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One more way to simplify is to keep the logistics minimal. Paola doesn't bother with invitations—she just tells people which night she's picked for her festa, then they tell people who tell people. Around 7 p.m. she says, "We open the door and friends come." Lots of them.

Just as Paola's buffet fuses cultures and materials, so do her designs. She's photographed here with pieces from her Gingerbread collection for Lando, all of which update Victorian silhouettes—a parchment-covered chair, a wardrobe that hides a surprising cobalt blue interior, and a set of shelves with steel-reinforced Bassano ceramic vases as shelf supports.

Credits: Photo by Gentl & Hyers, styling by Sabine Tucker, food styling by Anne Disrude
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