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Jonathan Adler’s Guide to Hosting the Perfect Outdoor Event

Summertime entertaining just got easier

Jonathan Adler is as candid as he is colorful. The potter turned furniture designer and author describes his career as an “accidental creative odyssey.” Adler sold his first collection of pots to Barneys New York in 1994. Now, the mutli-hyphenate has over 25 stores worldwide. His line includes decorative objects, tabletop collections, bedding, rugs and pillows. Adler’s lesser-known talent, however, would be his expert party-throwing skills. Here, the self-proclaimed “best guest” shares his summertime entertaining tips

Invitations don’t have to go out months in advance
We have a range of friends—from glamorous New Yorkers to feral carnival strippers. So, it’s always a hodgepodge of random people at our house, and it’s usually last minute.

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan

Jonathan Adler and husband Simon Doonan, Photo Credit: Allan Maldonado

Pile on the table décor
Oddly, the more stuff you have on a table the more informal it feels. A minimalist table setting or scheme is not comfy. You feel like if you move one thing everything is going to be off. Whereas if there is a lot of stuff going on, you feel like you just live your life. And don’t get stingy on the flowers.

Thanksgiving dinner any time of year
We try to do a Thanksgiving dinner for every dinner party. Just because it’s everyone’s favorite meal, and you never have it. 

Inside the Adler home

Inside Adler’s home, Photo Credit: Erik Ellingson

Take your party from a 10 to an 11
The key is to always have a few eccentrics. The model is Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s—the way she always had a completely random selection of high-low and everything in between, and that’s what makes a party fun. 

Give overnight guests a five-star stay
I think the best hosts make their guests feel like they’re staying at a posh hotel. Stacks of squishy towels, a stocked fridge and access to an iconic “house car,” like a Mustang, in case they want to get out and about.

Main photograph shot by Erik Ellingson