The entire evening, from the moment the movie started until the last light flickered out at The Plaza, was designed as a tribute to "The Great Gatsby" and a celebration of the Roaring '20s, and "every element came together to make it just that," says says event producer Samantha Sackler, CEO of Samantha Sackler Productions.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby' accurately captures the spirit of the Roaring '20s through the telling of the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who is known for his over-the-top parties—and Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation does a masterful job of bringing that vivacity to life on the big screen," Sackler says. "Our job was to channel all of that energy and extravagance into a premiere party worthy of carrying Gatsby’s name, so we began by transforming The Plaza Hotel into none other than his own mansion."
The original costumes are displayed on models throughout as guests entered the party.
Guests were first invited to stroll through a ballroom that had taken on new life as Gatsby’s garden, complete with topiaries, cobblestone effects, and the sounds of crackling gravel and chirping birds. They then walked through custom designed doors inspired by the title treatment of the movie poster, leading into Gatsby’s mansion.
Guests walk through custom-designed doors leading to "Gatsby's mansion."
As guests entered the party they were greeted with an eight-tiered champagne tower custom built by Samantha Sackler Productions, covered in coupe glasses provided by Classic Party Rentals full of Moët & Chandon, complete with a character right from the film on top holding a magnum bottle of champagne. "This area became an incredible photo opportunity for guests," Sackler says.
Walking into a transformed ballroom, guests looked around to see hundreds of hand-painted butterflies suspended from the ceiling.
At the center of the ballroom was a gorgeous ten-foot diameter chandelier created with oversized feather plumes, cascading white orchids and crystal accents designed by Samantha Sackler Productions. The black and gold bar was custom built by designer8* Event Furniture Rental. The “JG” initials were engraved on the bar in gold as a special touch in honor of Jay Gatsby himself.
Designer8* Event Furniture Rental took inspiration for this collection from the art deco sensibility of the 1920s and the characteristic opulence of Jay Gatsby’s parties. Because the Roaring '20s were such iconic years in U.S. history and "The Great Gatsby" such an important piece of American literature, "We wanted to capture everyone’s imaginations and bring the essence of the era to life," says Linda Buckley of designer 8. "The attention to detail—the thin black piping on the sofas contrasting with the champagne-colored suede and the geometric shapes at the bases of the coffee tables working so well with the clean glass tops—is what made us feel as though, just for a night, we truly were alive and thriving in Jay Gatsby’s prime." The Gatsby Furniture line is now available for rent at www.designer8furniturerental.com.
Classic Party Rentals helped to complete the evening’s 1920s illusion with champagne linens as well as high boys and chiavari bar stools.
A close-up of the beautiful chandelier in the center of the ballroom.
Centerpieces featuring feathers and beading were displayed throughout the event.
The catering team at the Plaza studied 1920s food presentation so that buffets were authentic.
Between the rollicking band and the brilliant dancers, who were wearing the official costumes from the set of the movie, the premiere party was "truly outrageous," Sackler says. "We can only hope that Jay Gatsby would have been proud."
What really sent the party over the top was its late-night transformation into a sexy 1920s speak-easy. "Our team had just a few minutes to transform the elegant ballroom into a dark, seedy speak-easy," Sackler says. "As the stage curtains closed, the Moet Parade began as each of the dancers and members from the band walked through the room, each carrying an oversized champagne bottle lit up with sparklers. Linens were pulled off the high standing cocktail tables to reveal vintage bourbon barrels. The stage curtains parted to reveal an aged brick wall with DJ Cassidy at center stage. As the lights faded to a deep red, everyone was transported into an underground speak-easy without ever having to leave the ballroom."
Samantha Sackler teams up with designer 8 and Classic Party Rentals to put the "great" in the after-party for the New York premiere of "The Great Gatsby." Photos by Line 8 Photography.