It seems you can throw the word "virtual" before every aspect of life these days. Virtual meetings. Virtual happy hours. Virtual dates. So, it's only natural that the concept would seep into holiday vernacular. Yes, this year, it seems virtual holiday parties and gatherings will be the trend du jour. But that doesn't mean you have to scrimp on the luxe trimmings and festive decor — just ask Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis. The dynamic design duo (and real-life couple) behind lifestyle company JSN Studio and stars of Netflix's Styling Hollywood explain that just because you spent most of the year in sweat pants, doesn't mean the holidays have to go low-key, too.
"I tell everyone, especially from a styling point, to take it to the max [this season]," says Bolden, celebrity fashion stylist to stars like Cynthia Erivo and Taraji P. Henson, to TZR. "This is your chance. Maybe wear that one thing you've been wanting to put on all year. Do your makeup and have your moment."
And that goes for your home, as well. Whether you're hosting a small intimate gathering, going virtual with friends, or dining solo, Curtis encourages taking holiday decor to the next level with beautiful florals, thoughtful lighting, and the little details like that good china or brass candle holders you never use. "Lighting sets the mood, and candlelight just makes everyone look beautiful," says the interior designer (whose clients include Gabrielle Union and Ava DuVernay). "Then, bring out the little things that you'd use for a formal dinner, like your nice napkins."
Now, in full transparency, the reason the two feel so passionately about living large this season is probably due to their collective devotion to all things Christmas. "I dive so deeply into the holidays," says Bolden. "Every year, we're the house on the block that everybody drives by and says, 'There's the Curtises!' We just love the idea of celebrating and creating new traditions."
For their own Los Angeles abode, Bolden says he and Curtis "lean into flowers and chic decanters" to make their home feel like a welcoming lounge during the holiday season. "I love a branch," says Curtis in reference to holiday foliage. "It doesn't have to be something that's alive. For instance, cherry blossoms may not be in season but that sort of branch looks really beautiful, simple, and clean in a planter." Bolden, however, prefers his flowers in full bloom, saying he always displays roses somewhere in the house.
Even Zoom parties, which seem like they'd call for less pomp and circumstance, should be approached with a touch of grandeur. "It's about gathering things that are really important to you," says Curtis. "That may potentially be a food item, a decor item, or something from your personal style. Make sure the space looks beautiful around you. Cozy up around the idea of, 'We’re gonna live grand but in our own spaces.'" Bolden suggests adding a festive DIY cocktail to the mix, featuring celebratory spirits like pink champagne and Grand Marnier. "Drinks set the tone and help bring a feeling of joy and lightness to the moment," says the red carpet stylist.
And whether or not you're entertaining this year or participating in a variety of Zoom parties, the stylish couple insists you don't need to entertain a large crowd to have a memorable moment. In fact, it's in these smaller, more intimate affairs that you can truly connect, says Bolden: "I think we're going to keep things intimate this year and really take the time to talk and truly catch up with people we want to see and be around." I'll drink to that.