31 December 2016

starting fresh with David Monn

Celebrating at a New Year's Eve party planned by the extraordinary David Monn would be otherworldly— for the fortunate few who might be doing so, Happy New Year. For US we are voyeurs into Monn's The Art of Celebration, a new book with his wizardry for setting the mood, published by Vendome Press. Happy New Year!

Anyone who has ever struggled with a paltry budget for a worthy charity event fortunate enough to be in charge of decorations will drown in Monn's lush and exquisite party orchestrations. 
Dream On.

David Monn, hands on, using lemon trees in for a dinner for 250 in honor of Ellsworth Kelly held in the Granaries—part of the Hotel Cipriani.

I remember David Monn from years ago in a feature, I think in Town and Country, where he and his longtime friend Gayfryd Steinberg had created the most beautiful nut topiary, trees, swags and wreaths for Christmas. At the time, Bergdorf Goodman sold some of them and I acquired a pair of topiaries that I still use in my den during the holidays. Still quite lovely, they along with other "nuts" I've gathered over the years hang, and sit on tables in the room all winter. (Steinberg's wedding reception is included in the book)

A Michigan Fiftieth Anniversary celebrated with caviar in an ice carved bowl with the cavair surrounded by grapes.

For all the incredible stories Monn's parties tell, one of his hallmarks is his original eye. A freshness that is rare in party planners. Yes, of course they should all be creative, they must be, but Monn's ability to "play" with traditions is unmatched. It's not just lavishing flowers everywhere—& there is that in The Art of Celebrating- but it is his fresh approach that is evident in the over 350 pages of the weighty book.

A baby's breath wreath surrounds a convex mirror in the Neo-Gothic rooms of the High Line Hotel New York for an international wedding.

The elegance of simplicity, and whimsy were incorporated in a Monn planned Bar Mitzvah. 

"Beauty is a necessity, not a luxury." -David Monn

The book's cover— beaded flowers in a silver epergne, truly exquisite, sita on a mirrored table surrounded by Murano glassware. The endpapers are a detail of Hiroyuki Masuyama's painting Storm. Monn has a triptych by Matsuyama based on Turner's paintings in his dining room. The entire book is an exercise in elegance.

Featuring 26 events David Monn has orchestrated in his twelve year career, The New York Times calls him "the Architect of Style," Maestro might be more appropriate. His memorable designs are meant to be "shared, lived, and felt." His three favorite words: Authenticity, Scale and Detail are quickly recognized by readers within the pages of The Art of Celebrating.

Clam shells and wooden candlesticks were added to the Venetian console in the only palazzo in Venice still lit exclusively by candlelight—the Palazzo Pisani Moretta.

A winter wedding reception at the Pierre Hotel with centerpieces styled to appear as if carved in the manner Georgian master carver Grinling Gibbons. Real fruits were painted in grisaille to look like bisque.

The altar decorations at the High Line Hotel in New York.

As if Monn's work wasn't enough, the book includes his on home—never before published. His 5000 square foot home near his offices in the Flower District, and in never doubted Monn-style his approach is pure, refreshing, Zen-like yet steeped in period design, and of course it is ultra-elegant. I can only compare it in terms of appearance as having a bit of the Blass effect
It's really quite brilliant. 
Monn's career one time career in decoration and interior design awaits him—but why would he? His calendar is full—no doubt in 2017, and the years to come.

I hope for all— the best in the New Year— we certainly need it. 


  1. Thank you. What a beautiful post. Yes, Wishing you the best in the new year, despite everything.

  2. Sigh. So incredibly perfect. Thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR. xoxo Mary

  3. Beautiful Gaye, and I hope for you, the new year is especially a good one.

  4. So lovely - the Cipriani party space is a magical building we were lucky to experience on our recent trip there. Amazing views right on the water looking at all of the major monuments. I can't imagine a better setting for a party!



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