Malibu Seen

Sue Wong's dazzling fall collection helped set the stage for an elegant and unforgettable affair. Courtesy of Marsaili McGrath/Elevation Photos


Malibu designer Sue Wong is all about beauty, but her magic touch goes far beyond the fashion runway. That was clearly the case when Sue opened the doors of her legendary Los Feliz home called The Cedars. The 17th century Venetian-style landmark was built in the 1920s for silent film siren Norma Talmadge.

The designer recently spent three years and a small fortune restoring her palatial estate. She celebrated with a lavish 1920s masquerade ball that was like stepping back in time to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The crowd went all out in vintage tuxes, intricately beaded flapper dresses, frocks with fur, lace, fringe and ostrich feathers as well as all manner of imaginative headgear. Adding to the elegance, the guests were each given elaborately decorated masks made of rhinestones, gold leaf and glitter. “Welcome to Cedars,” Sue said, greeting her guests. “It’s wonderful to see everyone dress up.”

Stylish servers poured gin lemonade cocktails and made the rounds with retro fare like twice baked potatoes, tomato bisque with grilled cheese and mini ruben sandwiches. A swinging ’20s jazz band cranked out tunes of the era like “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” while a flock of gorgeous girls modeled dazzling dresses and glorious gowns from Sue’s 1920’s inspired collection. Mannequins meantime were set up around the house in stunning vintage creations like a beaded halter neck ball gown with silk charmeuse torso and scalloped organza skirt.

Hundreds of flickering votives and a roaring fire had the place all aglow as guests sailed past a carpet of rose petals. There were massive arrangements of white philodendron orchids and sexy pink heliconia. But flowers and candlelight merely set the stage for the achingly romantic interiors. Around every corner, there were Ruhlmann style tables, rich velvet drapery, intricately embroidered pillows, serious tassels, fringy lamps, period stained glass, bold deco paintings and decorative wrought iron accents.

What’s more, each room in the storied villa has a tale to tell. Howard Hughes is rumored to have played on the Solarium’s grand piano surrounded by gilded Ionian columns and bas relief lions. Jimmy Hendrix slept in the sumptuous Moroccan Room on a bed said to inspire erotic dreams. Other famous guests included everyone from Bella Lugosi to Dennis Hopper.

It was, to be sure, an evening that no one wanted to end. All this history, opulence and mystery made it tough to transition back to the 21st century. But once we returned to the real world, we did so knowing that when it comes to style, talented Sue Wong can do no wrong..