Sharapova Hosts English Teatime for Scent Launch

The tennis star's fragrance launch was filled with plenty of personal touches.

September 7, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT

Event designer Jassi Lekach created lounges with white couches dotted with pink and brown throw pillows, and rolling cubes covered with Astroturf and topped with pink votives for the launch of Maria Sharapova's new fragrance at the Angel Orensanz Foundation.

Parlux Fragrances' Maria Sharapova fragrance launch Angel Orensanz Foundation Wednesday, 08.24.05, 7:30 PM to 12 AM
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How best to celebrate the launch of a fragrance named after a Wimbledon winner? If you’re event designer Jassi Lekach, and the tennis star is photogenic teenager Maria Sharapova, there’s just one theme: a flirty, girly English garden tea party.

With the help of floral designer Raul Avila, Lekach transformed the Angel Orensanz Foundation into a sophisticated-but-sweet indoor garden for the launch of the eponymous fragrance by Parlux Fragrances. (The same fragrance maker did a pretty pink launch last year for another slim blonde—the slightly less wholesome Paris Hilton.) Lekach, the niece of Parlux C.E.O. Ilia Lekach, mixed copious amounts of pink flowers with the green of garden hedges that dominated the room. At the entrance 250 guests walked under an arched garden passageway studded with fresh flowers. Two long hedges divided the space, with cut-out rectangles spaced throughout, so guests could see what was going on, on the other side. Giant arrangements of hot pink hydrangeas topped the two candy buffets near the entrance—offering jelly beans, rock candy, oatmeal raisin cookies with pink icing, and cotton candy. On the second-floor balcony, four oversize floral arrangements dotted long, pink taffeta-covered tables. The flowers—including pomegranate leaf and rose—were chosen because each represented a floral note in Sharapova’s fragrance.

Lekach initially envisioned having the party in an actual garden, but opted for an indoor version instead. “My client was nervous about rain, so we had to find a new venue. I decided to still use hedges, and give the party an English garden/tea party feel, but inside,” Lekach said. She got the garden idea simply from being in a garden one day, but it made perfect sense, considering that Sharapova is a Wimbledon winner, and the matches are played on grass courts. And Sharapova inspired the pink color scheme—it’s her favorite color—as well as the color of her perfume bottle. (“Everyone wants to do a pink party for perfumes,” Lekach admitted.)

Flowers weren’t the only element of the decor. Hundreds of strands of pink Swarovski crystals and four pink beaded chandeliers dangled from the ceiling. Lekach created lounges with white couches dotted with pink and brown throw pillows, and rolling cubes covered with Astroturf and topped with pink votives. On the second-floor balcony, a pillow lounge invited relaxing with hundreds of oversize pillows in various shades of pink.

Inspired by the event’s theme, Creative Edge Parties presented an inventive menu, beginning with mismatched porcelain teacups filled with green tea martinis, Long Island iced teas, and iced mango chai tea (which was nonalcoholic—perhaps a nod to the party’s 18-year-old guest of honor). Caterwaiters and bartenders wore pink T-shirts with the letter M on them.

Hors d’oeuvres included a selection of tea sandwiches (truffled egg salad and Brie, apple, and watercress were two choices), a waffle-cut potato with sesame salmon and wasabi marmalade, and something called “bacon and egg Guinness": six-hour braised bacon, shirred quail egg en croûte, and a shot of Guinness, served in quail eggshells.

Celebrity DJ and Sharapova favorite Mark Ronson provided most of the evening’s entertainment, but there were also performances by Mexican pop singer Ari Borovoy and a troupe of Russian acrobats.

Erika Rasmusson Janes

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