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The High-End Party: Gilded to Perfection

What to do with an Upper East Side apartment full of antiques and contemporary art? Put it all on the table.

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Eight Guests, Three Courses = $2,625

A listair Clarke is head of Sotheby’s English and European furniture departments; his wife, Blair, is a consultant and private dealer specializing in emerging artists, and they have a 20-month-old daughter, Poppy. As a result, their Upper East Side apartment is a mix of eighteenth-century French furniture, rare eighteenth-century Sèvres porcelain, abstract nudes by Natasha Law, and installations by Wonjung Choi. Sit-down dinners “give us a chance to set a creative table and bring in a theme,” says Blair, who’ll sometimes assign guests a vocation-related trinket (a paintbrush to an artist) to get conversation rolling. They decorate for the holidays with pinecones and holly from their Sag Harbor garden, lots of candles, and family tree ornaments. They have an annual cocktail party for friends and colleagues, with catering from Olivier Cheng, and Alistair’s colleagues come over for a pre-Christmas lunch that’s catered by the Middle Eastern restaurant Persepolis. Our experts took over their dining room (which doubles as the library) to assemble an intime dinner for eight that would pass muster with Louis XIV himself.


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