10 Ways to Own A Room

Some women can COMMAND THE ATTENTION of a room just by showing up. Be the life and soul – or just the soul – of any CHRISTMAS PARTY …

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1. DON’T BE FASHIONABLY LATE

“If I go to a party, I like to be there at the BEGINNING or the END. I’m bored in the middle,” proclaimed the artist Sophie Calle. Arrive first and you get the BEST CHAT– later, groups will have formed. If you do arrive late, make it a FANTASTIC ENTRANCE. The actress Tallulah Bankhead was famous for cartwheeling into parties.

2. COME IN COSTUME

Looking good is one thing, but to own the room, you need to LOOK STRIKING. A show-stopping dress or flamboyant headpiece commands attention. Or a great hat. Use an EYE-POPPING NECKLACE OR GREAT CHANDELIER EARRINGS to dazzling effect.

3. BOOK IN FOR A NEW DO

Ever witnessed the Twitter storm when Beyoncé unveils a new haircut? Don’t stop at getting a boring blow-dry. Get a chop that will make you feel like a NEW PERSON.

4580801324. BRUSH UP ON THE GOSSIP

“If I stay in for one night, I start spreading RUMOURS amongst my dogs,” quipped the salacious gossip-hound Andy Warhol. Light gossip creates EXCITEMENT, so have a few nuggets up your sleeve – and while outright cruelty is never acceptable, as Mr Wilde said, “Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you’ll never be invited to a party.”

5. CHOOSE A GOOD PLUS ONE

Staff at Berghain, the notoriously exclusive Berlin nightclub, claim that the key to a great party is diversity. That’s why Truman Capote invited his doormen as well as the president’s daughters to his legendary Black & White Ball. Bring an UNEXPECTED AND INTERESTING GUEST who will shake up cliques and spark fresh conversation.

6. BRING A SURPRISE

Even if a gift is not expected, it’s better to show up FULL-HANDED. Absinthe or poitín will create a stir, and a brilliantly bonkers trinket for your hostess will set TONGUES WAGGING and mark you out as a good sport.

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7. BE CHARMING

No, the weather is not up for discussion at a party. Raise your CONVERSATION GAME. Even if you are not naturally ebullient, gently make eye contact and always use first names, creating an INTIMACY that‘s infinitely more memorable than dreary small talk or hysterical “party honking”.

8. CONQUER NERVES

Starring opposite Humphrey Bogart, a young and nervous Lauren Bacall used to hold her chin against her chest to stop it from quivering. It would eventually become known as “The Look”, celebrated and imitated. If you’re feeling anxious, find A CLEVER WAY to hide it. Visualise yourself owning the room and own it.

9. TRANSFORM THE JOINT

The hostess wields power – not least because she picks the setting. Mrs WK Vanderbilt transformed her supper room into a tropical forest for her 1883 ball, while the Duchess of Devonshire popped live hens and chicks under (ventilated) glass cloches at a dinner party. If you’re the hostess, capitalise on your ability to create the wow factor. For live animals and elaborate blooms, substitute MULTIPLES OF CANDLES or fairy lights and give the evening a theme  or dress code. Choose “Fashion Icons” over “No Pants”, apparently and alarmingly, a current college party favourite.

10. BE ASKED BACK

Always follow up after a party. Reach out to those whose COMPANY YOU ENJOYED, and thank the host/hostess (forget texting, paper makes a bigger IMPRESSION). That way, you’ll be the first to bag an invitation next time – and you’ll already be acquainted with some of the other guests too.

Rosa Abbott

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our December issue, out Thursday December 3.

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