With a resume of one of the most sough-after event designers in the world,lifestyle expert, wedding registry, home décor and etiquette specialist, Jung Lee knows how to keep busy. The creator of stunning celebrations since 2002 for an exclusive roster of worldwide clients, Lee also has a home décor store in downtown New York City. JUNG LEE NY, known as her ‘residential lab’, offers everything from the perfect hostess and registry gifts, elegant furnishings, chic dishware and flatware, glamorous serving pieces, sophisticated stationery, glamorous garden accessories and more.
Lee changed the registry process from cookie-cutter to a bespoke adventure suited for the lifestyle of her clients with a customized registry service. We sat down with Jung to learn about her take on luxury, her personal style and how to be the best hostess this holiday season.
Kimberly Fisher: What does luxury mean to you?
Jung Lee: Luxury is subjective – it’s the best of something for you as an individual that makes you feel really great. It’s not about what’s most expensive or the best for everyone else, it’s about what makes you feel special.
KF: What is a necessary luxury in your life?
JL: The necessary luxury is the everyday luxury. I love using wonderful things to elevate simple, everyday experiences to make them feel really special. The things that you touch and interact with on a daily basis should delight you – especially in your home. I love having great soaps and lotions, and a really nice scented candle. Even what you have your morning coffee and granola in can feel special and luxurious if it’s in something you love. Thinking about ways to elevate all of these touch points that seem so simple, can really enhance the way you live every day.
KF: How would you define your personal style?
JL: I’m classic with an edge. I feel a little bit like a chameleon and that’s what I love. As a personal style I lean more feminine, but professionally I tend to be more tailored - and I enjoy both! I think we all have different sides to us, and I love playing with that. It’s boring to have just one style – part of living is experimenting. As an event designer, one has to be able to go into these different environments and live the part, dress the part, design for the part. It’s important to take on different types of personas and bring that to life via your lifestyle, how you dress and how you entertain.
KF: 3 Things You Can’t Live Without?
JL: Music – I need music on all the time
Photos – I love being surrounded by family photos.
Great food & drinks – Whether it’s out or at home, I can’t live without great food and drinks.
KF: One of your guilty pleasures?
JL: One of my guilty pleasures is binge watching a great show.
KF: Where will you be this holiday season?
JL: Hopefully somewhere warm! I need some warmth and relaxation with my family.
KF: You have been one of the most sought-after event designers in the business. What are some tips to planning the best holiday gathering this year?
JL: When it comes to holiday entertaining, I say keep it simple – you don’t want an elaborate party to become overwhelming and deter you from hosting. Getting people together is the main focus, and you can keep things easy, but still host in way that feels special and your guests will love.
I always think about food & drink, atmosphere and hospitality, as the main components to holiday entertaining. Have your food and drink with all of the accessories ready to go and laid out ahead of time- snacks on the counter, a full stocked bar, glassware and cocktail napkins out for people to help themselves. Dim the lights, and have lots of candles– and I love having a nice scented candle that smells like winter or the holidays. Play great Holiday music in the background with Pandora or a pre-made playlist. For design, bring in greens – magnolia leaves are beautiful and always remind me of the holidays and feel festive. To create the right atmosphere, try to hit all of the senses- think about what people are seeing visually, what they are smelling, what they are hearing…you can do this easily, and still have a big impact.
In terms of hospitality, I want guests to feel really welcomed and comfortable, especially when they first come in. But I also always include an element of fun. After all, the party needs to reflect who you are, so you should always inject elements that speak to you and show a flavor of who you are. To learn more or browse Jung Lee curated gifts, visit JungLeeNY.com.