It was love at first site when we came across Sous Style—a kind of modern-day girl’s entertaining guide that’s irresistibly chic and useful. Launched in 2011, it’s the brainchild of Aussie-born Pippa Lord, the former photo director at Elle. What’s most appealing about Sous Style is that it’s completely inclusive—it’s just as much geared toward the girl who whips up a three-course meal on a random Wednesday as it is to the girl who uses her oven to store her cashmere sweaters in the summer. With the holidays just around the corner we checked in with Lord to get the scoop on the philosophy behind Sous Style, her entertaining uniform, and why she’s perfectly content being the girl who is a “work in progress.”
Why did you start Sous Style?
A couple of years ago I got really into food and home, but there was no place online talking to a girl like me. All other sites and magazines were talking to someone much older or who appeared to be perfect. I created a platform that embraced the kind of woman I can identify with–the ‘work in progress.’ I wanted to offer an alternative that felt sexy and aspirational but always obtainable.
What do you like about entertaining?
It's so important to open your home and share an experience that connects in a way that can't be done in a crowded restaurant. My version of entertaining is about having a friend over for a coffee or cocktail after she's been dumped, watching a movie with awesome popcorn, or serving yourself breakfast in bed. I want entertaining to feel natural instead of intimidating.
What’s your fail-proof, oh-I-just-whipped-this-up dish that you'll cook for someone special?
Baked fish. One nice piece of fish, mix up some fabulous herbs, a dash of oil, wrap it in parchment paper, and stick it the oven for 20 minutes. Then serve with K.I.S.S. salad (keep it sexy simple salad) and quinoa. When I have kids this will be my version of a TV dinner.
What’s your best kept entertaining secret?
I make my own herb and seasoning mixes, which I keep in the pantry. When I have company I'll mix it up with a yogurt or sour cream and serve with crudité.
What’s the one thing you’ll splurge on for a dinner party?
Flowers—they’re a game changer. Or a specialty cocktail with some chic bitters or syrup.
What's your take on assigned seating?
Never sit couples together. Always mix it up. Identify the 'chatty Kathy entertainers' who always have a great story to share and strategically seat them so they spark conversation among the quieter guests.
Go-to dinner party hostess outfit?
I love wearing an apron. I'm a wannabe Stepford wife! It just means I’m in ‘work mode’ but I always have something extra fabulous on underneath. Dress up—even if you're at home!
Paper or digital invites?
I love an email with an awesome image attached to it—nothing too formal in order to keep expectations in check. I also think it's super cool to keep it low key and invite guests via text. That way it feels a little more spur-of-the-moment and exclusive.
—By Nandita Khanna
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