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Guendalina Litta, The Magician of Temporary Designs

For almost forty years, Guendalina Litta has been creating dreams. More precisely, this discreet Italian living in Belgium stages exceptional events all over the world for a demanding clientele. Her constantly renewed creativity, always in an inimitable style, combined with flawless logistical efficiency and unfailing good humor, have made her one of the most sought-after party planners in Europe.

Guendalina Litta takes care of every detail, from the conception to the unfolding of the evening, mobilizing exceptional craftspeople – florists, caterers, calligraphers, architects, decorators, but also dancers, musicians, actors – to transform the events entrusted to her into sublime, immersive, tailor-made experiences, giving them a truly exceptional character. Guendalina Litta knows like no other how to underline the spirit of a place, how to magnify nature, and how to perfectly transcribe the desires of her sponsors through her original creations. Clouds of roses floating in the air, enchanted forests of candelabra trees or exotic jungles populated by birds of paradise, parks metamorphosed into fairytale palaces … she reinvents the art of celebration at every festivity to create moments of wonder that, even if they last only a few hours, leave each guest with unforgettable memories. 

Thanks to the photographers, Guendalina Litta has been able to keep track of these moments that are as magical as they are ephemeral. Today she is publishing her second book, which reveals some of her achievements as well as the work done behind the scenes by her teams. We met her on this occasion to learn more about her inspirations, the crafts she works on and her vision of the evolution of the craft in these troubled times.

Acumen Magazine: We came out of confinement a few months ago, how did you personally experience it?

Guendalina Litta: As all the events were cancelled or postponed, I took advantage of this time to create this book, which was in the planning stages during the confinement.


MA: This is your second book. What was your inspiration this time?

GL: I had produced a first book four years ago, The Art of Celebration, which was dedicated to the subject of celebration by highlighting beautiful realizations. I had in mind to make another one without giving myself a deadline. Then, once the pandemic came, we very quickly realized that many events were going to be cancelled. So, I called my photographer, Michaël Ferire, and Kate, the editorial director with whom I had already collaborated, to offer to work on a second book. This time, my idea was to pay tribute to all the people I work with. I already had the necessary photographs, notably thanks to Michaël Ferire, who has been following me for a few years. He takes all the photos of parties and behind the scenes. We managed to finish this book in three months. I wanted to show the inspiration that gives birth to my realizations, thanks to well-photographed shots of current installations, and also to reveal the backstage. Hence the title, Dream Makers: Bespoke Celebrations. The last page credits all the people I’ve worked with, because without them I wouldn’t have gotten very far!


MA: Can you tell us about your team? Who are the people involved in organizing these fabulous party decorations?

GL: I work with a wide variety of people and professions. First of all, it’s by exchanging with the client that we build a formalized project. From this base, I surround myself with the right people. A real alchemy must be created with these people. Of course, I have the people I work with regularly, but when we organize a party, we compose the team according to the project as we go along and according to the client’s wishes. I then look around me to find and choose these artisans. There are a thousand sources of inspiration. As I have been doing this job for decades, some craftsmen come to me, others send me their applications, and there are also chance encounters. You have to be curious: go and see exhibitions, stagings … I have also met fascinating artists on Instagram, which is the only social network I use. One thing leads to another and I discover artists that I then contact, and that’s how projects are born.


MA: How did you come to do this job?

GL: It happened totally by chance. I started when I was 16, as a joke, helping a friend who had asked me to organize a small party with her. Forty years ago, this profession didn’t exist. There wasn’t even the Internet! I started working with a caterer and then, one thing leading to another, with wonderful customers who trusted me, and I took off.


MA: Your achievements illustrate a prolific creativity: where does your inspiration come from? How do you conceive your projects?

GL: It come all by itself! I’m lucky, aren’t I? Actually, maybe out of habit, listening and going to places, inspiration comes to me right away. The important thing for me is to respect the place, because every place is different. I am also surrounded by people who understand me immediately. Alchemies are created, and that’s really important. It’s like a chef: you can give ten chefs the same recipe and the same products, but you will have ten different recipes. It’s also a job that requires listening: it’s essential to hear the client and understand their desires. The first thing I do when I start a project for a client is to go and see what universe they live in: even if a house has only one room, you can see the atmosphere right away: whether it’s tidy, whether the person likes memories, whether his decoration is loaded or not. You can thus subconsciously immerse yourself in the person’s lifestyle to create something that suits him or her. Then we guide the client and present him with a project. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on people, on ourselves, and on the alchemies that are created or not.

Guendalina Litta

MA: What do you think makes your style?

GL: What I like the most is everything that is baroque or very heavy. However, I also do ultra-contemporary designs. That’s why we surround ourselves with people and service providers who allow us to have every style imaginable. You have to know how to adapt to the client’s wishes. I think that is really important. My party style is a bit of a mix between what I like and what my client wants. For example, a bride wanted an all-white party, so we worked with all-white decorations. Another client was a goldfish fanatic, and we created the décor around goldfish. I’m saying these as I smile and chuckle, but it’s all very real. Some clients want an ultra-sober décor but with non-stop music playing with four or five bands. When you know that the music must prevail over the rest, there is no point in creating a very busy décor. In fact, everything has to be personalized. In this business, you also have to keep it simple and humble.


MA: Are some events more difficult to organize than others? 

GL: Yes. Because we work in very different places, some places are a little more complicated to consider. But when you surround yourself with the right people and have good will, you always succeed! Obviously, the unexpected happens, but we try to manage and anticipate it. For example, for the inauguration of the Carmignac Foundation on the island of Porquerolles, it was necessary to shine a light on the place. The event had to bring together 400 people for dinner and 800 people in the evening, and we wanted our intervention to be as discreet as possible, so that our work was barely detectable, because we had to enhance this absolutely magnificent place. It’s a unique place, so we were extremely careful to respect it: we put planks under the olive trees, and small lamps. There was a lot of work done behind the scenes, but when the guests arrived, the whole décor seemed like it had been there forever. You shouldn’t invade a place. In the tennis court, we had made a whole dark brown decoration so that it wouldn’t even be visible at night. There were also performances by artists. When someone tells me they like music, I’m not going to clutter up the place with useless décor. When you’re given such places, it’s inspiring. We also had a wonderful party in Fontainebleau, and we had parties on beaches. I work on so many different events, in so many different places, that I never like to put myself in one box.


MA: What’s your favorite aspect of your job?

GL: Meeting people. The human side and the encounters, that’s really all I’m interested in because that’s how I put energy into what I do and how I get energy to organize and design a party. Having the opportunity to work with very different people is a real pleasure. In your head, everyone has different images of what they want. That’s why I usually ask the client to give me three or four images they like and, based on that, we create the décor. The pleasure of this job is to please. We are entrusted with an important day, and we have to respect it and respond to the client’s wishes as best we can.

Guendalina Litta

MA: What is the most difficult?

GL: Even if there are difficult moments, we try to overcome them. Always try to see the glass half full. What is very important is that there is trust, with my teams and with the client. Otherwise, the real challenge is the weather. Even if we generally know 48 hours in advance the weather with the airport forecasts, we have to be ready to change everything if necessary. With good teams, we always find solutions.


MA: Has the job evolved since you started?

GL: Yes, completely. I’m probably going to make you laugh, but at the time, we were looking for service providers in telephone directories. Now, telephone directories are museum pieces. From time to time, my 26- and 28-year-old children make fun of me and they put me back in my place by saying: “Mom, stop, you’re so has-been.” Then, at a certain age, everyone has their own knowledge and their own culture. For example, I am a fan of the painter Thierry Bosquet who painted all the theater sets for fifty years. He is a source of inspiration. You need a minimum of historical landmarks to have the right proportions, the right colors and the right references because, in our events, we draw everything and build everything to measure.


MA: Since Covid-19, what is the situation?

GL: It’s the total unknown. We’ll see what happens when the festivities resume. Maybe we will invent rolling carts to serve food? When we have clear directives, we can start working seriously again. We need to put in the right energy and be ready to go again.


MA: How do you see the future?

GL: I have an agreement with the people I work with that says everything is postponed until April 2021. The parties that we are given are huge investments. It’s also a lot of stress. What we advise our private clients today is to have small meetings and, as soon as we can, we’ll organize big parties.

Do we know what will happen in six months? No. For now, we have to live with it and keep our distance. If we have to test every person that comes to work, we will do it and, on the guests’ side, we hope that they will do it themselves. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t make sense to have parties of 60 people right now, because there is neither the spirit nor the desire.


MA: What are your other projects in the meantime?

GL: It’s like a party: as soon as you finish something, a new project comes to mind. I already have a third and fourth book in mind. I hope I won’t have time to finish them, because that will mean we’re back to work! I will see how customers react to this book. Anyway, I like it.

Guendalina Litta

Dream Makers: Bespoke Celebrations by Guendalina Litta,

published by Éditions Flammarion, scheduled for release on October 14, 2020