LOS ANGELES If you were to walk—waltz is probably more like it—onto a hotel set from what they call the Golden Age of Hollywood, you might very well have been following in the aesthetic footsteps of the late Dorothy Draper, one of the most elegant hospitality designers of the midcentury. The 58th annual Primetime Emmy awards Governors Ball, under the direction of ball committee chair Jeannie Gunn, tipped its hat to Draper this year by transforming the Shrine Auditorium into a dreamscape worthy of a Fred Astaire romance.
Fittingly, the theme for the Academy of Television Arts & Science’s biggest bash of the year was “moonlight and romance.” Set decorator Dwight Jackson (whose credits include the 2002 TV series Cedric the Entertainer Presents) created a lush garden setting for the 2,800 guests ready to sip and sup after the three-hour ceremony.
The color scheme was Deco-friendly pink and black, with tables draped in pink silk dupioni linens designed by Daryl Latter topped with Mark’s Garden arrangements of pink roses and hydrangeas, which called for 30,000 roses to be imported from South America. Crystal chandeliers dangled from four 20-foot-tall oak trees with 10,000 silk pin oak sprays constructed by Keith Greco Design and arranged among the tables beneath a cobalt ceiling dotted with stars.
Guests toasted each other with Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut L-P, Grey Goose vodka, Georges de Latour private reserve Cabernet from Beaulieau Vineyard, Pom tea, and Voss water. They feasted on Patina Group chef Joachim Splichlal’s stuffed avocado with shrimp and crab, followed by filet of beef with mushroom tart and Dove chocolate mousse.
At the center of the ballroom stood a revolving stage encased in faux flagstone and adorned with four faux concrete fountains, also created by Greco, who was back for the second year. Guests danced cheek-to-cheek on the adjacent dance floor, which evoked Draper’s trademark black-and-white check pattern, while the Ray Anthony Orchestra played big band tunes. At 10 PM there was a surprise performance: Seal crooned “Mona Lisa.” A half-hour later, guests began trickling out to make the rounds at other post-Emmy parties around town.
“It was so romantic,” said nine-time Governors Ball event producer Cheryl Cecchetto, president of Sequoia Productions, who oversaw an army of 1,200 on-site staffers. “I thought someone should get married tonight.”
Photos: Nadine Froger Photography