Trendsetters: L.A. Party Planner Jeff Brown

Welcome to our Tastemaker Top Ten.  Every week we’ll be highlighting the top fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips from our fabulous roster of tastemakers who will dish the goods on groovy style from around the globe.

Jeff Brown of Brown Hot Events

Jeff Brown, founder of Brown Hot Events in Los Angeles

Our first in the series kicks off with sought-after event and party planner Jeff Brown of Brown Hot Events in Los Angeles. The bi-coastal Brown has masterminded everything from intimate dinners for L.A.’s social luminaries to large-scale events at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, fashion-industry events for Christian Louboutin, tokidoki and, also, a recent holiday party for this Fashion Trends Daily editor.

He’s currently hard at work on the upcoming New York launch party for the Broadway musical The Book of Mormom, a comedy written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the Book of Mormon Broadway ShowEmmy Award-winning creators of “South Park,” who have collaborated with Robert Lopez, the Tony Award-winning writer of Avenue Q. The night promises to be a “wild” LDS-style bash, free from the evils of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea and other addictive substances. OK, we jest. It won’t be a prim bash. But we’re serious when we say that if Brown is behind it, it will be an event to remember.

Brown is known for creating unique, chic events that always have a touch of whimsy. Every last detail is perfectly executed. At a private dinner held by South Coast Plaza to celebrate the launch of Christian Louboutin’s limited-edition, $6,500 Marie Antoinette shoe, Brown created Marie Antoinette busts

Brown Hot Events Los Angeles

adorned with wigs full of fresh flowers, butterflies, feathers and other lovely extras. The guests were so enchanted that many  begged to take them home.

We finally got him all to ourselves for our recent holiday party, where Brown took our obsession with pink and orange and

Holiday Party

Chef Cordelia's mini cheesecakes in pink, of course! Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

delivered a fresh, fun affair complete with a decadent gingerbread bar and to-die-for eats from Chef Cordelia, who turned out mouth-watering sweet potato latkes, mini pastramis with gruyere and mustard, mini gingerbread cheesecakes and gingerbread parfaits—all while nine months pregnant!

Despite his ridiculously packed holiday party schedule, Brown made us feel like his only client when he would call us excitedly with updates on all the gems he was finding for the party: Pink-and-orange candy canes to garnish the pear sparkler cocktails, feathers for the tree. But he took it to another level when he and his Queen of Logistics, Shay Hammond, set out on a quest to find hot pink stockings to adorn the fireplace. Hammond found the stockings, but with white fur trim.

Jeff Brown's Hot Tip: Dress your wait staff in something fun Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Naturally, she replaced them all with orange trim — and even included one for the dog, complete with a Jurassic-size bone sticking out of it. But the prize for the biggest attention getter of the evening went to the handsome wait staff Brown dressed with orange ties and pink sweaters. A few guests had to be reminded that the gentlemen were not party favors.

“Create fun and comfort above all else,” said Brown. “And hire an event planner whom you trust with your reputation. Your image is on the line, and your tastes must be totally in sync.”

We asked Brown for the skinny on the entertaining trends he would like to retire, and ones that make the grade for 2011 and beyond.

Jeff Brown’s Top Five Passé Party Moves

•    Comfort food. Pigs ‘n a blanket. Mac ‘n cheese. Sliders. These kinds of food became the appetizers du jour at parties from coast to coast over the past 5 years. Save it for Sunday dinners or trips to the diner.

•   Food trucks as your caterer. Yes, this was wonderfully novel on the West Coast at first. But now L.A. residents can troll Wilshire Blvd. for their pick any day. Don’t be lazy. Make your guests feel special with a thought-out menu.

•   e-vites. We all love our Droids and iPhones and Blackberrys, oh my! We are glued to our devices, which is precisely why it is such an elegant touch to actually send a invite the old-fashioned way.

•   Fortune tellers. Everyone secretly has a favorite soothsayer they absolutely swear by. Just keep it that way and don’t make Madame X the focus of the party.

•    A candy bar. Sweet at first, yes. We once loved the novel idea of a whole bar of candy to satisfy our sweet tooth. But this is one trend that we’ve soured on after seeing it done to death.

Jeff Brown’s Top Five Party-Perfect Moves

•    Custom attire for wait staff (See picture above) It doesn’t have to be fancy, just fun. Some of Brown’s favorite places are fast-fashion favorites such as H&M and Zara.

A holiday party by Brown Hot Events

The Kiss Goodnight: Edible party favors Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

•   Edible swag at departure, aka “the kiss goodnight,” as Brown calls it. Ahh, parting is such sweet sorrow. But guests at our holiday party loved the individually wrapped gingerbread men we gave away.

•    Touchable, holdable, lovable invitations. We totally agree with Brown on this, but had to violate it at a recent party because there simply wasn’t enough time. (Sorry, Jeff!)

•    Live music or DJ. The right tunes bring the party to life.

•    Performance art as “eye candy.” At the Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic, Brown brought in flappers to go with the 1920s and 1930s theme.

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.