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Ulla Johnson's Dinner Party Secrets: Gowns and Reggae

Ulla Johnson's Dinner Party Secrets: Gowns and Reggae Image
  • Posted on 17th Aug, 2022 17:47 PM
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Including the perfect outfit and pre-dinner activities.

Radiant in a satin golden yellow gown pulled straight from her Fall 2022 runway, beside a garden pond blanketed with water lilies, was Ulla Johnson.

Over the weekend, the designer toasted the end of a lovely summer with an intimate dinner party with fashion industry friends at the endlessly romantic LongHouse Reserve—East Hampton's best kept secret.

David Benthal/BFA.com

A long table stood under a white tent inside the expansive property, which was once the residence of art collector and textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, but is now home to a series of massive sculptures by the artist's good friends—Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono, Willem de Kooning. The enchanting tablescape was every bit Johnson: a boho, floral-printed tablecloth crafted from fabric from the designer's latest collection, round woven raffia placemats, personalized seating cards hand-painted with watercolors, tea candles, Perrier-Jouët, and cascades of fresh white roses and pink azaleas.

David Benthal/BFA.com

Hosted in collaboration with New York City's iconic Bergdorf Goodman, the fete was as one may expect: beautiful people in beautiful clothes, eating delicious food in a fantastical setting.

Putting on such spectacular displays comes easily to Johnson, who spoke to Harper's BAZAAR about her love of gathering, and why she is her posh friend group's resident hostess.

David Benthal/BFA.com

You divide your time between your New York City brownstone and your Montauk home. Do you host many dinners at both?

    We love to, and often feeding at least 13. My husband Zach is an avid cook. When the house is full with friends and family, it means we’re having fun—and that’s what the house is for. In Montauk, dinner parties often start with drinks on the roof deck, stargazing with telescopes.

    What music do you play at these parties?

    Reggae!

    We know you love designing floral arrangements and are constantly inspired by nature—do you find that your life in New York City is a contrast to that aesthetic, or do you also find beauty in the grittiness and eccentricity of the city?

      I’m a native New Yorker; I love and am forever inspired by my city. It’s where I choose to live, work and raise my children. My family and I live in Brooklyn and are regulars at the Botanical Gardens there. At home [in our backyard] we have created a garden for all seasons—an oasis for birds and bees amidst our bustling city. We planted our plot heavily knowing that I would want to cut from the blooms in spring and summer. Watching the flowers shift from tulips and daffodils to peonies and lilacs to irises and lilies is a true delight. The height of summer brings to life the climbing roses and unfurled greenery at its most decadent. Leaving the garden is the one drawback to our summers abroad and in Montauk. I have three kids, so I spend a lot of time outdoors.

      David Benthal/BFA.com

      How has your way of dressing changed since you became a mother?

        Less heels, more flats! A sense of ease in all I wear is important.

        As a hostess, what are your tricks for curating an interesting and fantastical experience for your guests?

          Great conversation and flowing drinks in beautiful glassware. I grew up visiting Bergdorf Goodman—the seventh floor my preferred place to source beautiful table top. Kentshire is also up there and is my absolute favorite place to source antique jewelry.

          What is the perfect look to wear to a summer or autumn dinner party?

          A conversation-starting dress paired with something beautiful from Kentshire.

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