Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

The Stars Come Out at Night

Richmond was a little brighter, more bubbly and better dressed last evening, reflecting in the light that shone from the celebrities in our midst.

My view.



I’m not crafty. And that may be the most surprising thing about my choice to see Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar at the Ballet of Richmond’s Home for the Holidays fundraiser. That’s homemade wrapping paper up there on the table (not the best angle, sorry.) I swore off trying to keep up with the Marthas of the world after she advised us to grow our own grass for the Easter basket. Which is why I’m shocked that after last evening, I am itching to get to a Ben Franklin or Michael’s and a fabric store.

I may not be a DIY’er (unless it’s unavoidable), but I do appreciate bespoke. Bespoke wrapping paper. Now that’s a conceit I can sign on to.

I grew up with stuff like this.


But a little simplification gave us something entirely different (no original photo, too blurry. Sorry.) Or as he put it: “more refined, less Cirque du Soleil. Less is more”

And the hits just kept on coming.
(Standard Dollar Store Bows, snipped and instantly more chic.)

You know when you’ve witnessed something different? That’s the impression with which I was left last evening. This is a brand ascendent. I don’t think that’s news to anybody. I might also draw parallels between Jaithan Kochar and Eddie Ross and a certain former couturier and his business partner. Because there is a great partnership in evidence here, that much was very clear.


It doesn’t hurt that both men are charming, upbeat, energetic. Both have an eye.


That table was set with things found at my local antiques mall. Which means that they found all of that on the same day as the presentation, after appearing on a local TV station.


He likes mints and candies at the table and why not? Thirty years ago, you would have had a small silver cup with a few cigarettes placed in front of you.


Another tip: cauterize the cut poinsettia branches and insert them into floral water tube “picks” then into the foam. Floral arranging? That’s surgery, and the results are beautiful and lasting.

I find it interesting that he would mix metals, using brass candlesticks and silverware. But as he said “that way it doesn’t look like you opened the dusty china closet and hauled out the wedding presents.” (Or words to that effect. Did I mention that there were wineries sampling sparkling wines?)

I learned a lot. It may have been the only Powerpoint presentation I’ve actually enjoyed.

Here’s the executive summary: “Just as long as you know the rules, you can break them.” Entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive. “You can always find $5 for an olive fork…” The thing about magazine photos is that they are not perfect. Clever cropping means that you don’t see the frayed edge of the newly made “runner” (read a piece of fabric that has been folded into thirds and ironed.)


Really all the tips boil down to this: have fun, mix and mingle and give everything a bit of thought. That and read his blog. He’s got a thousand of them.

(L-R: Your faithful correspondent, Ms. Cindy Taylor, Jaithan Kochar, Eddie Ross, Ms. Anne Taylor. Many thanks to Anne for the photo. I’m happy that I led she and her mother astray. It was a delightful walk around the building. More thanks to Mrs. PvE for the virtual introduction to Eddie and Jaithan.)

13 thoughts on “The Stars Come Out at Night

  1. Looks like a wonderful event!
    I love learning new ways to brighten the holidays.
    The tradition of the cloven orange is it is exchanged for a kiss – if you give it to someone and they take a clove out with their fingers you kiss their hand…if they take it out with their teeth…smoochies!

  2. Seriously what’s not to love! Eddie and Jaithan make everything look so nice, so pretty and just JOYful!
    Now I am in the mood to deck the halls and my table too!
    Looks like a fantastic evening.

  3. Chris!

    You were such an absolute joy to meet! You’re so kind, gracious and giving. Of course, you run with Patricia and Patrica, two of our favorites!

    And that comparison to Valentino and his partner…well…we’re gushing. Can’t wait to see you again in NYC or Richmond!

    Jaithan + Eddie

  4. So glad to learn about this creative talent! I admire genuinely artistic and creative people that produce beautiful and original results! I will be watching out for this talented duo. Thank you for featuring these gentlemen in your post!

    A few years back I attended a similar event, a fundraiser to benefit our Botanical Garden. An incredibly talented man by the name of Chris Giftos–the floral designer and special events director at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for some 30+ years! When Jackie Onassis had a dinner party, Mr. Giftos did the floral arrangements. When the Costume Institute held a gala that Princess Di would attend, Chris Giftos was the event director. He came to our fine city, slides in hand, and gave us a tour of his decades of beautiful parties, flowers, table tops, room decorations, and one great story after another about his interactions with the amazing honored guests he met along the way. What an amazing career! He was originally hired at The Met to do the floral arrangements in those enormous urns at the entry way (the grand hall?) as you walk into the museum. A museum benefactor, Lily Acheson (?), made her donation specifically for floral displays at the museum for perpetuity . . . and Mr. Giftos, on a very tall ladder, created one beautiful bouquet after another, all for the pleasure of the visitors. I recall my first visit to The Met . . . the fresh flowers. . . huge, gorgeous bouquets, left a lasting impression.

  5. I was lucky enough to meet them at a fabulous party in DC earlier this fall and then spend a day treasure hunting with them at the Big DC Flea. I love their use of dollar store items, and do the bow thing on a lot of presents, but put a tiny bow inside the big one.

    I predict great things for these two clever and smart men!

  6. Hi Chris,
    It was so nice to meet you the other night at the event…especially after having been to your blog many times! Great photos from the event! We were very happy with the turnout and response to our products and wreath creation…and also had a wonderful time!

    I wanted to pass along my blog info: http://www.urbannestblog.com. Hopefully we can be in touch in the future.


  7. Princess, there will definitely be a few lingering about the manse this year!

    Mrs. B, they said hi to you and Mrs. PvE, it was a grand evening.

    Mrs. PvE, I know how you feel. They are inspiring.

    DC, really a treat for the eyes. Festive and casually elegant. A great combination.

    Eddie Ross, the pleasure remains mine! It’s been too long since Mrs. E. and I headed for the City… .

    Paula, that must have been quite the night too! Keep your eye out for Eddie and Jaithan, you won’t be disappointed.

    P-D, I’m with you, great things are bound to happen for these two. Bet the flea market was the most fun you’ve had at hunting!

    Stephanie, nice to see you too. Great looking blog. And please own up to the beautiful logo that flies atop my masthead!

  8. I recall seeing you at the Historical Society the other night and I also recall thinking how very well dressed you were! Really, there is nothing else like a well-dressed man! And I love collar pins! And enough with the !!!

    I so enjoyed meeting both Eddie and Jaithan – they both have such lovely manners which I find to be very important – its really a measure of the man as to how one treats others – and they were funny, too. I impulsively invited them to stay with us on their next visit as we live in Ashland in a c. 1858 Greek Revival that is haunted and they have accepted the invitation. I may have to have a “locals” cocktail party for them!

    And keep up the great dressing!


  9. I am a big fan of Eddie and Jaithan. I met them on the DC Big Flea trip. Eddie always has great ideas. I hated to miss the Richmond RHome event. As a Richmond resident, I am very curious which local antique mall did they go to for the table setting? Really glad to have found another local blog to follow. I am looking forward to giving your blog a good search!

  10. Hello and Welcome Lori H, it’s nice to have you here. Eddie and Jaithan hit the West End Antiques Mall on Staples Mill Road for everything. I just did some Christmas shopping there myself.

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