Colombia-born fashion designer Johanna Ortiz has an eye for sophisticated style. Her couture label boasts elegant patterns and feminine color palettes along with innovative silhouettes. With over 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, Ortiz has always prided herself, and her label, on being authentic to her heritage. While her fashions cater to vibrant women, she also believes that you can have your style translate into the holiday season, in terms of interior décor and even menu options. See below for top entertaining tips from Johanna Ortiz and see how you can make the holiday season just as festive as you are.
Let your style and personality shine
Always put your personal style front and center to give your guests a memorable, unique-to-you, entertaining experience. When it comes to décor and attire, I love juxtaposition. I regularly mix prints and table décor details that I collect from all over the world. All those pieces become topics of conversation during the celebration and expose a little of my personality. And obviously for me, part of any evening is what I’m wearing. I try to look effortless for my celebrations; if the dress is more elaborate, I prefer to be in flat sandals or even barefoot! If the look is more casual, I pair it with fancy high heels and a pair of statement earrings. This season, I am looking forward to wearing the ‘Flower Queen’ citrine kimono from the FW18 collection.
Set the tone for the evening. It’s all in the greeting
Be mindful of the three phases of any celebration: the greeting, the peak of the party and the goodbye. I set the tone from the start by greeting my guests with my go-to wine, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, offered alongside savory hors d’oeuvres. I personally love a slightly unexpected savory macaron, like the recipe shared. Giving your guests something to sip and nibble on is a considerate start to the evening.
Drink your wine and eat it too!
Once your guests are seated, it’s all about the menu. A delicious salad, featuring fresh veggies is a must, and I like finding ways to give the classic starter a twist. Recently, I discovered a new recipe using Kim Crawford Pinot Noir as a dressing (recipe below), which I love for its berry flavors and savory undertones.
Pinot Noir Salad Dressing:
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir
Preparation: In a wide saucepan or skillet, combine Kim Crawford Pinot Noir with sugar (a good ratio is 3 cups wine to 1 cup sugar), bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about a third of the volume. Let cool, bottle, and refrigerate. You can also pour it back into the Kim Crawford wine bottle it originally came in and add a pouring spout.
Create a signature cocktail for the evening
I love to serve my guests a good Paloma and during the holidays I give it a festive and fresh twist. Instead of tequila as the base spirit, I use Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, which is a beautiful compliment to the sprig of Rosemary that I add to create a bright and layered cocktail.
Bring your guests a little piece of home
Your guests should always feel special and individually considered. I personalize each seat with name cards and decorate menus with my favorite tropical elements. I also like to incorporate pieces of my heritage into the evening. At my husband’s last birthday celebration in Cartagena, we greeted guests with local straw hats to wear during the trip, along with other fun essentials. These thoughtful details make all the difference and lend personality to the festivities.
Spicy end to the night
Everyone loves to sip on hot drinks during the holidays. When I throw dinner parties in New York City during the colder months, I look to a classic hot chocolate to warm my guests up at the end of the evening. To keep things festive and special, I add a little Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, cinnamon and chili for an extra kick. I like to call it the Spicy Chocolombian.