Vanity Fair Oscar Party: An Exclusive Look at This Year’s Design

For the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar party, designers Basil Walter and Will Cooper looked to the past. It was, after all, the 30th anniversary of the legendary event, where A-listers assemble to celebrate the biggest night in movies. Yesterday, stars like Joan Collins and Chloë Sevigny began arriving early to watch the Academy Awards from the party’s plush kilim-covered seating by George Smith. Later, Oscar-winners like Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan and Poor Things actor Emma Stone arrived, trophies in hand, to celebrate inside the red wonderland Walter and Cooper created.

Basil Walter and Will Cooper

Photo: Krista Schlueter

“When we were starting to think about where this was going, it was interesting to take a look back at where it began,” says Cooper, former creative director of Ash. The party started in 1994, when it was a considerably smaller-scale dinner at the now-shuttered West Hollywood steakhouse Mortons. By the end of the decade, the event had grown to the point where Walter was enlisted to temporarily expand the restaurant.

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Outside the event

Photo: Krista Schlueter

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A closer look at the kilim seating and red-and-purple floral arrangements.

Photo: Krista Schlueter

Nowadays, the exclusive soiree is held in a temporary 30,000-square-foot structure that is erected in just three weeks. After the Academy Awards, it takes about a week to take down. “We’re putting up a building and then trying to dress that building,” as Walter puts it. Clearly, that’s no easy task in any time frame, but after over two decades of architecting the party, he has mastered the art. Certain components get used year after year, and what he refers to as the team’s collective “unconscious resistance to the notion of change” tends to set in, he admits, something he hoped to avoid this time around.

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The dining area, where Old Hollywood glamour meets technology thanks to the TV wall.

Photo: Krista Schlueter

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