How to Entertain: Inside a Dazzling Cocktail Soirée in NoDa

Capote’s grandest affair inspires this intimate party. The experts share what it takes to plan one of your own.



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In November 1966, novelist Truman Capote threw what newspapers would later describe as the “Party of the Century.” It was a small masquerade ball, with just 540 people in the grand ballroom of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Lauren Bacall and Frank Sinatra were among those invited, and they waltzed into the party with faces partially obscured by elegant masks.

Capote’s black-and-white ball has inspired plenty of grandiose celebrations in the five decades since. But as much as we’d like to host such an extravagant affair—Charlotteans would love nothing more than to boast about attending the Party of the Century—the truth is, this city is just not that kind of place. 

That’s why, as inspiration for our entertaining issue, we scaled Capote’s ball to a more Charlotte-appropriate cocktail party. Myers Park-based stylist Scott Newkirk, who has worked with COACH, Calvin Klein, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine, created an intimate gathering that speaks to this city’s desire to dazzle its guests, without requiring a hotel ballroom or 500 A-List guests. 

“I’ve always been enchanted with that ball,” Newkirk says. He chose it as a starting point for this themed party, because he senses the elegance from that era in today’s Charlotte. “It’s very alive here,” he says. “There’s just this spirit of joy that is here. People can live in a city that’s not Manhattan and still come alive.” 

Newkirk turned to trusted partners to create simple hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and décor that are easy to replicate in your own home. “If you invite your friends, you’re halfway there,” Newkirk says. “People are always looking for a reason to get together.” 


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