By way of London and New York, Alice Ryan (aliceryan.com) landed in California last year.
The PR marvel, mother of three, and wife to bespoke tailor Kirk Miller is enjoying sunnier days at home in Montecito and a glittering roster of West Coast clients including Ladurée, Brentwood Country Mart and Bonpoint. We caught up with Ryan to distill her effortless entertaining style.
Can you share a few of your favorite party planning tricks? A beautiful invitation, even handwritten on Smythson stock (smythson.com), sets the tone. I love to use Kate Schelter (kateschelter.com) for watercolored place cards and menus and Ellen Weldon (weldondesign.com) for larger dinners. When I got married and had a bridal lunch with my girlfriends, Antony Todd (antonytodd.com) sent each person a single peony in a handblown glass vase. When entertaining, how do you handle seating arrangements? I like to work from a seating chart—the one Anya Hindmarch (anyahindmarch.com) designed is my favorite. Having worked in New York, L.A. and London, I pretty much know who likes whom. What’s the most memorable dinner you’ve ever been to? A milestone birthday in Bedford, N.Y., at home with Ricky and Ralph Lauren. There were no more than a dozen of us, it was late January in a snow blizzard, and the setting was magical. As the black-tie dinner drew to an end, we had Champagne with cake, [and] then Ricky brought out the karaoke machine. Ralph was better than any of us. He was Frank Sinatra, all night long. Can you share a favorite Miller family tradition? This year, Santa Claus will come to the Montecito Country Mart (montecitocountrymart.com) and I will arrange a gingerbread house party there for all of the children in our new hometown. Traditions come by way of happy memories—I look forward to creating many of them.
Written by Lesley McKenzie, Schuyler Bailey and Jennifer Blaise Kramer.
PHOTOS: Ben Draper.