ABOVE: NICKY BALESTRIERI AND LUIGI TADINI. PHOTO COURTESY OF NILAYA SABNIS
“I think a version of The Gathery has always existed in my mind,” explains Luigi Tadini of his New York-based creative consulting agency with Nicky Balestrieri. “There was a turning point in Provincetown a few summers ago when it became evident it was time to take the plunge and open our own company,” he continues. “The Gathery has always existed, really,” adds Balestrieri. “It’s name—a home to gatherers—is really how we describe our community of friends and collaborators. The team, the clients, the collaborators have followed us at each step of our careers. Our florist is a drag queen I used to work in clubs with 16 years ago.”
To date, The Gathery has worked with clients such as Creative Time, Lanvin, W Hotels, Remy Martin, Swarovski and Phillip Lim on anniversary dinners, CFDA award cocktails, and various campaigns. Balestrieri describes the agency’s mission as “Good design, graceful entertaining, globally-minded storytelling.”
Balestrieri and Tadini first met while working at Paper magazine, though they did not become real friends until a fateful trip to Provincetown. At The Gathery, the two founders work in tandem: “Luigi is the Anna. I’m the Grace,” jokes Balestrieri. “He writes the stories, and I bring them to life so we have very clear boundaries.”
Before joining Paper, both Balestrieri and Tadini had explored different facets of New York’s culture and media scene. To help pay for school fees while at NYU, Balestrieri worked as a nightlife promoter. “I discovered the work of nightlife through going out in SATC-era New York,” he recalls, citing clubs like Spa, APT, Lot 61, and Bungalow 8. Later, as he started producing shows and performances, Balestrieri was mentored by Lee Blumer, who helped produce Woodstock in 1969. Tagini began his career as a part-time fashion model and freelance writer, before trying fashion public relations (“I had to conform to sound bites and studied scripts. No bueno,” he says), having a television show for a Hamptons channel, and working as a freelance style consultant at GQ.
While Tadini grew up in a “hyper-creative environment” (his father’s family “have been in jewelry for over 70 years” and his sister is a musical theater actress in Brazil), Balestrieri describes his family as having a “bi-polar makeup.”
“My mother’s side were Mad Men-era Chicago advertising types and I had a pretty legendary grandmother who was a pioneer woman in U.S. newspaper journalism—she was the first female editor of the Chicago Tribune,” he explains. “My father’s side were Italian fishermen from Sicily who emigrated to San Diego. All the men on that side were Renaissance types—they fished, were architects, artists, chefs and joke tellers. Oh, and my mom helped invent Jazzercise in the 70s.”
As for the future, the two partners hope to “create more permanent design work for social spaces” and even break into high-end fashion show sets. “We call it Gathery 2.0.” says Tadini. “We want to explore areas that have been of creative interest to us both independently. I think the general idea is to develop things that are long lasting and don’t vanish in the course of an evening.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE GATHERY, VISIT THE COMPANY’S WEBSITE.