Yvonne Koné has fine-tuned the art of throwing a fabulous party. According to the accessories designer – who has garnered a devoted following for her butter-soft leather shoes and bags – it’s a balancing act between planning in advance and welcoming an element of surprise. Over the years, she’s come to the conclusion that the guest list is crucial to achieving this.
“I see hosting as a gift to your guest, and a way of showing your love to your friends, but also as an opportunity to invite new people into your life,” she explains. “They do not always have to end up being friends for life, but they’ll add fresh energy and make sure things are in movement.”
While Koné admits it takes a bit of bravery to include new faces, she promises the rewards are worth it. Last Christmas, Koné and four friends decided to co-host a party in which they invited a smaller group of friends who were each asked to bring along a guest. “It ended up being the coziest party, with an eclectic group of people across different ages, gender, and nationality,” she recalls. “And since I didn’t actually know a lot of the guests, it felt like being in a new place, even though it was held in my home.”
Such generosity can be found in other aspects of her party-planning, from the suggestion that a welcome speech will make attendees feel valued, to planning a surprise act. While she avoids micro-managing her guests – “I never try to force people to talk or connect,” she notes – she does take pains to situate shy attendees next to more gregarious types.
This year, Koné’s signature Christmas bash will be replaced with an intimate family gathering. Like the best of parties, she predicts it will be “intense, chaotic, loud, and far from perfect
– but always full of love.”