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How to throw a wild party

We team up with ASOS to get art director Lotte Andersen’s ultimate guide to putting on a good night

The festive season is fast approaching, which means one thing: parties, and lots of them. Throwing your own can seem like a daunting task – where to have it, what music to play, what theme you should have (if any)… But the pressures of hosting don’t phase Lotte Andersen, art director and founder of one of London’s most exciting parties of the last five years. We teamed up with her and ASOS to create the ultimate party how-to – seen here alongside gifs of Andersen and her two friends, Wilson Oryema and Scarlett Maguire, modelling some of the retailer’s best going out looks.

Moving partying away from commercial club nights and inflated drinks prices, Andersen’s events were and are about bringing people together for a good time – a simple ethos, but one that can easily get lost. Making the most of the tools at her fingertips, she’s a firm believer that an unforgettable night out can be conceived with little more than a roll of masking tape, good music and the right crowd. Whether you’re a seasoned host or hostess, or a complete novice, here are Andersen’s top tips on throwing a great party.

THINK CREATIVELY WHEN IT COMES TO VENUES

“Think about the kind of party that you want to throw, and start from there. You need to stand in venues, sit in them and be a bit quiet, and start imagining scenarios that happen at the party. Like, ‘What it would be like to go to the bar?’ Imagine that experience. Imagine your favourite song playing, and where the sound system should be. It’s as straightforward as that. And you need somewhere with a little nook or cranny where people can go and make out – I think that’s really important.

“Personally, I don’t like working with venues that other people have used, as I feel like people remember that night and can’t help comparing it to that. When I throw a party, I want someone to have a standalone experience in a situation that I’ve created.”

DON’T GET HUNG UP ON TECHNICALITIES...

“For me, it’s always about the vibe in the room, the mood and the right tune coming on at the right time. You can be the most technically gifted DJ, but if you can’t sense a room and play the right track, no one is interested…

“My personal favourite – the only slot I ever want to do or have done – is the opening slot, which is the one that people don’t usually want. I think that first slot sets the tone; it’s the introduction that everyone then follows through with. I should mention that my father, DJ Toby Andersen, plays every party I do – he’s reliable, professional and he’s got 30 years experience behind him.”

...BUT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD SOUND SYSTEM (OR RENT ONE)

“The last party I threw was called ‘In From the Back’, a guerrilla art party, with Jackson Boxer, on the opening night of Frieze Art Fair. There are all these swanky art dos and dinners, which sounded quite stuffy, so a bunch of us (James Massiah, Crack Stevens and Hannah Perry) threw the most obscene party. We let all our mates in through the service entrances of this crazy hotel, into a massive art deco crystal bar... Anyway, at 5pm I’d had a fit because the speakers were the size of caterpillars... So by 12 I ended up grabbing a speaker and holding it over my head out of anxiety and terror that nobody could hear anything!”

“You can be the most technically gifted DJ, but if you can’t sense a room and play the right track, no one is interested…” – Lotte Andersen

BE CLEVER WHEN IT COMES TO THEMES AND DRESS CODES

“I can’t stand dress codes, they’re so naff. I like the idea of introducing an overarching idea or reason for a party, like a manifesto. I don’t like mindless partying, I’m into sensation, euphoria and a focus. I think about why a party should exist, what’s happening in the world – my parties are reactive. I think it’s about approaching hedonism that way around. The nice thing about themes is that they bring everyone together, but maybe try and be not so obvious about it. I love the idea that people have a reason to celebrate.”

PUT COMFORT FIRST

“It depends if I’m throwing the party or going to a party! If it’s my party and I’m working, decorating and making it all come together, I’ll wear loafers, flat shoes, big pockets, 501s and a white t-shirt. When it comes to going out, whenever I wear heels and dresses, the girls in flats look so much cooler. There’s nothing worse than being overdressed… That said, I’ve started wearing heels again in the last six months, which makes me about 6ft tall! I think it goes back to just feeling comfortable in whatever you wear.”

“In terms of hosting, I always think that I’m leading by example. Smile, dance and enjoy yourself: it gives everyone else a sense of permission to do the same” – Lotte Andersen

CREATE THE SPACE YOU WANT TO EXIST

“I’m a control freak, so throwing parties gave me the space to build an environment, a night, a party the way I wanted. With Maxilla, I used the posters to express my feelings about the world and also nudge people into letting go. I was trying to create a night that didn’t exist in London, a social club for friends and like-minded people to dance, sweat and let go in.

“In terms of hosting, I always think that I’m leading by example. Smile, dance and enjoy yourself: it gives everyone else a sense of permission to do the same. Even when things go wrong, you’ve gotta think, ‘This is about having fun.’ I remember someone walking up to one of my DJs, leaning over the booth to pull up the track – I imagine to some organisers that would be the cardinal sin, but to me it’s all hilarious. Screw stale parties.”

Head here to shop ASOS men’s and women’s party wear