How to Host a Relaxed Dinner Party Like an Italian

At the root of Western philosophy, there is a dinner party. Whether fictional or real, the Ancient Athenian supper that Plato recounts in his “Symposium” has all the familiar outlines of our own modern gatherings: drunkenness, attempts at moderation, cures for hiccups, a “no shoes” policy, surprise drop-in guests, flirtations — not to mention some gentle ribbing, one-upmanship and a long, heated discussion of love.

Brunello Cucinelli, founder of his namesake luxury fashion brand, appreciates the example set out by Socrates and others around that long-ago table. “A dinner party contains the flavor of life,” says the lifelong host, who gathers together hundreds of friends, clients, journalists and fashion cognoscenti at every edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence for his own dinner party, which has become one of the most anticipated events of the week.

Cucinelli advocates for…

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