CHICAGO The Oprah Winfrey Show—perhaps you've heard?—wrapped its 25-season run on May 25. The two penultimate episodes were filmed at the United Center on May 17, letting megawatt stars such as Madonna, Beyoncé, and Tom Hanks praise Oprah in front of a crowd of 30,000 fans. Then, the after-party began. “After the taping, Oprah invited 500 of her closest [friends] to attend the wrap party [for the taping],” said Colin Cowie, “which I designed and produced for her at the Four Seasons Hotel."
Cowie has collaborated with Winfrey for several years, and said that he's “always a big believer in personalizing any party I create for her.” Partnering with locally based Kehoe Designs, Cowie and his team set out to “totally reinvent” the hotel's ballroom and prefunction space.
To give the room a modern look, designers brought in serpentine walls and purple carpeting, and surrounded the existing chandeliers with purple fringe. Sleek white lounge furniture topped a series of circular platforms that were meant to evoke the letter O, and Frost's lighting pattern also contained circles. Two screens broadcast well wishes from past guests of The Oprah Show, and cocktail napkins were branded with some of Winfrey's famous sayings.
Six food stations, each with its own series of wine pairings, offered a everything from deviled eggs to buttermilk fried chicken, rib eye steak, and homemade pink and magenta marshmallows served out of apothecary jars. Mixologist Adam Seger created a specialty cocktail list, giving drinks such names such “Crazy-Ass Sangria,” “The Cocktail Purple,” and the “Oprah 25.”
“Oprah is the ultimate producer and is totally in touch with what it takes to entertain guests on this level,” Cowie said. “I can quite honestly say she is my favorite and ultimate client. We had a total of two phone calls, 10 minutes each, and I produced a party she was overjoyed with.”