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Pia Getty
Town & Country(October 1998)

PIA GETTY

New York, New York

Pia Getty has a new job: she was recently made creative ambassador for Sephora, a forward-thinking French chain of cosmetics stores that have elevated buying beauty products to a nearly spiritual experience. For honey-haired Pia, this means being present at the opening of fourteen retail locations around the country before year's end. Between trips, she'll retreat with her husband Christopher and their three children to their newly renovated Manhattan residence. To relax, she plans to host the small dinner parties she favors in her kitchen--because the dining room's not quite finished. How do you most often use the room? "The kitchen is a cozy place where people feel relaxed, and we have most of our meals there" says Pia. "I like the occasional dinner party to be black tie, because the juxtaposition of dressing formally and eating in the kitchen is like playing dress-up." Size: A generous square. Appliances line two walls and are separated from the dining area by a marble-topped island; a country French table occupies the other half. "It's not like eating in a big, overwhelming dining room" says Pia of the space, where every inch is functional. Shape of the table: A rectangle, which seats eight comfortably. Lighting: Soft lighting glows from the cabinetry; votive and flail-size candles illuminate the table itself. Setting the table: Pia's style is a combination of formal and informal. "I've really always been a contradiction--I don't like pretension, but I love beautiful things. Mixing things up on the table is my way of finding a balance." Vintage wines, for example, go into everyday glassware. Pia doesn't like to use linens because of the starchy atmosphere they create; instead, silver chargers underline plates. "And I love blue-and-white china," she adds. "Otherwise, anything goes." Centerpieces: "I don't like fragrant flowers because the smells in the kitchen are already wonderful" says Pia. Instead, she scatters silver fruits and vegetables among small arrangements of orchids, or, during the holidays, real fruits and nuts. Number of dishwashers behind the scenes: One, a Miele. What she likes to serve: A chef often prepares Chinese food and serves it on a sideboard --"but dinners don't become cooking classes"

Pia maintains. "I like to serve spicy food, perhaps because I lived in Hong Kong until I was eight. I also love rack of lamb for special occasions, and Champagne is wonderful before dinner and with dessert --usually something chocolate" Unbendable rules: "Neither Christopher nor I have to be at the head of the table, but I do like to put witty people with witty people and intellectual guests with other intellectuals. That way, everyone feels comfortable."

A MANHATTAN KITCHEN DINNER

A MANHATTAN KITCHEN DINNER

CAVIAR WITH POTATO PANCAKES AND SOUR CREAM

CHILLED VODKA

CHAMPAGNE SORBET

BABY RACK OF LAMB

MIXED BABY VEGETABLES

CHATEAU LYNCH-BAGES (BORDEAUX)

PROFITEROLES WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM, CHOCOLATE SAUCE

CHAMPAGNE

COFFEE

LEMON COOKIES

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES