A Little Night Music

High-society bandleader Stanley Paul throws an Old Hollywood–style party


In the dining area, a bronze folding screen adapted from an Edgar Brandt piece made famous at the 1925 Paris Exhibition sits above a mushroom-colored leather banquette and a black back-painted glass table.  ::: view gallery
 


Paul (pictured here) in front of frosted glass panels custom designed to evoke a French Art Deco style. He found the 1930s Steinway baby grand at an estate sale about 25 years ago. The silver frames, some brought back from trips to London, some inherited from his family, contain photos of relatives, friends, and his favorite stars.   ::: view gallery

Stanley Paul is Chicago’s kind of music man. The Pennsylvania native came here in 1964 to headline at the Pump Room in the Ambassador East hotel, and he never left. In that glamorous boîte, he entertained Bette Davis, Judy Garland, and other movie royalty passing through town. Everyone who was anyone jockeyed for a spot at Booth One to listen to him charm the crowd.

These days, while everything else in the world has changed, one thing has not. Chicago’s social elite still clamors for all things Stanley—his two orchestras are booked months in advance, and a private soirée at his Art Deco Hollywood Regency–style Old Town home is one of the most coveted raffle prizes on the city’s charity event circuit. Recently we were flies on the wall at just such an event, thrown to benefit the Illinois Eye Bank, and we witnessed the swankitude firsthand.

One of the biggest attractions of a party at Paul’s is his 1930s movie set of a home, where you wouldn’t be surprised to find Myrna Loy and William Powell sipping martinis in the next room. Paul flew in Parisian decorator Thierry Adam to create his French Art Deco entryway and other details throughout the space, then hired Michael Richman of Michael Richman Interiors to pick up where Adam left off.

The result is a free-flowing, guest-friendly space with a huge landscaped outdoor terrace that overlooks the city, its view encompassing the Sears Tower, the Hancock building, and everything between and beyond. On warm evenings, it’s the ideal spot for hobnobbing with the bandleader. But it’s only on rare occasions that the crowd gathers around the piano. “I don’t really like to play at my own parties,” says Paul.

 

Photography: Katrina Wittkamp

Share

Advertisement

Submit your comment