Since the late ’90s, Rebecca Taylor has been a fashion fixture, designing feminine chic pieces, such as her signature romantic florals paired with downtown details. Today she has eight boutique storefronts, an e-commerce website, and her designs are sold at department stores from Bloomingdale’s to Barneys. Her new capsule collection features nine limited-edition pieces just in time for the holidays.
These days, the native New Zealander calls the beautiful Brooklyn brownstone pictured here home, where she lives with her husband, artist Wayne Pate, and her three children. Taylor let us into her world and shared how she effortlessly sets the stage for a perfect party.
How do you approach designing a dinner party?
I think when decorating your table it’s important to trust your taste and the things you love. A lot of the flowers I’m drawn to remind me of the palettes and botanicals of my home in New Zealand—roses and anemones and dahlias that are very feminine, but not at all fussy. I like my arrangements to feel very natural and not overstyled. To me, imperfection is beautiful. It sets the tone for a party, too—that you don’t take yourself too seriously!
What do you love most about entertaining?
Being able to spend time with my family and friends.
Do you have any tricks for simplifying things?
Taylor Patterson of [floral design studio] Fox Fodder Farm [in NYC] taught me this floral trick I love: To give your roses that lush, almost in full-bloom look, you flip down the outside edges of the petals. It creates a very pretty look, like they were just plucked from an English garden.
How do you set the tone?
With music, florals and lighting. I love shine always, but especially around the holidays. Candlelight is also such a wonderful way to set the mood. I always have lots of candles scattered around the table.
Are there certain entertaining rules you follow?
No, I don’t really have any rules except making sure we have a good cocktail on the menu. I love a champagne cocktail. It has lovely festive fizz that’s perfect for parties. I use a good cremánt sparkling wine, a little cognac, a sugar cube, a touch of bitters and a twist of lemon.
What makes a party magical?
I’ll never host a party without sparklers. There’s that little moment of surprise when I bring them out at the end of a dinner—you can’t help but have fun.
Who are the best dinner guests?
I just love funny people. Anyone that makes me laugh is always welcome at my house.
Do you make your own playlists?
Yes, my husband used to be a DJ a long time ago and so music is very important to us.
Do you have a signature dish?
Pavlova [a traditional New Zealand dessert]. Growing up I remember my mum making it on Christmas morning and I have now adopted that tradition. The girls love helping me make it and it’s something that reminds me of home.
Do you design a table similarly to your fashion aesthetic?
Yes, it is a bit similar I suppose. I love mixing patterns, and adding texture is very much in my DNA. When creating a tablescape, though, I do like to keep it a bit rustic.
How would you describe your holiday capsule collection?
The collection celebrates the evolution of the brand, drawing inspiration from archived collections while infusing the brand’s core design elements and holiday signatures. I wanted to bring back some of my favorite pieces from over the years with a fresh and modern take. I love the mix of dressier pieces with more casual ones, and I feel each piece in this collection can take you through the holiday season.
What is this season’s go-to party look?
The long chiffon Victorian-esque floral dress [pictured]. It’s the must-have holiday piece!
REBECCA’S KIWI TRAVEL GUIDE
Considering a 2018 trip to New Zealand? Rebecca Taylor shares her must-see locales for when you visit her home country.
Glow Worm Caves
Tour grottos by boat or by foot to see thousands
of tiny glow worms radiate luminescent light
and twinkle like stars. “It’s a geological wonder with fantastic creatures to explore,” says Taylor. While there are several places to see glow worms in New Zealand, Waitomo is one of the most well-known.
“It’s a 13-kilometer-long glacier with the most breathtaking views.” Located in the foothills
of New Zealand’s southern alps, you can walk,
ice climb, or fly above the stunning glacier and
visit the township of the same name.
Bay of Islands
This subtropical region encompasses 144 islands, including many beautiful beaches. “The water is spectacular and there are so many fun excursions
to participate in,” says Taylor. The possibilities seem endless: You can scuba dive, swim with dolphins, kayak, surf, sail, mountain bike, golf, ride horses, sky dive, take a scenic flight, and more.
Accessible from Auckland in just 35 minutes, Waiheke boasts picturesque beaches,
gorgeous vineyards and olive groves, and it’s been called “the Hamptons of New Zealand.”
“[It’s] one of my personal favorite places to go
when I go home,” she says.
Photos by Katie Thompson