How to Party Like it’s 1969
Top L.A. designer Judith Crane shares simple secrets for throwing your own mad, mod '60's party.
Each year, about three-dozen lucky guests receive coveted invitations to Judith Crane’s annual themed dinner party. Judith, one of L.A.’s top interior designers, goes all out on Christmas Eve, with décor, dress and menu that make you feel as if you’re in another place or time.
In the past she’s had themes like mustaches, Mad Hatters and more, but this year promises to be the swingingest feat of all. It’s 'Mad Style,' “inspired by the 1960’s--more Madison Avenue than Haight Ashbury,” says Judith.
While Judith’s party is taking place on December 24th and has Christmas accouterments, many of the ideas can be adapted for your own New Year’s Eve festivities, or used throughout the year.
Here are some of her ideas:
For the menu, serve popular dishes of the day, like deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, a “relish tray,” Egglant parmesan, prime rib, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, etc. Find classic recipes in your mother’s, or grandmother’s, old cookbooks or score one in a used bookstore.
For your party dress, shop at thrift stores or shop at major department store for a new dress that has the silhouette of the 1960’s. Girls throw on some pearls, guys grab a fedora and a skinny tie, and VOILA! Find that specific 1960’a silhouette here.
Decorate with vintage ad posters featuring the casual sexism and tobacco driven zeitgeist of the decade, like the one above, which Judith reprinted and custom decorated. Ads can be found on Pinterest or clipped from magazines you come across at garage sales or thrift stores. Find a number of vintage ads, many from the 1960’s, here. For party presentation, Judith printed the ads on her home printer, used spray mount to adhere them to black illustration board, then glued broken mirror pieces around the image. She created her own easel to support the posters with the leftover pieces of illustration board. Alternatively, she suggests skipping the spray mount, sprinkling on glitter and putting the paper ad in a pretty metallic frame.
Create your own “china” from patterned wrapping paper.
First cut your paper into a circle the size of your clear plastic plate. Then insert your cut paper circle in between two clear plastic plates. Done!
Table decorations can be created with a can of gold or silver spray paint adding glam to the ordinary terra cotta pots you were ready to toss. Spray them and insert Christmas cactus or amyrillis and you’re done. You can also spray old trays you find at yard sales, then line the bottom of the tray with one of your decorative papers, load them up with pearl strands, glittery ornaments, feathers, candles and one of those gold potted plants and you have a fabulous centerpiece.
Crane suggests spraying old trays you find at yard sales, then lining the bottom of the tray with one of your decorative papers and loading them up with pearl strands, glittery ornaments, feathers, candles, pots, etc.
For a New Year’s twist, take a black cardboard top hat, cut the top of the lid off, put a dozen white roses inside in a glass cylinder, or perhaps use a potted orchid, and cover the exposed edges with silver mylar shred.
Make a paper cone wreath by folding wrapping paper or magazine pages into cones, gluing them together, and adding a bow, like in the picture below. For New Year’s, add some party cone noisemakers or create an entire wreath with them.
To find out about Judith's year-round interior designs, visit CraneAndCompany.com.
Get More Tips for Throwing a Mad, Mod PartyView All 8 Photos