last guest walks out the door; I adore creating memories for my family and friends to share.

Why did you host the ODLR garden party?

I’m so grateful that they were so supportive of my book and that the team made a custom slipcover in a blue-and-white toile that’s carried in all of his stores. The intention of the party was to be a post-production thank-you and have them over for cocktails and dinner in my garden. It was a beautiful summer evening and very intimate.

How did you decide on the palette for the table?

The black-and-white toile tablecloth was a play on the custom book cover. Plus, black and white is always classic- just like ODLR. I chose bright bold colors for the flowers-bright pink peonies, deep purple sweet peas, hyacinths and anemones-because the fashion house has used a lot of florals and color in recent designs. The dark purple William Yeoward hurricane and glasses, plus the red radicchio in the tuna, also complement the flowers.

How about those beautiful plates?

They are Herend Rothschild plates that I grew up with and inherited from my mother. The Haviland chargers pull in the green from the garden.

What was on the menu?

We started with colorful blackberry Kir Royale cocktails and cheese toasts, which is an old family recipe. Then we served a light summer dinner with tuna tartare and chicken pillared, followed by chocolate mousse for dessert.

Do you have any tips on lighting a garden party?

Lighting is one of the many details that makes a difference-it is key to creating atmosphere. I feel that soft lighting is more flattering to guests, but I always make sure that everyone can easily enjoy their dinner. I do large hurricanes for path lighting and to create defined spaces. Lots of votives on a table help create ambiance, and I love the clear balls of lights for trees.

What’s your best advice on hosting a party?

Over the years, I’ve learned that parties aren’t about perfection. Snafus are what bring humor and authenticity to the moment. The magic comes when you created a setting beauty can unfold. I’m not just referring to literal beauty (the tabletop décor, the photogenic hors d’oeuvre) but the intangible-the laughter and friendship shared. After all of these years, I finally know why my parents loved entertaining, and I love carrying on the tradition!


The print version of this article appears with the headline: Timeless Elegance.
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