For People magazine's elaborate after-party following the SAG awards on Sunday, event designer Stanlee Gatti had some unfortunate weather to hassle with—although he did have Time Warner’s big corporate pockets to assuage his headache. Even before the event, cohosted by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the week’s heavy rains had doused the carpet in the corridor leading to the main pavilion, requiring a replacement before the party even got started.
For this year’s collaboration with Cyd Wilson, director of creative development for In Style and People, and the event's executive producer, Eric Nicoll of Azure Pacific Event Management, Gatti also took his cue from the award show's celebratory palette of rich metallics and dressed the 80- by 140-foot tent in platinum gray. People Group editor Martha Nelson selected the shade.
“People talk about shades of gray, and there are so many shades of gray, it’s funny,” Gatti said. “For a couple of months, Martha Nelson and I went back and forth. We finally came up with the right shade. Now we’re calling it Martha’s gray.”
With Martha’s gray dominating the clear-span tent, Gatti used textures to amp up the luxury factor, with elaborate draping of the tent’s interior and the lush deep-pile carpet. Lining the perimeter were 30 five-foot-tall gilt columns topped with golden urns, each holding 2,000 white roses from Ecuador. (The design called for 150,000 roses in all.) Rose-encrusted beams formed a large rectangle just below the ceiling’s center, and beneath those were smaller, graduated sections, also covered with white roses, trailing down golden columns.
Booths, benches, and ottomans covered in gray fabric and white piping created a mammoth lounge area, although singer Michael McDonald’s set drew a dense crowd of dancing fans to his stage beneath the roses. Meanwhile, guests cruised buffets of high-style comfort food that included pad Thai, chicken pot pie, and the ever-popular mac and cheese. And their appetites were undisturbed, thanks to a smoking tent with portals lined with Gatti’s trademark gardenias.
So far, SAG has been the only surefire host of an awards spectacular this season, thanks to the actors’ union’s strong support of the striking Writers Guild. But Gatti says the spotlight doesn’t make him nervous. “I view every job as though all eyes are on it,” he said.