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HBO Gives Repeat Emmy Venue Indian Touches

The ceremony’s big winner made over the Pacific Design Center—the location of last year’s party, too—with a turquoise and silver palette.

HBO celebrated the Emmy awards at a blue, India-themed party at the Pacific Design Center.

Come Emmy time, HBO always has a lot to celebrate. And this year was no different. The cable network, which bested all contenders with 27 wins, goes all out to provide a charming backdrop for the parade of statues that invariably find their way to its door. This year saw a return to the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, which offers that rarest of Emmy party assets—room to breathe.

Indeed, event designer Billy Butchkavitz, who put together a lavish Indian-flavored bash with Eileen Rivard, HBO’s vice president of special events, laid as much as 50,000 square feet of custom carpet—featuring a loose paisley pattern and the company logo—over the fountain plaza outside the center. That called for building a wood and metal bridge over the fountain, so guests could walk on carpeted water—although they didn't know it since the carpet covered the fountain completely, causing it to vanish.

Butchkavitz started with a turquoise and silver palette to set the mood. “This was the third year in a row in the same space, and turquoise and silver were totally off the wall from what we've done before for the Emmys,” he said. “I thought the turquoise would be really striking. I go to India every year, and I thought all the silver furniture I see in Jaipur would be really cool.”

Guests arriving at one of the two entrances—one for celebrities in limos and the press line, the other for civilians—saw musicians playing sitar and drums on raised platforms draped with the yellow marigolds traditional to Indian festivities. Later, drummer Ravi Jakhotia, who has performed with Peter Gabriel, jammed behind the dance floor to DJ Qool Marv's eclectic mix.

Tables, walls, and seating were covered in a variety of paisley patterns—some true, some abstract—designed by Butchkavitz. He topped the tables with silvery Hindu temples, normally used for household altars, which he transformed into candleholders. Then he hired movie set builders Set Masters to blow up the temples into 24- and 16-foot-high gazebos next to the dance floor and inside the V.I.P. tent. The tent's center gazebo, with a facade embellished with gem-colored enamel work, housed a champagne bar. Instead of adorning the center with flowers, Butchkavitz filled a vase with a giant spray of peacock feathers. Huge urns on the buffet tables held life-size peacocks in full feathered regalia. Peacock blue also inspired the turquoise jewelry that accented the waitstaff's crisp white, hand-embroidered kurtas. Guests left with sparkly gift bags of mascara and moisturizer provided by Lancome, whose stylists touched up their makeup in a private tent.

Irene Lacher

Photos: Steven Shugerman/Getty Images

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