Monday, February 16, 2015

Super Chic Design Ball in Paris: A Night of Surreal Style

Last month, Paris-based superstar interior designer/architect Jean-Louis Deniot celebrated fifteen years in business—and the launch of super-successful ‘Jean-Louis Deniot Interiors’ (Rizzoli).

He dreamed up a witty, modern, slightly subversive and totally delirious ball, complete with Margot and Mia, Los Angeles-based The Dolls who are prodigiously talented DJs and magicians with the electronic violin. The dishy duo, best friends of Katy Perry, whipped guests on the dance floor into a frenzy of moves. It was a dreamy fog of ancient chandeliers, boiseries, parquet de Versailles, marble statuary, sweeping staircases, mirrored walls, and images of the cosmos projected through fog onto ceilings and walls.

The ‘Black Tie and Leather’ ball was held in late January, with snow falling, at the historic eighteenth-century mansion, Hôtel Salamon de Rothschild, complete with a haunting garden, vast misty rooms, DJs to die for, designer friends from around the world.

The Designer, The Host

Interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot, wearing a black leather headpiece designed by Erik Halley, planned the party. It was in honor of our new book, ‘Jean-Louis Deniot Interiors’…and as well to officially to mark his fifteenth years in business. It was also planned to coincide with Paris Haute Couture, as well as Maison & Objet and DecoOff, the leading fashion and interior design events of the season.

The Ball

It was an hallucinatory and romantic clash of eighteenth-century grandeur and naughty modernity. ‘Black tie and Leather’ the invitation read, and three-hundred-and-fifty guests arrived in costume, including elaborate headpieces, masks, black leather equine heads, dashing leather gowns and jackets too glamorous to mention, and everyone ready to dance. Ruinart Champagne was poured, and DJs The Dolls had dancers in an out-of-time buzz. Worlds collided and dissolved.

Xavier Béjot, the photographer for the book, attended, with his wife, Morgan, and divine friends arrived from Los Angeles, Moscow, Chicago, Miami, Chennai, San Francisco, London, New York, Rome, Milan, Antwerp, along with many of the top interior designers and fashion designers of Paris, and style-setters and trend-leaders and architects from around the world.

Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest Russia, Evgenia Mikulina, who recently engaged Jean-Louis as the guest editor of the December 2014 AD Russia, flew in from Moscow with her staff. She said, "Jean-Louis Deniot is the most influential and admired designer in the world today' and gave him carte blanche for her editorial. The AD Deniot features: 100 pages. Wow.

Thanks, Damion Matthews

The great San Francisco editor and Realtor Damion Matthews was the first to report and publish a vivid report on the ball—when he started receiving on-the-scene Instagram images from friends like Mia Moretti and other guests at the ball.

Here’s part of Damion’s very insider report, from his hotly followed website, SFLUXE,

“The atmosphere was imbued with a sense of mystery and dark glamour, the dance floor thick with a fog reminiscent of the opening sequence to Catherine Deneuve’s “The Hunger,” or of a Deborah Turbeville fashion shoot. Attended by leading figures in fashion and interior design, the look of the evening was sophisticated, seductive. Guests wore sexy masks, black leather haute couture, and a naughty attitude.

San Francisco’s Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy paired their tuxedos with gorgeous leather horse masks designed by Bob Basset for Givenchy (found at Sui Generis), while several others wore exquisite pieces designed by Erik Halley. Artist and jewelry designer Herve van der Straeten made a stunning impression with his mask of golden spikes also by Erik Halley. Those with faces uncovered were menswear designer Neil Barrett from Milan, and interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, as well as William Holloway, Charlotte Moss, Jamie Creel, and Yiouri and Rita Augousti, among others.”


The Guests

We celebrated with and sipped Ruinart with Paris museum curator Pamela Golbin, editor-in-chief Michael Boodro, Jean-Francois Lesage, Hervé Van der Straeten and Bruno Frisoni, Sean Yashar and Olive Furth, Erick Jansen, Holly Hunt, Jamie Creel and Marco Scarani, and Larry and Dana Creel, Thomas Vasseur, Fabrizio Rollo, Christophe Bolloré, Charlotte Moss, Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy, Marla and Fred Lappe, Princesse Diane de Beauvau-Craon and her niece, Princesse Victoria Botana de Beauvau-Craon, along with the jovial and admired vintage expert Didier Ludot and his partner, Felix Farrington.

Style was well represented by Jane Pendry, Melonie Hennessy, Doris Chevron, Martin Lawrence Bullard, Cecilie Starin with Alexis Luscatoff, Anne Crawford, William Holloway, Virginie Deniot, and fashion designer Neil Barrett with his partner Carlo Barone, and Cynthia Lund, business associate of Will Hearst and dancers with moves to die.

DJs after midnight, driving the dancers wild in the vaporous mansion, were Harold Bérard and Agnes Forcade, two of Jean-Louis Deniot’s oldest friends. Divine.

The Fabulous Erik Halley

The witty and extravagantly talented Paris-based designer Erik Halley photographed above (and yes…he is related to ‘Halley’s Comet’ astrologists)…) created the witty and frisky headpiece/mask for Jean-Louis Deniot. He also designed the gold spiky headpiece/mask for Hervé Van Der Straeten and many of the masks for chicest women guests.

Erik Halley’s artful and intricate designs have been seen everywhere from the couture runways of Chanel and Alexander McQueen, and in the spotlight at the electric stage presentations of superstars like Madonna and Beyoncé.

Jean-Louis, The Ball, The Concept

The idea was to go as far as possible from a pretentious event.

The Ball was planned to be festive and eccentric. I wanted all my guests to have pure fun. I wanted a decadent feeling with elegance and mystery.

The impression of no limits, in space, decor, Ruinart Champagne and incredible music.

Very atmospherique, poetique, surrealistique.... was my goal.

The very grand mansion, wasa perfect back drop for neon installations, the 360-degree cosmos projections, very under-lit and mysterious general lighting to make a moody and sexy interior. Architectural elements, 18th century chandeliers hanging in clouds of smoke and dynamique green lasers all created a dance-club mood.

The Author and Friends

Diane with Hervé Van Der Straeten (in a headpiece by Paris designer Erik Halley). Hervé is the fantastically talented Paris designer who created custom furniture, lighting and mirrors for interiors by Jean-Louis Deniot. He's in the book. And my new best friend, Fabrizio Rollo. Readers who follow THE SARTORIALIST (Scott Schuman) will know Fabrizio from many street fashion shots in Milan at the Pitti Uomo season. Fabrizio is a style editor with Vogue Brazil and a superbly talented interior designer.

I met the lively and lovely Doris Chevron, who is an editor-at-large for Architectural Digest. She loved my ostrich and peacock feather (and diamante) headpiece custom made for me with a black leather headband by the marvelously talented Denise Fiedler and our friend Petrushka, in San Francisco.

My evening jacket is by fashion designer, Jane Pendry. Jane, based in Paris, has a private clientele for her fashion collection, Dovima Paris, that’s made in Paris with Italian/Como fabrics. Luxe, indeed. (

Oh, and the crop. A dashing gift, and a lot of fun. It arrived, elegantly wrapped, with a card, ‘Give in to your Desires’.

L'Equipe Jean-Louis Deniot, Paris

The Jean-Louis Deniot team from the rue de Verneuil headquarters was out in force. They’re a very worldly and attractive group of designers, architects, antiquaires, and talents. Many of them have worked with Jean-Louis since he first opened his company on the Left Bank, fifteen years ago.

Among the group portraits: Jean-Louis Deniot + William Holloway , Virginie Deniot , Susannah Maund Patricia De Oliveira, Alexis Lamesta, Charles Albessard, Jean-Charles Saudemont, Leo Mogas, Simon Pesin, Guillaume Le Gall, Audrey Bertounesque, Valerie Cortenraede, Julia Dromer, Beatrice Serre, Celine Hug, Romain Hug, Aurélie Leblanc Kim Caliot, Alix-Marie Roblot, Carole Rink, François Warnot, Jane Alexander.

Cynthia Lund, left, business associate of William Randolph Hearst, at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, in Silicon Valley. Right is Jane Alexander, an associate at Jean-Louis Deniot studio and the director of OnSite Antiques, Paris (and a wonderful cook).

Delirious Evening

Guests danced into the night. Sighted.

About Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild

It’s in the residential eight arrondissement and a few minutes walk from the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Haussman.

Oh…and it is not a hotel. It’s a listed private residence with sphinx statuary in the garden and mythical creatures in stone guarding the front entrance.

The Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild is a listed historical monument.

The architecture, pure neoclassicism with a dash of baroque and rococo thrown in, expresses the pure architectural tastes of the end of the 18th centuries. Interiors are a cavalcade of marbled fireplaces, virtuoso stairways, painted ceilings of delight, and vistas to the gardens. Standing in the grounds that were formerly occupied by the sumptuous Folie Beaujon estate under Louis XVI, the Hôtel has a majestic quality and gracious exterior. Recently discreetly renovated, the interior spaces offers an atmosphere on which Jean-Louis Deniot projected his dream party, with cosmos projections on ceilings, fog machines drifting a vaporous mood, and misty lighting for the dancers. Oh, and the witty clash of fluorescent light thrown hither-thither among the boiseries.

And yes, there were delectable bites and nibbles, all dreamed up by super-chef Yannick Alléno, multi-starred, who directs the catering. Think delicate and exquisite hors d’oeuvres of mythical delicacy…tiny leeks in gelée with caviar, morsels of rabbit (not for me, I’m a vegetarian), and baby carrots, and later little mignardises of chocolate and cream and pretty little glazed fruits. Too divine.

San Francisco interior designer, Jay Jeffers, and his partner, Michael Purdy, the founder of Cavalier, a design store in San Francisco. Their leather headpieces were among stars of the evening.

Also dancing to The Dolls, romancing among the boiseries, and swooning on the double marble staircase were Joe Ujobai and Eduardo Ardiles, Alexandre Biaggi, Chris Burch, Princesse Suki de Somalie, Suzanne Kasler, Andy Schanbacher and Tom O’Connor, Thomas Vasseur, Jane Pendry and Olivier Germain, Anne Sokolsky, Aude de la Conte, Jaime Jimenez (Baccarat), the great Timothy Corrigan, Suzanne Slesin, Kelli and Laurent Champeau, Mallery Roberts Morgan, Manuela Zervudachi, and Kifu Augousti and others too divine and fabulous to mention.

And so we danced on into the night, with moments of escape to the dark and romantic columned terrace overlooking the garden, to smoke or chat and reminisce and romance.

Later, perhaps at 4am, it started to snow.

And we drifted away, eventually, in a dreamy haze and a flurry of snowflakes.

Uber arrived to take us home to rue de Lille and Ile Saint-Louis and Chantilly and Pigalle and Nouvelle-Athenes and Avenue Matignon, and the Palais-Royale. On Sunday we gathered in Chantilly to reminisce, walk in the garden, chat beside the fire, play, enjoy marvelous country cuisine, dream, laugh and happily recall every moment.

A ball to remember.


Beauty Follower said...

Great party!

Karena said...

Diane what a fabulous and most unique event!! You look absolutely stunning!

The Arts by Karena

Terri Tiffany said...

Diane, you look fabulous! What an amazing launch event! Congratulations! xx
Terri Tiffany Communications

La Contessa said...

WOW...........LOVED The tour and run down of peeps!Congratulations on another MUST HAVE BOOK!!!

peggybraswell said...

what a grand event + thanks for giving me a peek + I don't think I would have gotten a peek without you!

Unknown said...

Hi Diane;

A most amazing book event!

You & Jean-Louis were the ring leaders & "whip masters" of the chicest ball that I have ever attended.

Ever since attending your design lectures @ CCA as a student, you have become the center of my design wheel with spokes reaching world wide resources that better inform me as a interior design industry representative.

Thank you!
-Andy Schanbacher

Unknown said...

Dear Diane;

You and Jean-Louis know how to master the art of an exciting Paris book launch.

I have been an fan and follower of yours since your design lectures series at CA College of Art (CCA).

Thank you for being at the forefront and center of my source for interior design knowledge all these years!

Andy Schanbacher

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

I'm so glad you were captured and enraptured by this ball and the photos and report.

It was wonderfully fresh and modern and vibrant and fun…and a superb group of talented people, many of whom had flown long distances.

It was fun to have my great friends from California--and to see dear friends from all over the world, including India and even…Colombia.

This has gone viral…which is lovely…and it is wonderfully popular on FACEBOOK…and burning up my email inbox…love it.

So…I arrived at the party before 9pm and departed just before 4pm…where did the time go…the ball was like disappearing into the cosmos…flying into the cosmos …with great music and friends close by…a great evening, moment, occasion to celebrate.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...




I'm so happy you are a wonderful part of the design community in California--and I'm so happy you were at the ball.

Yes…the lectures at CCA and now UCB and book signings…you have attended them all. I'm so happy you were in Paris--DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...




I'm so happy you are a wonderful part of the design community in California--and I'm so happy you were at the ball.

Yes…the lectures at CCA and now UCB and book signings…you have attended them all. I'm so happy you were in Paris--DIANE

sheilaa131 said...

Wow what a party. Too bad I couldn't be there but your photos and report were wonderful. Always enjoy reading about your amazing, interesting life. You always have enlightening information about the world.

Anonymous said...


That party outdid the De Bestegui Ball in Venice; AND Truman Capote's Black and White Ball in NYC!!!

Holy cow; over the top!


(you never would let me take your picture!!!)


So much FUN!!!!!!!!!!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


It was a smashing night--and as I glance once more over the photos to remind myself of who was there…I see so many highly talented people, people whose names appear regularly in all the top design magazines…for their craft, their design, their art, their style, their creativity.
Plus…Margo and Mia, The Dolls, are so chic and witty and set an amped-up mood. Eric Halley (of the Halley's comet family no less) made the most heavenly head dresses. Denise Fieldler and Petrushka in San Francisco made mine (light, of ostrich and peacock feathers to fit into my luggage without breaking…)…
Everyone is still taking about it. So happy to hear from you and your enthusiasm and style and taste and sense of fun. fondest DIANE

Parisbreakfasts said...

You look FABULOUS Dianne !!!