Preston Bailey: Gold Fingers
The Jakarta Post | Tue, 07/29/2008 3:26 PM |
Bailey is the man
Preston Bailey does lavish and luxury – always luxury – but he still works on a budget. “There is never not one,” he says.
Bailey came to
He also has an easy charm and gracious manner that allowed him to become a florist after the boutique folded. One thing led to another; he met and befriended the comedian Joan Rivers (he has called her his mentor), who nudged him into a career in organizing events for the rich and famous.
Make that very rich and very famous: He is on the speed dial of some of the biggest names in entertainment, having put together Oprah Winfrey’s 50th birthday celebration and arranged the Trumps’ nuptials, among many others. He also has written several books on entertaining with style and luxury.
I first met him during his joint show with local designer Biyan Wanaatmadja for the latter’s bridal line, where socialites, wedding planners and event organizers turned out in force to see what Bailey had to offer.
frenzied Internet rumors that he is the designated wedding planner for one of
Preston, you’ve been a model, florist and event/party organizer, what have the detours in your life taught you?
They have taught me to take risks, to jump in with both feet! If I hadn’t taken the risk of doing flowers then I would have never ended up where I am today. Sometimes you have to put everything on the line to figure out what you really love.
What is the best thing about your job? And what does it take to be good at what you do?
The best thing about my job is that every event I do is different. The creative process never ends. It is very challenging but it is what keeps all of us on our toes and makes our days exciting. In this industry, you need to be able to think out of the box.
How do you work with a client, starting out from the initial meeting? What do you try to find out? And how do you make sure both of you are satisfied?
My initial meeting with a client is a few hours long, I try to find out everything about their style. Most importantly, what they don’t like!
I often visit them in their homes as well, to truly understand their esthetic. From this meeting I then create their event and show them the renderings. After they have seen those, we create a mock-up of their event so they can see exactly what they will see on the day of the event. It is very important there are no surprises for the clients.
You have said that everything you do is about luxury. But if someone wants things simpler, will you go that route, too?
Yes, of course! I have had clients that wanted a simpler décor but that doesn’t mean it is not luxurious.
What would you never do?
I am not sure, I have never been asked to do something that I refused.
You have organized some pretty high-powered events. Which was your most satisfying and why?
There are so many! I would say working with Oprah was the highlight of my career. It’s Oprah!
What is the wedding and/or event you would have done anything to bring your touch to?
I would have loved to have done Princess Diana’s wedding – she was so full of grace and style it would have been an honor.
Speaking of that touch, give me four words to describe your special quality.
This is difficult, but what I have heard is: luxurious, lush, dramatic, original.
And what are the elements that are common to all your events, wherever they are in the world?
I always try to bring the abundance of nature indoors – that is my main inspiration behind all my designs. You can see that in all my events.
Now, coming to
What was interesting was the way Indonesians entertain! You all really know how to throw a party. Plus, Biyan is a genius and I could not pass up the opportunity to work with him.
time is perfect now to set up an Asian office. With the emerging Asian markets
going strong, the luxury sector in
us, it’s about making sure the clients’ expectations are fulfilled, and I’m
positive that the Asian office will help maintain that high level of efficiency
and competence we strive to deliver worldwide, no matter where you are. I plan
to travel as often as I can to
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
love traveling and meeting new people and learning about new cultures, that is
a really incredible perk to my job. It brought me to