Quino’s 1st Birthday: A Tribute To Wes Anderson



If someone were to ask, say, what do I do for a living, and it’s the busy middle of the day, I would say, “I decorate kiddie parties” and leave it at that.

If, however, you caught me as the day ebbs away and in a more romantic mood, I would probably be more inclined to say, “I transport children (and adults) into a visual dream as they celebrate occasions that matter to them.”

So, what is event styling?

Why it’s magic, of course.

How else could you explain the conjuring of this scene, out of The Grand Budapest Hotel, or that twinkle in both parent’s eyes as they look upon their child in wonder?

Our version of the lobby in The Grand Budapest Hotel, color graded to deep red.

THANK YOU to Delightful Little Darlings for these images!

Quino as a very irresistible Lobby Boy. He will definitely receive generous tips from the guests!

Someone famous once said, “A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points“. Where a person might see balloons, a grass wall, and some decor pieces scattered here and there, I see color palette, thematic composition, visual cues, mixed materials, and texture. It’s not enough that the ceiling is “filled to the brim” (in Filipino, punong-puno). What, exactly, is it filled of? Why is it filled of those things? Why to the brim? Why not just filled to just a tasteful level? What colors are they made of? Everything you put on that ceiling has to mean something.

It has to be magical, or at least almost indistinguishable from magic.

Of course, that’s just me and my unique take on the profession. It’s actually not even a “profession”, but more of a craft, a passion, a dedication.

And that, my friends, is why it’s called Party Magic, and not some other name.


Although I have always enjoyed it when I get a chance to work with friends, it’s made extra special when those friends and I meet eye to eye on the theme! Mommy Val more specifically asked for a Wes Anderson themed party for her dear Quino, and I couldn’t be happier to oblige.

The triumvirate was completed when we were joined by Pat The Lion, Party Magic’s graphic artist, who is also a self-professed Wes Anderson fan! Needless to say no no nudging and prodding was necessary with Pat in designing the invite.

The inspiration is self-evident in the finished product:

I’d say that it’s a rather bold, unusual choice of design for an invitation (for example, the layout is definitely non-traditional), but nevertheless delightfully proportional, balanced, and aesthetically pleasing. In other words, straight out of the Wes Anderson playbook!

If you haven’t noticed, the elements in the invitation were all taken from iconic objects in various Wes Anderson films, such as the Lobby Boy cap and Mendl’s patisserie packaging from The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the Dear Suzy letter and fur cap from Moonrise Kingdom.


Perhaps the one thing that viewers most often associate with Wes Anderson is his sophisticated choice of color palette / color grading. For example, there’s the deep browns and autumn yellows of Fantastic Mr. Fox:

Not to mention, the rich shades of pink in The Grand Budapest Hotel:

Of course, if the whole movie were in pink, your eyes would be desensitized to the point of not being able to notice and appreciate all the pinks. So, contrast must be introduced, mostly via reds and purples:

For Quino, I had the good fortune of being able to decorate two venues: the Turf Room and Banyan Garden in Manila Polo Club. We agreed that the Turf Room would depict The Grand Budapest Hotel. You’ve already seen the “lobby” area, where it is mostly painted in deep red:

The Turf Room itself though, lent itself to a more eclectic feel:

I found that by mixing various design elements you can come out with something unexpected yet something that still “works”. By doing so, I hoped to recreate the feel of elegance of an Eastern European hotel.


The Banyan Garden is situated right beside the Turf Room, with just a hallway separating both venues. While Turf Room is somewhat dim and cozy, Banyan Garden had the potential to be something more bustling and exuberant.

We placed a roof over the whole garden (using a clear tent), so that the guests would be able to enjoy the sunshine along with some protection from the elements. This afforded Den and her photographers the opportunity to take these wonderful, daylight-rich pictures:

The setting of Banyan Garden is Camp Ivanhoe, the fictional summer camp attended by protagonist Sam Shakusky. Because it was supposed to be a “camp”, it also made sense to put all the kids activities, food carts, and dessert table in the tent as well!


In the end, anyone can cite Wes Anderson’s greatness through his attention to detail, his color palette, his production design, and still not get to the very essence. For me, Wes Anderson films are about the celebration of children, their inner genius, and the child inside every adult. This is what makes him the perfect subject (and theme) for a children’s birthday party.

A masterful cake creation by Cottontail Cake Studio.

A happy, happy birthday to the cutest lobby boy in the world, Quino!



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Michelle Lao

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By Michelle Lao

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