Hosting Tips

Style in Spades :: Pool Party in Rio

By Chanel Dror

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and we’re looking for any and every excuse to kick back and celebrate. So, when kate spade new york asked us to throw a pool party inspired by their latest collection, it was a total no-brainer. Bursting with vibrant colors, adorable toucan details and floral motifs, each piece channels the electricity of Rio de Janiero and brings instant cheeriness. I can’t think of a more fun and fabulous way to ring in the season, so without further ado, click through to see all the gorgeous details and pick up tips for making a big splash of your own this summer.

photography by nicole mlakar

Our gorgeous guests arrive. Nothing says “ready for summer” like oversized beach totes, cutoff jean shorts, sun hats and espadrilles.

pictured here: henry lane aubrey bag, tropical hutton lounge pant, via limoni aria totedella wedgeshenry lane lulu bagraya short in white

Ding dong! How perfect is the madison avenue collection capri cuff?

An abundance of fruit and savory Brazilian empanadas created a spread that was satisfying but still refreshing, and these ‘say the word’ tidbit plates were perfect for poolside snacking.

We took an imaginary stroll through the Ipanema Farmers’ Market to pick out the best of summer produce. Then we washed, sliced and carefully arranged the fresh fruit on a rustic wooden board for a show-stopping presentation. When it comes to a display like this, more is definitely more.

No Brazilian-themed party would be complete without freshly mixed glasses of the country’s national cocktail. Our hostess got dressed for the occasion in the hutton lounge pant and rio embellished cardigan, then got to pouring the caipirinhas.

How to make a caipirinha: In the bottom of a glass or pitcher, muddle lime wedges and fine sugar. Fill with ice cubes, top with white rum and stir well.

Camille wears the how do you do? bangle, tickle the ivories bangle, et cetera et cetera bangle and draw the line bangle.

Summer is officially served!

Savory pastries like Coxhina (chicken croquettes) and Risole de Camarão (shrimp-stuffed pastry) are super popular in Brazilian cuisine. We got ours from local gem, Rio’s Brazilian Cafe.

Pictured here: kate spade new york coasters‘say the word’ tidbit plates

Armed with her autumn sunglasses in tortoise and an insulated tumbler, Candice is ready for a day at the pool. Oh…and a super sweet toucan pendant necklace doesn’t hurt either!

These tracie sandals in black are the perfect summer staple, and look great even when they’re kicked off.

Looking for a way to spice up your summer parties? An oversized Jenga set gets a party-ready makeover with a few coats of colorful spray paint and instantly adds life to any gathering.

Pictured here: ziba sunglasses in geranium, gio geo scarf and for the birds toucan bangle

Snack break! Don’t hesitate to interrupt the festivities to offer guests refreshing popsicles. Pictured here: clean slate idiom bangle

Fresh Fruit + Coconut Pops


-fresh strawberries, hulled and slice thinly
-fresh kiwi, peeled and sliced
-frozen sliced peaches
-natural coconut water


  1. Carefully place fruit in popsicle molds. Use a popsicle stick to arrange to your satisfaction.
  2. Pour coconut water into mold and insert stick.
  3. Freeze overnight.

We made this fun paper fan garland, and it was the just the right pop of color against our neutral space.

Set out a well-curated record collection, and let your guess play DJ all afternoon.

Don’t have a photo booth ready? You’ll need nothing more than sidewalk chalk and a slab of concrete to create the perfect backdrop in a flash. We channeled one of Brazil’s greatest exports, the famed Carmen Miranda, and hand drew a fruit hat for guests to pose on top of.

pictured here: secret garden studs and cause a stir mini pendant in pink

Take a trip to the tropics with fresh coconut water sipped through on-theme crazy straws.

pictured here: toucan shirt and madison ave. collection capri earrings

pictured here: head in the clouds idiom bangle and right as rain idiom bangle

Getting silly on set! We dressed Lexi in (yes, all at once) the ziba sunglasses in geranium, autumn sunglasses in white crystal and tortoisearianna sunglasses in red floral pink and amalfi mosaic studs.

Did we mention that our shoot location had the most gorgeous courtyard? Bordered with jasmine-lined columns, we had to take a moment to splash around in the stone water fountain.

Selfie time… it had to happen.

Pictured here: toucan resin iPhone 5 case

The girls take a break from the action.

To really transport our guests to Rio, we adorned the space with small faux tropical birds — in our hair, on the hammocks and in the floral arrangements.

Pictured here: color dip crew neck sweater

Neon signs make everything better, don’t you think?

Wish you were here? This Lake Austin hacienda-style home is available to rent for your dream vacation.

This rio de jeaniero crocheted sun hat totally stole the show.

See more of Nicole’s photography here!