How do you make an already luxurious venue like the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara even more fabulous? Give it the “Valentino” touch. This is what we did for a charity event featuring a fashion show of the latest collection by fashion icon, Valentino. But of course there was a twist (there always is).

In addition to wanting the event to be branded as Valentino with everything that means, the charity also wanted to uphold its reputation for elegant events but without any over-the-top elements for which the fashion world is known. And all of this had to be done with an eye not only to what the guests would perceive but also to a real budget.

The goals were met financially and with a visual effect in keeping with the charities’ reputation. Our answer was to create a beautiful ballroom using minimal elements of the highest quality and in truth, isn’t that the definition of high style?

To “dress” the room with one cohesive style, we began by draping the walls with penne velvet fabric in a neutral tone of ivory. Next, we began work on the focal centerpiece of the room – a 20-foot-high-by-25-foot-wide stage from which the models would enter the room and the runway. The backdrop was constructed of padded white suede panels and then framed with faux antique mirror that we had actually created in our own warehouse. The look was simple, elegant and pure Valentino.

From the stage we built a runway that ran the entire length of the ballroom in an infinity (or “8”) shape. The highest donor tables were located inside the infinity circles and just outside the center platform that ramped up to 18 inches at the center. This gave everyone a terrific seat for the show and left no one feeling less important than anyone else.

Now, more about that faux antique mirror. We created this look not only for the stage but for the tables. It worked for several reasons. One – this is made from Plexiglas and created using elbow grease, acid, and faux painting techniques. The Plexi, unlike real mirrors, doesn’t create a sound when a fork, spoon or plate is placed on it. This made the room truly “quietly elegant!”

The tables were then dressed with a simple, white lamour linen and we used three styles of chair. Each centerpiece was created starting with a mirrored rectangular container and filled with crystallized rock that caught the light throughout the evening. A brace of calla lilies down the middle of the centerpiece were hit with pinspots so they popped out as bright white in a room that was washed in the elegance of ivory.

The look was the perfect backdrop for the main event – the fashion show. We achieved our goal of creating a neutral palette on which to show the bright colors of the designer’s spring collection.

Bacara Resort

Santa Barbara, CA