For the past 14 years, Vanessa Xuereb (36) has been organising the best parties in London, in her capacity of Events manager at Soho House, Shoreditch House and Electric House, the most glamorous private clubs in London, which regularly see the likes of George Clooney, Madonna, Scarlett Johansson or Lily Allen party within their walls. Here, she gives Chic-Londres a few tips on how to party in style.
Where will you spend New Year’s Eve?
In Shoreditch House, making sure everyone is happy and having a great time. There will be DJs everywhere, including on the roof by the pool, and even fireworks.
What is your favourite party drink?
I am a real Martini girl: I can’t resist a Cosmopolitan, although my favourite drink at the moment is Mandarin Martini, with orange flavoured vodka, fresh mandarin juice and Cointreau.
Which music do you prefer to get the party going?
I always love disco and a bit of Madonna. To get people dancing, it is crucial to have a good DJ who really understands the crowd, and in terms of music, nothing beats happy tunes that have got lyrics that the people know, so they can sing along. My favourites include “Love is in the air” by John Paul Young, “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair, “Love to love you baby” by Donna Summer and “Give it to me”, by Madonna remixed by Kris Di Angelis, our DJ at the pool parties in Shoreditch, who is brilliant.
Do you have any advice on how to mingle at a party where you know no one?
First of all, get a few drinks and some Dutch courage, as there is nothing more efficient against shyness! You have got to make sure you feel confident too, so make sure you are happy with your hair, your clothes and the way you look. And never forget that there are others in the same situation than you, so try to spot people on their own who seem friendly or really good fun and just go to introduce yourself to them. With a woman, it is always easy to open up the conversation by commenting on her great bag or shoes.
What are the most important elements to organise a good party?
First, you must work out the kind of party you want, and find the right music and the right venue. For example, if you want a big thumping party with people dancing until the early hours, in most cases, your house isn’t going to work. It is also very important to make sure your guests can have an easy and quick access to drinks, as there is nothing more off putting than having to wait ages at a bar counter. And I always make sure guests are served some nibbles, even if they have had dinner before : people need to eat when they party.
What are the best party themes?
Having a dress code is good to set the mood, but it shouldn’t be too complicated: personally, I like to keep it open and generic, as you don’t want people to feel intimidated or to have to worry too much about finding the right clothes: black and white, 1980s or gold are simple but effective. What is important too is to choose a theme that work with the season, place and atmosphere. In Soho House last December, we organised a “Noir de Noir” party, which worked very well with the Christmas season. I find it quite fun to chose a theme and coordinate the rest according to it. For example, for our Club Tropicana party, I organised some pizzas topped up with pineapples and pina coladas cocktails: not things one normally has nowadays, but in the context it worked really well.
Do you have a favourite party outfit?
I have a wonderful Wizard of Oz Dorothy’s outfit, with glittery red shoes, which I love to wear when I can! Generally speaking, I love to dress up with gold and sparkles, as they give an immediate party feel to any outfit, and I make sure to stay warm with my fabulous cashmere wrap with encrusted Swarovski crystallised stars by William Sharp, my favourite designer. It is also very important to be comfortable in your shoes, so I tend to go for thick heels, as I want to move around easily, and always keep a pair of flats in my bag.
What was the best party you went to in 2009?
It has to be the pool party we did in Shoreditch House for the opening of the new roof garden, which started at 4pm and finished at 1am. I organised a blow dry bar and a make-up bar for the guests, so girls could glam up again after a dip in the pool. There were big flowers garlands everywhere and a DJ who played psychedelic music in the garden. Everyone jumped out in the pool and when it got dark, people spent time lying down on the sofas surrounding the pool watching the stars. It was rather unique… Our pre-Carnival party at the Electric last August was quite wild too, with people dancing everywhere until 4am. We are planning another one for Valentine Day, which will be called the “Love Market”, so that should be fun too!
For information on how to apply for Membership at one of the Soho House clubs, go to:www.sohohouselondon.com/membership/application