Q & A

Paul Wilmot

April 15, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

Paul Wilmot founded PR and event firm Paul Wilmot Communications in 1997, after stints as the top public relations executive at Calvin Klein and Conde Nast Publications. Since then, his firm has worked with a string of high-profile clients in the fashion, beauty, entertainment and lifestyle sectors, including Sean P. Diddy Combs' Sean John fashion line, Tommy Hilfiger, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

BiZBash: How have you seen events change over the past year?

Wilmot: At the end of the day, for fashion clients, parties are where it all goes on. They are very relevant. There was a period when there was a full stop and people where thinking about whether to continue, but former Mayor Giuliani said get out and spend. People want to be back in a celebratory mood. It is good for business, if you're in jewelry or luxury items, to get things into the hands of editors and the consumer--you've got to do a party. It's about connecting.

What has changed in terms of the actual event?

People don't want to stay late. There are dinners and cocktails, but not lunches. I'm seeing a lot of people drinking more heavily--not getting drunk, but I've never seen so many cosmopolitans being consumed. People want to relax at the end of the day. Also people do not want to be seated. People are not staying out until 2 AM--or if they are, it doesn't have anything to do with the event.

What are you seeing in terms of entertainment?

DJs are the entertainment of the new millennium, whether it's the Ronson kids or Junior Vasquez. I'm going to a party in Kuwait and they're flying in Claude Challe from the Buddha Bar in Paris. DJs are the new celebrities.

Are celebrities still important to events?

Celebrities make the world go round. It's usually more celebrities than models. What is not really acceptable are the “celebutantes"--the kings and queens of the tabloids. There is not a lot of validity in that. Though there are a lot of different types of celebrities, such as celebrity chefs. We really like the client to be in the foreground at these events. As Vogue editor Anna Wintour said, “It's all in the mix,” so we like to have entertainers, fashion people, artists and business people. We're also seeing a lot more L.A. ex-pats like Matthew Modine. People love New York.

What about venues? Are you seeing any change in approach?

It is all about restaurants. Whether it's restaurants that have been around awhile like Pastis or Canteen, or new ones such as Thom or Theo or Smith.

How are budgets changing, and how does that affect what people are doing in terms of other elements such as d?cor?

Many people are budget conscious. You have to give people French champagne, but maybe it isn't vintage. And always give them top shelf liquor. For d?cor, go for minimal but expensive, so choose Calla lilies or Casablanca lilies for fragrance and do one big bouquet.

Posted 04.15.02

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