Throw an Easy, Pretty Dinner Party—Inspired by Art!

12/04/2013 at 02:32 PM ET

Mark Addison Art Basel Dinner Party
Courtesy Mark Addison

Kim and Kanye, Blake and Ryan, and even Princess Eugenie are painting Miami Beach red this week at Art Basel, an international four-day fair known for its groundbreaking modern and contemporary art exhibitions—and even better parties.

But if you can’t make it to South Beach Dec. 4-8, you can still get in on the celebrations: Use the mega-event as an excuse to throw a dinner party with a picture-perfect theme.

Play around with presentation and it’s easy to create an entire menu riffing on artwork, from watercolor cocktails to a Cubist salad, says celebrity designer Mark Addison, who has planned soirees for stars like Kelly Ripa and Eva Mendes.

Even pals who don’t know the Mona Lisa from Monet will appreciate the four gorgeous, art-inspired dishes below. Addison explains how to pull off each one:

Mark Addison Art Basel Dinner Party
Courtesy Mark Addison

Champagne Watercolor Cocktails

Serve sparkling wine alongside colorful fruit juices, such as mango, blood orange and pomegranate, Addison says. “Just a few drops will create a watercolor effect in your glass.”

Mark Addison Art Basel Dinner Party
Courtesy Mark Addison

Cubist Salad

Cut colorful fruits and vegetables into cubes and arrange them like a checkerboard on a square plate to create a “tasty mosaic,” Addison says. “Mine features cubed avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon, finished with a Champagne vinaigrette and micro greens.”

Mark Addison Art Basel Dinner Party
Courtesy Mark Addison

Landscape and Seascape

When creating what Addison calls a foodscape, you have to use your imagination about the ingredients: Broccoli florets become trees, tiny potatoes represent stones. To create his artful take on surf and turf, lay broiled shrimp on a sea of yellow spaghetti squash and poached chicken in a field of broccoli florets and potatoes.

Mark Addison Art Basel Dinner Party
Courtesy Mark Addison

Palette of Petit Fours

Place plain cake pieces, cut into cubes, onto an artist palette (available at any art store; plastic palettes come 10 to a pack for around $15) or on a white plate, Addison says. Mix brightly colored icings and generously top each cake piece with a different color, allowing the icing to overflow onto the plate like drips of paint. Behold: a true masterpiece!

—Marissa Conrad

FILED UNDER: Entertaining , Food , Home

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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