Saturday, June 22

Baz Luhrmann Designs Barney’s Holiday Party At the Zoo

If there’s anyone that knows how to throw a holiday party, it’s Baz Luhrman.

The famed director of such spectacles as Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby has quite a grandiose vision, which he is able to bring to life offscreen as well.

This year, Barney’s hired Luhrman to helm the decoration of their holiday windows, which were revealed in grand style on November 13. In true Luhrman style, the unveiling involved ice dancers, step-troupers, opera singers, a-cappella warblers and two break-dancing elves.

The spectacle continues through the Christmas holiday, with opera singers appearing every now and again on the Barney’s balconies for brief performances.

After the unveiling, guests adjourned to the Central Park Zoo, for a holiday dinner party hosted by Barney’s and designed by Luhrman and his wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin.

The Zoo made a perfectly unique venue for a perfectly unique party, as the sea lions barked from their tank nearby.

“Believing it can be done is one thing, doing it is another,” says Michael Cash, Managing Director at CityView, Long Island City, NY.

The party featured women on stilts welcoming guests into the party and pouring champagne. Men in animal ears and tails milled about, one carving a buxom ice sculpture. There was a Potempkin forest erected for the occasion, and dinner was served under floating taper candles. Through it all, artificial snow fell over the scene.

A-capella group Pentatonix serenaded at the window unveiling, and put on an impromptu performance of a medley of Beyonce songs at the dinners.

While this was quite a different holiday experience than what actress Dakota Fanning was used to, (“I’m still a little overwhelmed,” she stated), this event had nothing on a typical Luhrmann/Martin holiday experience.

“This is kind of low-key,” Luhrmann said. “We go all out for Christmas. C. M. takes it very seriously.”

Martin (C. M. to friends) surveyed the scene approvingly. “I’ll probably snaffle a few of the props from tonight,” she said.

When looking at your venue, it is more of what you will do with the four walls and space within that creates the thrill of being a part of it. Taking a portion or all of a space in our club for an interactive speaker, to a mini-play produced by members and staff, art gallery or music venue – going beyond what the member expects to provide the unexpected is the key. Luhrmann nails it in a grandiose fashion which simply says to everyone else, why not try something different, unique and fun – all in one.

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