Seeing Red, and Fashion vs. Style

Jes Gordon reveals what she would have changed about Sharon's dining room.


I adore fashion, and I pull a lot of my inspiration from every kind of fashion known to man, but even more so, I love style. We are responsible for our own style, and if you prefer to be more of a paint-by-numbers type of a person, then so be it. You can flip through any magazine and wear exactly what the models wear piece for piece, but where do you as a person go if you do that? 

Style comes from an emotional response to something that moves you so much that you want to be part of that feeling as much as possible. You want to surround yourself with it, watch it, and wear it. In terms of this episode, Frank’s style was an awesome surprise to me, and sadly Sharon’s was not.

Though Sharon often commented on how she hoped to streamline and simplify her cooking for Rocco and his guests, I don’t feel she was successful in doing so for the ambiance of her dining room. Just the mention of using a fashion look, book, or collage on the walls of Rocco’s informal dining room made me worry that the room would be too fussy. When Sharon first saw the initial reveal of her room, she agreed, so I scaled back the room before the guests arrived. I was also having a problem with the use of red in this room. Usually in smaller spaces, you want to use more neutral colors in order to make the room feel more spacious, rather than too saturated or intimate. The word “bordello” flew around a bit when the guests walked in and the use of red tones sadly confirms that ambiance, which isn’t always bad, but for Sharon’s fashion forward concept, I would have used more neutral tones throughout. In my book, Party like a Rock Star, I caution about the use of too much red for an event!

Where was Sharon’s style? Could we have found it in the fact that she is a mom, or that she went from being a nine to fiver to a full time owner of her own catering company, or perhaps in the fact that she successfully impressed Rocco with a controversial espresso-crusted signature dish? I would have loved to continue with touches of espresso throughout her dining room design. I was dying to drape the room in all white like Sharon suggested, but instead of the red accents and the more literal props such as fashion mannequins and design sketches, I would have loved to use neutral monochromatic tones and textures working within the deep espresso to natural jute shades. 

Gradients of whites are gorgeous too. People don’t realize that there a million different colors of white that can layer on top of each other harmoniously, or using a different texture like even a faux fur or a mixed pattern in neutral tones can create gorgeous dimension in a small space. 

As I watched the episode something that caught my attention about Sharon was that she served mint s’mores for dessert instead of the regular s’mores without mint. I wish she had taken this type of thinking and variety into her room décor -- the evening might have been more exciting for Rocco and his guests. 

In this case, less would have definitely been more in terms of Sharon’s design ideas. 

When I first met Frank, he was, as Sharon says, “a douche.” The guy was obviously just over it and completely uninspired by the fashion concept, so I sat with him for a bit and just chilled out, and let him marinate in Rocco’s formal dining room for a bit. Then I saw a couple of pretty dimples come out on his face, and his eyes brighten and he said “I got it!” He told me his wife is his inspiration for almost everything in his life, so why not use this inspiring element to create his dining room environment. I love this!! To me, this is what style is all about and where fashion is born. Frank took something he loves, and wanted to turn into something he could not only share with Rocco and his guests but with the world.

I immediately got to work on Frank’s room. I really didn’t need much from him after he gave his wife’s initial look: lots of '40s Hollywood glamour accents, corsets (HOT!!), BLING! (also so hot!!) And romance. Frank, you had me at the “shiny silver pretty things….”

I brought in a fab, shiny-mirrored vanity table and dressed with awesome '40s era vanity props, pearls, hair brushes, rhinestone hair clips, and diamonds!!

I placed a faux fur run under the large dining table and graced the table with mirrored square vases filled with Black Beauty roses, sterling silver roses, and mini black Calla lilies and on the table were DIAMONDS! Big ones!! I sewed a gorgeous patterned velvet silver and ivory table runner that was a plush intersection for the dining table. 

I used a mirrored sideboard to place small glamour photos and the ultimate glam surprise to the room was the gorgeous collection of antique corsets that the Rocco’s guests ended up fighting for. Frank also liked the idea of fashion sketches, but instead of making them look jumbled and like a collage, I focused on high-style simple line drawings in order to streamline the idea. 

By the time I was done with Frank's room I most definitely wanted to take a much-needed nap on that gorgeous day bed I found, complete with lush pillows and a greyhound guard dog statue. 

For Frank's lighting, I wanted the focus to stay shiny and pretty so I used light lavender tones to accentuate the gorgeous baubles that were used throughout the dining experience. I used a faux silver crocodile charger plate and really lush glassware and silverware to complete the glamour factor. 

I love the fact that this room was sooo feminine, even though Frank was Mr. Tattoo guy. What a softie….

FYI I am a huge fan of Nicole Miller, and to express my own style on my wedding day I wore a black and gun metal Nicole Miller dress. Check it out. This is what fashion and style is all about and allows us to celebrate the differences in people.

facebook: jesGORDON/properFUN
author of: Party Like A Rock Star


You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet

We Like to Party

Jes Gordon dives deep into what throwing a party really means.

This party will continue... for all of us!!!!!

One of the most common ledges I have to talk my clients off of is something I like to call “post-party depression.” This sounds funny at first, but it is a real problem in my world, and I am often spending a lot of time convincing folks that there is not only one party to be thrown in their lives, and that there are plenty to come in the future. 

What is interesting about our show is that obviously, since it's a competition, everyone has to live in the moment and make this particular party mean everything since there is a prize at stake. What I like to concentrate on though, is that for everyone involved in the show including the contestants, the guests, Rocco, and even myself, is that the party will surely go on whereever and at any time we want it to. 

Basically people, we are free to party!!!

Something that I adore about Rocco (amongst many things) is that he values good quality time with the people he loves. He is also a huge fan of comfort, beauty, and high-end elements. Something that I learned from doing his show is that it is a true gift to those around you when you cook for them. I feel the same way about setting the ambiance of the room where that food is being served, and it’s pretty genius of Bravo to understand the importance of both and creating an outlet where Rocco and I can truly prove our points. Since I cannot cook… anything, I prefer to design environments where the two elements can harmonize together. I am still trying to convince Rocco to give me a cooking lesson some day.Why do we celebrate? Do we want presents? Do we want to get dressed up? Do we want to get drunk? Or maybe we want to find out who is most important to us in our lives….There is no right or wrong reason to celebrate -- we just all need to realize that we are lucky to do so, and that the people that show up to be with us mean so very much. We all have our reasons to celebrate and our own “party meter.” Some of us celebrate when a broken nail grows back, or if someone goes into remission from cancer, or is having a 65th birthday like Liza Minnelli, and there are no party police that step in and tell us that we are under arrest for choosing our own reasons to party. This is an area in our lives where we can escape the usual rules and just forget about our jobs, our taxes, and picking the kids up from school for a day. We also tend to allow ourselves to consume carbs and eat candy, which is certainly a valid reason to move forward into “party land."

Amongst the fun part comes the serious stuff. The quality of the party directly reflects how you feel about the guests you are inviting. Rocco is a perfectionist when it comes to this, and he is flawless in making his guests feel like kings and queens for the time they spend with him as a party host. This is a lost art. Parties have become major outlets to show off celebrities, money, and fashion. Rocco brings his party ideals back to where they belong; events that are thrown from the heart and from creating an experience from which people don't want to leave and remember long after the event. 

Being a great host is pretty exhausting. It’s like playing a very intricate game of chess for one part of the brain and then a crazy karaoke session for the other side. You are constantly insuring that your guests are happy and making conversation while worrying about the back of the house logistics and wondering if they are going smoothly. This is certainly one of the biggest challenges of my job. It is iterally a juggling marathon, and if one of the ball drops it reflects on you. Something to remember is that whatever goes on behind the scenes and can be solved behind the scenes is fine. You may be having heart palpitations, but as long as your guests don't know about the drama that is happening you are all good. Troubleshooting is a must in this biz!

We often saw Rocco having to go into the kitchen to check on the chefs and to make sure they were on target, and then he would have to go back to his guests and continue to stay cool, calm, and charming: he pulled it off, but this is not an easy thing to do. I do this every day and it's exhausting yes, but its also exciting and I am lucky to be doing it!As you entertain and celebrate more, things start to become more fluid. I can easily pick out seasoned entertainers just by how they hold themselves or make decisions. It is very rare that a chef is also an effective host; it takes an enormous amount of coordination, kind of like singing and playing the drums at the same time. What I love about this show is that the chefs didn't really know what they were getting into to a certain extent, and I feel like this experience whether they lost or won will make them better at what they do. Many of the chefs spoke of wanting to open their own restaurants some day. Well, how would they do that if they can only cook without a time limit or not think about what that restaurant would look like? I assume that many of the competing chefs from this season were thankful for this experience and from what they learned from Rocco and myself. 

The most important part of continuing to evolve as an entertainer or host is to lose the ego. If we stop learning from those around us, we will hit the ceiling pretty quickly…. I have learned so much from my clients and continue to do so. I found that a few of the chefs from the show were pretty egotistical, and I truly hope that they don't close themselves off from learning as they continue to grow in their careers and personal lives. When you are a host, the evening is about your guests and not about you. If you are good at what you do, you can put your own flair onto the experience in a subtle way and not interfere with the flow of the evening.  Many of my clients can walk into one of my events and say, “Oh this is a Jes Gordon event,” which is great, but if it's too overwhelming, then the event gets lost, and the reason for the event is forever gone and misrepresented. It’s so important to keep the right focus for any party which really comes down to making every one of your guests feel special and that the party is for them and them only. 

In terms of this last episode, I think it was fully realized that the focus of both dinner parties was on Liza Minnelli’s 65th birthday! What an amazing lady, and what an honor it was to be part of her special day, and the rest of the guests weren’t too shabby either. I enjoyed working with Lucia and Frank very much. Though Frank’s vision had me a little confused at first, everything came together phenomenally, and Lucia was focused on celebrating Liza and only Liza, which definitely came through in her room!   

I tell my clients all the time, and now I am telling you: don’t forget to have fun. At the end of the day, these are celebrations, so allow yourself to enjoy them! Follow me on Twitter, and watch for my company blog for great tips and news!

TWITTER: jesgordon

Facebook: jesGORDON/properFUN
Author: Party Like A Rock Star


You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet