SAG Awards Turn Flowers Upside Down

The industry awards after-party featured lavish white decor that avoided a minimalist look with thousands of inverted lilies.

February 23, 2006, 5:19 PM EST

At the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild awards gala, event designer Stanlee R. Gatti assembled calla lilies in upside down formations in a tent adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium.

The calla lilies were in bloom again at the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild awards gala, but Kate Hepburn would never have recognized the flowers she immortalized in Stage Door. Event designer Stanlee R. Gatti literally stood them on their heads in a lavish display that paid tribute to Hollywood's new breed, many of whom cruised the post-show party clutching their newly minted SAG statuettes.

“We hung the calla lilies upside down because we had a flip-flop in Hollywood,” said Gatti, who came down from San Francisco to work with event producer Ikus & Company on the fete. It was Gatti's third turn designing the SAG event co-hosted by People magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Thousands of flowers hung from the ceiling to form a sheet of blossoms that bisected the main tent, while others were bound in three-level sheaves or placed in square glass vases on parsons tables—50,000 calla lilies in all. Working with People's Cyd Wilson (who also works on In Style's Golden Globes bashes) Gatti cast calla lilies, all the rage during the Art Deco era, as part of his tribute to the heyday of SAG life achievement award honoree Shirley Temple Black, whose film career bloomed during the 30's.

In a nod to her black-and-white movies, Gatti used a black-and-white palette, draping 4,500 yards of white linen to build an 8,160-square-foot tent with black trim. Couches covered in a white cashmere-linen blend with black piping sat on thick stripes of black carpet, which alternated with white. Bars and buffets of salmon, pork, green salad, and vegetarian Cobb salad coordinated with the decor, with upholstered fronts that matched the seating. Columns were spotlighted and lit from within to prevent them from taking on a yellow tinge.

Images of the show flashed silently on flat screens in the adjacent smoking tent, which Gatti had freshened with sprays of gardenias circling poles that buttressed the columns. While a band played lounge music in tune with the neo-retro decor, the winning casts of Lost and Desperate Housewives traveled through the party like schools of fish. Gatti said he found the crowd inspiring.

“What I loved about the doing it for a group like this is these are creative people,” he said. “Even though their craft is different, it still comes from some sort of muse, so it was really cool to see them respond in the way that they did.”

Irene Lacher

Photos: Nadine Froger Photography

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