The Sally Award: Keira Knightley

9w4fxbw007y99940 Mornin’ darlin’, we’re pouring mimosas and dishing about the best party look of the week. Tell me, doll, did you happen to see Keira Knightley at the party for her new film, Laggies? It was at the Toronto Film Festival, and let’s just say Keira was looking positively sally. She was all dolled up in a stunning Michael van der Ham navy number that had a bodice with black and silver beading and a layered-tulle skirt. Leith Clark, who styled the look, accessorized the custom gown simply with a thin diamond bangle and a pair of elegant black suede evening pumps. Yep, that’s it. So refined. And, of course, you know how we feel about black and navy together – très sophisticated.

keiraknightley-s

Gorgeous Keira completed the look with a bold red lip, gray-lined eyes and an effortless low pony. We hereby confer this week’s Sally Award for the best party look of the week on the most courtly of British beauties, Keira Knightley. Congrats, doll.

Tell us what you think about Keira’s look on any of our social butterfly channels:  FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

RSVP: India Hicks

India Hicks HSN Habitually Chic

Doll, come on in and meet beautiful salonniere, India Hicks, who’s here to share her top hostess tips as she recalls attending two of the most famous royal parties in history. She is 678th in line to the British Throne after all. The daughter of David Hicks, the famed interior designer, and Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, British-born India has blended her chic and royal roots to make a name for herself as the empress of island style. India has her own line of home products called Island Living by India Hicks, her own line of fine jewelry and her own isle-style blog. She has also penned three lifestyle books, built and restored five major properties, designed products for companies including Crabtree & Evelyn, hosted television programs, modeled for top fashion houses and, yes, run marathons. Given this beauty’s busy-bee propensities, it’s a good thing that she, her partner, David, and their five children have a Bahamian sanctuary to call home. Let’s jump in, doll, shall we? Bare feet first, of course.

Your entertaining style?
Barefoot under the stars with lots of candlelight, a mixed bag of guests and several snoring dogs.

Your favorite place to entertain?
On the top of the small hill in our garden, between the swaying palm trees, just as the sun sets and the sky turns blood-red.

India Hicks

India’s outdoor dining table in the garden of her Bahamian home

Tip for making your guests feel welcome?
Music, candles, flattering lighting and a tray of well-made cocktails.

Trait you most admire in a guest?
Punctuality.

Go-to hostess outfit?
A long, silk kaftan, damp hair tied into a ballerina bun, gold bangles and bare feet.

India Hicks

What did you learn from your parents about entertaining?
A well thought out placement is essential.

Last party you hosted?
A mid-summer dinner on our terrace with a long table stretching from end to end, lots of teenagers, lots of friends, lots of family and several people being thrown into a warm pool.

India Hicks

India’s table at her recent mid-summer dinner party

How do you stay party ready?
I keep assorted cheeses and crackers on hand. David says cheese never goes off; it simply changes its name.

Let’s play favorites:
Cocktail—Bellini
Flower—Peony
Champagne—Rosè
Linens—India Hicks for HSN linen sheet collection
Party dress designer—Ralph Lauren
Party shoe for all-night dancing—Haviana flip flops
Hostess gift—Baby pineapple plant, very ornate and can one day be eaten.

You were one of Princess Diana’s flower girls at her wedding to Prince Charles. What do you remember most from that day?
How crumpled her dress was when she came out of that carriage

India Hicks

Twelve-year-old India, second from the left, at the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana 

What do you remember most about Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton?
Watching the Buckingham Palace balcony being vacuumed as armed SAS [Special Air Service] officers patrolled the roof top

Party you wish you could go back in time to attend?
Studio 54 in its heyday

Most fascinating person you met at a party?
Does Robert De Niro for coffee one morning count?

India Hicks

India in her office

Who is your dream dinner partner?
Nick Cave, songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and lead singer of the Bad Seeds. He’s a real entertainer and was bloody brilliant at charades after dinner one evening.

What is the party invitation you’d most like to receive?
Dinner with Hilary Clinton in the White House when she is president.

How have your travels influenced your entertaining style?
Once on safari in Africa, we were celebrating one of David’s birthdays. He was served a large cake, shaped in an unusual mound, with a candle on top. The staff clapped and sang and chanted, “Cut it, cut it, cut it, cut it.” David sliced open the cake to find that it was made from fresh elephant poop. We may not bake poop cakes, but we are influenced by the drama of outdoor entertaining, the fun of a relaxed atmosphere and the charm of local customs.

thanksgiving

India’s Thanksgiving dinner table 

What is the most interesting entertaining custom you encountered on your travels?
Not being allowed to show the backs of our knees, as women, in Malawi. Apparently it arouses the men too much. But having to eat alligator in Cuba so as not to offend my host was trickier.

If you could host a party anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Rajasthan, India, the land of kings. All that color. All those exotics flavors. Dramatic tents and a few elephants.

India Hicks

India prepares for a dinner party on the beach

Next party you’ll host?
Who knows, but February, March, April, May and June always test my imagination. David and four out of five of our children have birthdays then. One year we had so exhausted our birthday party themes that we ended up hosting a food fight on the beach with whipped cream, damp spaghetti and jelly. It was a huge success.

Photos courtesy of India Hicks, Veranda and Habitually Chic

The Sally Award: Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner

Darlin’, this week, we just had to give our Sally Award for best party look of the week to model-of-the-moment, Kendall Jenner, who turned heads during Fashion Week in a stunning Octavio Carlin gown at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party in New York.

Kendall JennerLooking luminous in a cream-colored, floor-sweeping satin gown, Kendall showed a level of sophistication beyond her years by accessorizing her look simply with a classic chignon, matte evening make up and diamante sandals that echoed the elegant lines of the dress. Dashing, doll.

Harper's Bazaar celebrates 'Icons by Carine Rotifeld' - Arrivals

The Host of El Morocco

John Perona

John Perona

Dolls, one of the greatest party hosts of all time was a dapper fellow by the name of John Perona. For 30 years until his death in 1961, John lived at the epicenter of international café society as the owner of New York’s legendary supper club, El Morocco. Glamorous Hollywood movie stars, European royalty, South American millionaires and prominent society figures all cozied up on the club’s fabled zebra-patterned banquettes before dancing the night away to Gershwin and Cole Porter tunes beneath white palm trees.

El Morocco
On Tuesday, September 16th, auction house Doyle New York will hold a landmark sale, El Morocco: The John Perona Collection, that includes rare treasures from the nightclub that are sure to inspire modern-day salonnieres. 

Highlights of the sale include John Perona’s personal copy of the El Morocco Family Album, a 62-page folio of nearly 350 photos – many autographed – of the club’s most famous and glamorous patrons, including Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Gloria Swanson and Gary Cooper.

Lot 691 is a treasure trove of rare autographed photos

Want to add some great old Hollywood party juju to your future fêtes? Consider bringing home one of these de-lovely trinkets. Our personal favorite is a fabulous bar set by Cartier in its original fitted box.

647

Lot 647 is a collectible Cartier Sterling Silver Bar Set 

697

Lot 697 is comprised of scarves, ashtrays and other gifts that John would give his VIP patrons  

648

Lot 648 includes vintage bar accessories and a traveling cocktail set in a leather case 

El Morocco linens

Lot 698 features table linens with the El Morocco logo 

07-779

Lot 779 is a Udall & Ballou gold and diamond compact  c. 1938

El Morocco menu

Lot 699 includes menus and other printed memorabilia from the New York supper club

 

Lot 612 comprises a set of Royal Copenhagen fish plates

686

Lot 686 includes a red evening gown that would be perfect for holiday entertaining

Also in the sale are more than 1,000 rare photographs from the 1930s through the 1950s, showing the biggest Hollywood stars of the day enjoying their nights hobnobbing at Elmo’s, as it was affectionately called.

For more information about El Morocco: The John Perona Collection, or to bid in person or by absentee ballot, visit the auction site or call 212-427-2730.

We feel a ’40s holiday party coming on, sugar.

10 Best New Entertaining Books

Hedy Lamarr and Robert Cummings

What do you feel like doing tonight? I don’t know, Ange. What do you feel like doing?

Autumn’s shorter days and longer nights make it the perfect season for parties. According to our latest national Party Poll, 64% of guys and dolls, ages 25-54, will host a party this fall. Want to spice up your autumn soirée? There are an abundance of new entertaining books set to hit the shelves this fall. Here are the 10 best, harvested just for you, pumpkin.

Jeff Leatham: Visionary Floral Art and Design. The floral artist to the stars, Jeff’s clients range from Givenchy and the George V Hotel in Paris to Oprah and Kylie Minogue. Filled with hundreds of photos and design tips, this tome is abloom with breath-taking floral ideas.

vogue

Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People. Known as The Party of the Year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute gala – also known as the Met Gala – is hands-down the most glamorous, sophisticated and completely fabulous annual fête. It’s also the most fruitful: it has raised millions for the Met year after year. Full of inspiring photos from past galas, this is a must-have for anyone looking to throw their own party of the year.

mimi

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse. L’adore la cuisine française? Then you probably love Mimi Thorisson’s beautiful blog, Manger, as much as we do. This is Mimi’s first book and the photos and recipes will transport you to a time and place of rural, delectable bliss. Ooh, la la.

celebrity cocktails

Celebrity Cocktails. How could we not go positively gaga over cocktail recipes associated with such glammy Hollywood movie stars as Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor and Dean Martin. Grab your gimlet, doll. We feel a party coming on.

valentino

Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table. Written by the famed and fabulous Vogue fashion editor, André Leon Talley, this beautiful coffee table book is a comprehensive visual and written celebration of fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the lavish, luxe and ever-gracious host.

make it ahead

Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. If you like to host parties the way we do, you’d rather by hobnobbing with your guests than stirring your risotto. Chock full of delicious dishes you can prep, assemble and cook before your fête, this helpful book is your invitation to a completely stress-free dinner party.

bordeaux

Bordeaux: Legendary Wines. A beautiful compendium, you’ll love the list of wines from 125 châteaux, complete with a glossary, tables of harvest conditions of various years, and tasting notes for recent vintages.

life is a banquet

Life Is a Banquet: A Food Lover’s Treasury of Recipes, History, Tradition, and Feasts. Written by Swedish television personality and food historian, Edward Blom, this beautiful book is a smörgåsborg of culinary history, recipes, beautiful photographs and personal anecdotes,

party perfect bites

Party-Perfect Bites: 100 Delicious Recipes for Canapes, Finger Food and Party Snacks. In this must-have recipe book by London caterer-to-the-stars, Milli Taylor, you’ll find one hundred easy-to-make, soiree-friendly fingerfood recipes. Party perfect is right.

food and wine

Food & Wine: Best of the Best, Vol. 17: The Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year  Hosting a last-minute dinner party? Recipes from these annual volumes never fail. Each year, the editors of Food & Wine magazine put the best recipes from the best new cookbooks to the test. The top 25 make the cut.

Welcome photo: Hedy Lamarr and Robert Cummings
Welcome quote: Marty, 1955

The Sally Award: Shu Qi

Shu-Qi-Stéphane-Rolland-Couture-Bulgari-LVCEA-Launch-Event-e1409839543338This week’s Sally Award for best party look of the week goes to Taiwanese actress and model, Shu Qi, at the Bulgari LVCEA Launch Event on Wednesday in Beijing. We’ve always been a sucker for a dame in a tux and this chic ivory interpretation by Parisian couturier Stéphane Rolland – with its collarless tail coat, white pointy-collared dress shirt and maxi skirt with crystals and lace – offers a fresh and feminine spin. Qi’s low, sleek bun, red pout and on-the-ear statement jewels were the perfect finishing touches.  Congratulations, doll. You’ve got this week’s Award collared.

RSVP: Peter Som

Peter Som

Sugarplum, come on in. You’re just in time to meet our chic friend, fashion designer, Peter Som. Peter’s taking a break from preparing for his Friday morning show at Fashion Week to tell us about his other creative passion: hosting dinner parties.  As you may know, doll, our culinary couturier has an uncanny ability to find cohesion with all kinds of ingredients – his style aesthetic ranges from classic and elegant to quirky and colorful – and he’s just as masterful at mixing herbs and spices. In fact, Peter’s minestrone is the stuff of legends on the New York dinner party circuit. Hungry for the details? Well, grab your Côtes du Rhône and cozy up, mes chéris. Your party favor is Peter’s minestrone recipe.

Your entertaining style?

Casual and relaxed. It’s all about making my guests feel at ease. I love having friends over to my apartment for a casual dinner. For winter, I love duck breast with a super crispy skin with roasted Brussels sprouts. I prep as much as possible in advance so I won’t be stressed—after all, I want to enjoy the party as much as my guests! And I have an open kitchen so I can socialize while I cook.

Peter in his New York City kitchen. Photos courtesy of Elle magazine.

Last party you hosted?

A friend’s birthday party at my apartment. I served brown-rice sushi and shochu cucumber mojitos. My friend – pastry chef, Zac Young – made brownies encased in chocolate chip cookie dough. They were so good! I kept the décor simple with mint julep cups filled with red and orange roses. I’m not the best flower arranger but, trust me, mint julep cups filled with flowers are a fail-proof arrangement that anyone can do.

You just found out that you have eight people coming for dinner. What do you do?

This happens all the time! I always have a stash of homemade soups in my freezer and fresh produce in my fridge, so I’ll throw together a soup and salad for a light dinner or make a pasta—Cacio e Pepe or a quick Romesco sauce. For dessert, my go-to is always Affogato – vanilla ice cream and espresso with some slivered toasted almonds on top. You can’t go wrong.

What is your most treasured thank-you note?

One I received from Anna Wintour

som anna

Peter with Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief 

Last party you attended?

A dinner party in Southampton. We dined al fresco and the back yard was strung with lights—everyone looked gorgeous!

Party you wish you could go back in time to attend?

Paul Poiret’s 1911 Thousand and Second Night Party

Most memorable party you attended?

Natalia Vodianova’s Love Ball at Valentino’s Château de Wideville

Natalia Vodianova in a custom Valentino gown at the Love Ball

Natalia Vodianova wearing a custom Valentino gown at the Love Ball

Most fascinating person you met at a party?

Tilda Swinton

Dream dinner partner?

Oprah Winfrey

You’ve dressed everyone from Kerry Washington and Allison Williams to Camilla Belle and Jessica Biel for the red carpet. Who would you love to design a party dress for?

Lupita Nyong’o

Julie Bowen chose a floral gown from Peter’s Fall 2014 Collection for this year’s Emmys

You’re so well-known for color and floral prints. You were even invited to create a vivid, print-filled collection for Anthropologie. How do you bring that aesthetic to your party décor?

I love color and always bring color and print into my parties with flowers. Peonies are my favorite. Often one bold statement is all you need. For example, in the winter, I buy magnolia branches and put them in a large glass vase and surround them with votive candles.

Tulip Magnolias

Tulip magnolias make a stunning architectural centerpiece

Money’s no object: what would you buy at the flower market and what would you do with them?

I would create a field of Lilly of the Valley on a long, long dining table.

What inspires your creativity?

Everything! Film, art, my friends and definitely NYC.

Favorite party resources?

Party Rental Ltd, the flower market in NYC and John Derian

Peter Som Cookbooks

Some of Peter’s favorite cookbooks 

Your three party pet-peeves?

Bad lighting, paper plates and dinners that start hours later than planned

Your three party must-haves?

Cloth napkins, fresh flowers and champagne

Next party you’ll host?

A fall dinner at my place where I’ll make my signature minestrone soup and serve it with homemade crusty warm bread

My Minestrone by Peter Som

Minestrone

INGREDIENTS

1⁄2 pound pancetta, cubed
extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large yellow onion, large dice
3-4 celery stalks, medium dice
3 carrots, large dice
2 tablespoon rosemary, minced
kosher salt
black pepper
1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 cups diced zucchini
2 cups yellow/summer squash
1 large russet potato, diced
8 cups homemade chicken stock (It makes a difference, but store-bought is fine too.)
1⁄2 to 1⁄2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 rinds Parmesano-Reggiano
1 bunch kale, chopped
Flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Sauté the pancetta with olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until slightly brown around the edges then add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add onion, celery, carrot, rosemary, some salt and pepper and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add beans, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash and potato. Add salt and pepper. Add chicken stock, chili pepper flakes, the bay leaf and Parmesan rinds. Simmer about 15 or until all vegetables are tender. Skim foam off the top. Ideally here is where you fish out the bay leaf (or just warn your guests not to eat it if they find it). Add the kale and continue to simmer until it’s wilted – approximately 2-3 minutes. Toss in the parsley. Serve with a hunk of Parmesano-Reggiano to be grated at the table using a microplane. If you want to add chicken, drizzle some chicken breast with salt, pepper and olive oil, roast it on a sheet pan at 450 for 20 minutes or until done. Cube and add some to each bowl. If you want to fancy up the soup, omit the kale and add 2 cups of sautéed wild mushrooms (such as cremini) as well as 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 a cup of heavy cream at the very end.

Thanks, Peter. That sounds as scrumptious as your fashion confections. We feel a fall dinner party coming on, doll.

Tête-à-Tête: Teri Agins

Robin Givhan, Teri Agins and Anna Wintour

Teri Agins (center) with Robin Givhan (left), fashion critic at The Washington Post, and Anna Wintour (right), editor-in-chief of Vogue

Hey doll, I’m so glad you stopped by. Fashion Week in New York kicks off on Thursday and we’ve got Teri Agins, one of the fashion industry’s most knowledgeable writers and revered insiders, here dishing about everything from the salliest gals on the party circuit to the 10 best ways to look fête-fabulous. The popular “Ask Teri” fashion columnist at the Wall Street Journal, our au courant pal has just published her second book, Hijacking the Runway, a fun and breezy read about the intersection between celebrity, fashion and commerce. Full of insidery details, fun historical facts and giggly gossip, this book is sure to be a hot topic at cocktail parties this fall. We should know, darlin’, because we got a sneak peek at the galleys this summer and read the baby in one rosé-filled sitting. Grab your gimlet, doll, and join our tête-à-tête.

We’re heading into the fall party season. What do you see as the major trends?

Fit and flare silhouettes that offer a fresh take on the sheath and pencil skirt; dark floral and bold abstract prints that deliver visual texture; booties with high heels; and sweater dresses. I just bought an ankle-length, black turtleneck sweater dress by Rick Owens that will be my go-to party dress this winter. It’s slinky and sophisticated.

Dark florals for fall

Bold floral patterns against black are a key fashion trend for fall

Anna Wintour stipulated “white tie and decorations” for the men at this year’s Costume Institute Ball. Do you think we’ll see a return to traditional formal attire this fall?

People dressed very formally at this year’s Met Gala to support the theme, which always dictates the dress, but I don’t see it starting any trends. People have loosened up a lot over the years where formal attire is concerned. I went to my first Costume Institute Ball in 1990. That was the era with Pat Buckley and Nan Kempner and it was all pretty formal and stuffy and dressed up. As Anna and Vogue became involved, and more Hollywood people infiltrated the party, the tenor changed. Women didn’t just wear long gowns. Some wore tea length dresses and the models wore really short, kicky dresses. Today, people want to look chic and dressed up, but no one wants to look super formal.

What do you think of the more relaxed take on formal party attire?

I love it. It’s relaxed-dressy and people look better. When women have their hair very done and sprayed and they’re dripping in jewelry, they can look very uptight, like they’re going to a prom in the ‘70s.Today, most women wear their hair to events in much the same way they wear it to work and just add a bit more makeup and some sparkly evening accessories. They look more like themselves.

Emma Stone

Emma Stone sported a more casual and textured coif last week at the Venice Film Festival 

What caused the trend away from very formal party attire?

In 1992, Alcoa, the aluminum manufacturing company, instituted a casual wear policy for two weeks to raise money for the United Way. They had 87% participation during the drive and broke all fundraising records. Alcoa never returned to formal office wear after that. That was the seminal event that changed the way we dress. Three years later, IBM moved to casual everyday dress at the office. After that, there was no going back to very formal dress codes. Women still wear gowns and cocktail dresses to parties but, for men, the cummerbund as a requisite part of a tuxedo has virtually disappeared. You might still see a very formal look in Europe at a big black-tie gala, but there aren’t many of those in the U.S. anymore.

Who are your favorite party dress designers?

I love Carmen Marc Valvo. His cocktail dresses and gowns are flattering on everybody. He knows how to design for women, particularly American women. He understands that we workout so our arms are bigger and many women have breast augmentation so they need room for alterations on top. He also cuts his sleeveless dresses to cover that awkward bit of skin where your shoulder meets your armpit. I also love Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Tadashi Shoji, and I get a good fit with Cavalli.

Carmen Marco Valvo

Teri, Katie Couric and Vanessa Williams are just a few of the fashionistas who love Carmen Marc Valvo’s little black dresses. These are from the designer’s Fall 2014 Collection.  

Who are your favorite party shoe designers?

Manolo Blahniks are the best—I’ve loved them for 25 years, because you can stand or dance in them for more than a couple of hours. Vince Camuto shoes are also comfortable party shoes. I also have a pair of black patent-leather Gucci stilettos that I love. They have a four-inch bamboo heel, but they’re remarkably comfortable, a really good fit.

Who always looks great at parties?

I love checking out Sarah Jessica Parker. She is an adventurous dresser and always looks fun and festive. Cate Blanchett and Shala Monroque, who wears a lot of Prada, are also risk-takers with great personal style. Tory Burch dresses pretty and classic with big, interesting earrings to punctuate her look. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, always looks divine and sophisticated. Helen Mirren never fails. She has a beautiful figure, shows just the right amount of skin and looks chicer than just about everyone else at a party. Others I love seeing are Christine Baranski, Genevieve Jones and Lynn Wyatt, who has a dynamite figure and perfect posture. And let’s not forget Kate Middleton—she hits a home run in every ball gown.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker was one of our best-dressed picks at this year’s Costume Institute Gala

Teri, you’ve been to more than a thousand parties and hobnobbed with the most fashionable people in the world. Give us your top 10 tips for looking fête-chic.

1. Stick with what looks good on you. Know what trends you should sit out. Don’t let yourself be a fashion victim.

2. Alter everything. It’s the reason Fred Astaire always looked so good. I always say, go to the gym and spend your money on alterations.

3. Wear bold colors. Look at the invitation and wear one of the colors you see. Most people play it safe, but it’s boring when everyone is in a little black dress.

4. For a quick change from a day to evening look, put on a darker lipstick and a pair of evening earrings because those are what will get noticed across a table. Adding a pair of heels and a small evening clutch bag are imperative.

Dark lips for fall

Deep plum lipsticks like those from Audacious by Nars (shown above) are de rigueur for fall.

5. Wear shoes that match your skin tone to make you look taller.

6. Avoid bulk by cutting out the lining from your pockets and stitching them down.

7. Take selfies when you shop to see how your dress photographs. I never buy anything that doesn’t photograph well.

8. If you’re going to a party in another city, Google party photos from that city to find out what people wear. For example, in Washington, DC, black-tie always means a full tuxedo for a man.

9. Avoid the Christmas tree look. Some women feel that they’re not dressed up if they’re not super embellished, with earrings bracelets and necklaces. but dressing up does not mean piling on the bling.

10. Avoid strapless dresses. You’ll never find the right bra and you’ll spend the entire night pulling and tugging on your dress.

Teri Agins with Tom Ford

Teri with designer Tom Ford

Not ready for the party to end? Join us for more party patter on any of our social butterfly channels: FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.  

The Sally Award: Lizzy Caplan

Lizzy CaplanHey, doll. Come on in. We’re handing out this week’s Sally Award for the best party look of the week. Our winner? Masters of Sex star Lizzy Caplan who proved on Monday night that she’s also a mistress of fabulous style. While there were plenty of very sally ladies walking the red carpet on television’s biggest fashion night of the year, it was Lizzy in a Donna Karan Atelier gown who took the prize.

Black and white, modern and classic, provocative and ladylike, soft and structured, and sleek and flowing, this beautiful gown was full of perfectly harmonious contradictions. Styled by the enormously talented Ilaria Urbinati who also dresses Shailene Woodley, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds and Nina Dobrev. Lizzy’s winning look included Neil Lane jewels, Brian Atwood shoes, and a Judith Lieber clutch. Her sleek, low bun and simple, classic make up allowed the statement dress to shine.

Photos: Ilaria Urbinati/Elle

Très chichi, Lizzy. Inspired by Lizzy’s winning look? Try these five party dresses on for size. We feel a black-tie party coming on.

J. Mendel Black and White Silk Gown at Bergdorf Goodman

Carmen Marc Valvo

Carmen Marc Valvo Sequined Waist Cut-Out Gown at Neiman Marcus

Cushnie et Ochs Cut-Out Gown with Pearls at Moda Operandi

Valentino

Valentino Black and White Gown at StyleBop 

 

Cushnie et Ochs

Cushnie et Ochs Gown with Cut-Out Waist at Bergdorf Goodman

Party Hopping: 2014 Emmy Awards

Jon Hamm and January Jones

Jon Hamm and January Jones at the post-Emmy party, The Governors Ball

The soirées: The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theater, followed by the Governors Ball at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the AMC and IFC Emmy After Party at Boa Steakhouse.

Swellest moments: Walking the red carpet, bien sûr; the palpable sense of joy and excitement that came from gathering together so many who share a passion for television; Billy Crystal’s personal and heartfelt tribute to Robin Williams – you could hear a pin drop; the assortment of L’Oreal make up and hair products in the ladies rooms for the taking; and Cheryl Cecchetto’s production of The Governors Ball, which featured gorgeous tables with linens that matched the flowers, a delicious menu catered by Patina Catering, and entertainment by The Voice‘s Judith Hill.

Governors Ball

Governors Ball

 “Kaleidoscope of Color” was the theme for the Governors Ball

What you didn’t see on the Emmy broadcast: The funny and touching video vignettes from past Emmy broadcasts that were shown during commercial breaks; the genuine sense of collegiality among the comics Seth Myers, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel; and the seat-filler “machine” – formally-attired men and women came out en masse during the commercial breaks to sit in the 40 to 50 seats that were left empty by those going to the restroom or leaving altogether because their category had already been announced.

Din-din: The first course was a delicious grilled peach and heirloom tomato salad with figs, burrata, peppermint, basil and Marcona almonds served with a 2013 Beaulieu Vineyard Maestro Collection Sauvignon Blanc. The main course was a perfectly prepared filet of beef with artisan grapes, squash and crispy kale served with a 2011 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Dessert was a chic and delicious take on s’mores featuring a whipped ganache, torched marshmallow fluff, graham crumble and chocolate-covered pop rocks served with a 2012 Beaulieu Vineyard Maestro Collection Napa Valley Port.

Dessert at the Governors Ball

S’mores like you’ve never had them at The Governors Ball

Looking super sally: Jon Hamm, January Jones, Lena Headey, Lizzie Caplan, Matt Bomer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Juliana Margulies, Claire Danes, Idris Elba, Halle Berry, Sarah Silverman, Sarah Hyland, Octavia Spencer, Seth Myers and Bryan Cranston.

Aaron Paul and Lauren Parsekian

Aaron Paul and Lauren Parsekian at The Governors Ball

anna gunn

Anna Gunn at The Governors Ball

calire daines

Claire Danes in the color of the night at The Governors Ball

Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks on her way into the AMC and IFC After Party

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