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- By Frankie Graddon
There are few people who encapsulate the word ‘glamour’ as thoroughly as Sabine Getty. The jewellery-designer-turned-fashion-muse is well known for her immaculately glossy personal style, which marries vintage influences and a keen eye for couture treasures with an unashamed love for all things fabulous.
But it’s not just her sartorial sense that exudes good taste. Sabine’s Mayfair apartment, where she lives with her husband and two young children, is a celebration of the exuberant Memphis design movement that gained popularity in the 1980s. Think colour-pop walls, art-deco furnishings and artfully curated curiosities.
With the above considered, it’s no wonder Sabine, the daughter of interior designer Karin Ratl, is renowned for being the best-dressed guest at every event, and for throwing dazzling parties of her own. We caught up just ahead of the holiday season to discuss festive dress codes, five-minute make-up and what makes the perfect dinner-party playlist.
How would you describe your party style?
It’s quite over the top: feathers, sequins, lace, sheer pieces and super-fitted, sexy silhouettes. I am really attracted to the show outfits that artists wear on stage, so I try to find more subdued versions to wear in real life. My party-style muse is Cher; if I could wear a Bob Mackie feathered headdress, I would.
You’re known for always mastering occasion dressing. What makes the perfect event outfit?
Whenever I have a cocktail party, I really love to wear a sexy, black dress in lace or velvet. You can wear lots of colours, but actually, a beautiful black dress is even more outstanding. During the Christmas period, I’m looking a little pale, as I’ve lost my tan, so I’ll wear a sleeved style that shows the collarbone, and a pair of sheer black tights. Wolford Individual 10 are the best; they hold you in and don’t feel like they’ll rip. I’ve worn the same brand for over 10 years.
My party style is quite over the top: feathers, sequins, lace, sheer pieces and super-fitted, sexy silhouettes.
How does your approach to evening wear differ from your day-to-day wear?
I wear the same clothes every day: jeans, T-shirt, sweaters, a blazer. Even wearing a shirt is an effort because a T-shirt is so much more comfortable. But when it comes to going out, I find dressing up is easier as it means wearing one beautiful piece. Being underdressed means I would have to create an outfit that is more elevated than my day look, but not as dressy as a dress. It’s more work, so I find it easier to arrive super-dressed.
How has your party style changed as you’ve entered your thirties?
When I was younger, I tried to emulate what I saw growing up from my mother. I would buy vintage ’80s dresses and blazers with huge shoulder pads, but I realised over time that they made me look older than I was. I’ve found that in my thirties, I’ve enjoyed dressing more for my body, rather than what I imagine I should look like. I am gravitating towards less colour and I’m more focused on silhouette. I’ve stripped it down to what actually makes me look good and feel comfortable.
My best hosting tip is to be a part of your own evening and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if the napkins are folded upside down – no one cares!
Speaking of drinks, what is your ultimate party cocktail?
I would have a mojito. Anything with tequila!
Who are your dream dinner guests?
That’s very easy: Cher, Celine Dion, Maria Callas, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. Also, Freddie Mercury – he would make it such a hoot!
What are you hoping to find under your tree?
You know what I really wish for? Travel. I would love to find a ticket to somewhere like Vietnam. It’s been a long time since I’ve discovered a new place, so I wish to travel to foreign lands.
What will you be wearing on Christmas day?
I will be getting dressed up and usually I try to follow the colour scheme of Christmas. One year, I was all in red, the year before I was all in green. This year I’ll wear a velvet dress in red, green or black. I have Saint Laurent kitten heels, which give a little lift without being torture.
What never fails to get you in the festive spirit?
Christmas has started now that I’ve seen the gingerbread house in front of [members’ club] Annabel’s. Aside from that: good music, a drink and a fabulous party.
What are you looking forward to the most this festive season?
We’re keeping it quiet and staying in London with just the family, so I’m looking forward to some peace. I am also looking forward to really enjoying being in England. I think because we’ve all had to stay here, there was such a sense of wanting to escape over the summer. But this Christmas, I really want to be in London and see the beautiful lights in the streets.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
To take more risks, to listen to my instincts and to trust my gut more. I think women have a sixth sense, but we’re often told we don’t know better. I would say to all of us to really connect with our instincts and trust ourselves.
Where did your love for dressing up come from?
As a kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I would watch Whitney Houston and Celine Dion music videos on MTV and think, wow, I want to be just like that. Watching female performers on stage gave me a love for sequins, glamour and fabulousness. My mother has always been a very glamorous dresser, too. She always had her hair done, long red nails, really cool jewellery and shoulder pads.
What are your favourite party outfits currently in your wardrobe?
At the moment, I love my cocktail dress from Oliver Theyskens. I am obsessed with him, he does a lot of corsets and cup bras. It’s a black dress with black lace overlay and a corseted top. Very simple and sexy – I wear it all the time. I love anything by Alessandra Rich. Her pieces are always glamorous and fun. I also have some fun Gucci party dresses.
I have no capacity or talent for mixing and matching separates, it’s such a headache. I get dressed in five minutes, and if it takes me any longer than that I feel like something isn’t right. So I like a dress, or a velvet suit where all I have to do is find a shirt to put underneath.
How do you navigate party dress codes?
Most of the time, if I go out it’s because I want to wear a certain outfit. If there’s a theme or the venue is from a specific era, I like to make the effort to dress to match the scenery. Otherwise, if it’s just a usual dinner or cocktails, I reach for the pieces I feel confident and comfortable in. I’m never going to take a risk.
Jewellery is the ultimate outfit transformer. Which pieces do you reach for during the party season?
The way I switch it up from day to evening is by going from costume or delicate jewellery to fine pieces, either from my vintage collection or one of my mother’s pieces. I have a vintage necklace from S.J. Phillips which is made up of a row of diamonds in graduating sizes. It’s so beautiful to wear as a necklace or double-wrapped as a bracelet. I love wearing my diamond Bulgari ring from the ’80s which was my mother’s. I also have a pair of Chanel Comète earrings that add so much to a look.
You have an enviable collection of couture. Can you tell us about a few highlights?
The most special piece would have to be the Saint Laurent dress I have, which dates from 1992. It’s a black lace dress with scallop edges and two pink bows. It’s incredible and by far my favourite dress in my closet, apart from my Schiaparelli wedding dress. I also have a Saint Laurent white suit that belonged to Catherine Deneuve, and some cool Bob Mackie pieces, which have beautiful beading work. Weddings are the perfect occasion to dress up and wear couture, or when going to a grand venue. I’d rather stay home than be underdressed.
What will we find in your after-dark beauty kit?
My make-up takes me 20 minutes. I love cinema make-up from the ’60s, and my look is inspired by this; matte finishes, a lot of shadow and an elongated eye. For my complexion, I use Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronzer and Glow and Rose Hermès blush. On my eyes, I use The Sophisticate palette by Charlotte Tilbury to create a fake crease, then I’ll use the white pigment in Huda Beauty’s Mauve Obsessions palette, a MAC eyeliner and Armani mascara. I also use a MAC lipliner called Stone. I’ll put foundation over my lips, then I’ll fill them in with the liner. No matter what I’m wearing, I’ll always do this beauty look.
When does the festive season start in your house, and how do you prepare for it?
From the first week of December the panic begins. I think about it so much, but I always end up being last-minute. It’s always a lovely time getting the tree and decorating it, though. I keep it simple; we have beautiful glass decorations: a train, a peanut, a hot-air balloon. I like to do white lights, then I add little red velvet bows. I’ll also buy lots of little marzipans from Fortnum & Mason. I have two small children who get very excited. It’s a really sweet, special time.
What are the essentials of a successful dinner party?
Good music, a nice temperature and not waiting for food. These are the three most important things people often forget. Sometimes, parties are made so fancy that you end up waiting hours for food – I would literally rather have a McDonalds and go to bed! I also love doing a buffet. I find having food served can be contrived and over the top; I like to have the freedom to serve myself and have more of this or that. It has a more relaxed approach. I always have ’70s and ’80s music on, then as the vibe gets fun, you can move onto ’90s hits like TLC – people always love that.
How do you set the perfect table?
At home, I like to keep it old school. I don’t like an overly decorated table; a simple white table cloth, silver or coloured glasses, white plates – I don’t know why plates need to be decorated like they are wallpaper – mine have a subtle Asian-inspired aesthetic. Then I’ll decorate with silver jugs and fun marzipans. But the food is the whole point of it, so I like that to be the focus.
What’s your best hostess tip?
Try to be a part of your own evening. Be present and enjoy it because it doesn’t matter if the napkin is folded upside down – no one cares! It’s easy to stress about the little things, and while it’s nice to have that desire to do things well, I think it’s important to always enjoy it. Have one drink before everyone arrives to relax!