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An event stylist’s guide to the books she pulls out for festive entertaining inspiration


By Lauren Heskin
07th Dec 2022
An event stylist’s guide to the books she pulls out for festive entertaining inspiration

Event designer and co-founder of Love & Gatherings Kate O’Dowd reveals the literary sources of her seasonal entertaining inspiration.

Finding inspiration for your upcoming dinner party or winter gathering, you usually go online. We confess that we regularly venture over to event stylist Kate O’Dowd of Love & Gathering’s Instagram page for beautiful table settings, simple flower arrangements and all-round delicious party ideas.

So it made sense to ask Kate for her inspiration when it comes to her Christmas festivities. Here she pulls out her favourite selections for her library of ideas to get our creative juices flowing.

Wreaths by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler

Christmas table inspiration

I’m generally too busy planning other people’s Christmas celebrations to put a lot of effort into my own festive décor, but I do like to attempt a wreath and this guidebook by the Worm. duo, London’s coolest florists – and Irish, don’t you know – breaks it down to foolproof levels. There are ideas for year-round wreath adornment and, because the Worm. aesthetic is naturally untamed, it’s all about ending up where you end up. Best approached with mulled wine. Wreaths, £14.99, Worm.

Morris by Charlotte & Peter Fiell

Christmas table inspiration

Chintzy tablescapes are my current vibe, so I find myself referring to the godfather of Arts & Crafts textiles, William Morris, more and more. This little book is a neatly packaged history of Morris’s design catalogue, from his grand homes – set your house porn face to nostalgic stun – to the iconic furniture, tiles, wallpaper and textiles that have become synonymous with his name. Morris, €14, Easons

Greco Disco by Luke Edward Hall

Christmas table inspiration

Just on the shelves, this colourful coffee table scrapbook chronicles the artist and designer’s inspirations and work, and I love it. I’m very into Luke’s tabletop ceramics, as well as his dandying about on Instagram, and this riotously bright tome is as ostentatiously sweet as I could’ve hoped for. This is definitely going onto my inspiration shelf. Greco Disco, £45, Liberty of London

Round To Ours by Laura Jackson & Alice Levine

A chilled book on cooking and entertaining by two presenters and all-round lady crushes – I’m particularly fond of Laura, whose new supper club venture Hoste is the dream. Completely unpretentious, recipes are accompanied by practical mood-setting tips that don’t impinge on your stress levels or bank balance. It’s a down-to-earth guidebook for beginner hosts and a fresh view for the more experienced. Round to Ours, €23, Dubray Books

The Missoni Family Cookbook by Francesco Maccapani Missoni

Christmas table inspiration

As chronicled by one of its sons, this is the culinary heritage of fashion’s most colourful family. The recipes are scrumptious, but what I love is the photography. Straight from decades of family photo albums, it shows the pure joy the Missonis take in celebrating together. Their gatherings are loud, colourful, gloriously imperfect and there always seems to be too many people round the table; the kind of party I want to be at. Missoni Family Cookbook, €50, Assouline

Photography of From Round To Ours by Laura Jackson Alice Levine. This article was originally published in December 2019.