Delaney judges the tabletop competition at The Hampton Classic's Grand Prix VIP tent

The Kelli Experience

First-place winner, Sasha Bikoff of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design, surrounded by HC&G publisher, Pamela Eldridge and guest-judge, Kelli Delaney. Independent/ Richard Lewin
The winning table by Sasha Bikoff of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design. Independent/Ty Wenzel

While riders contended for a chance to win the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix presented by Douglas Elliman, there was another competition gearing up outside of the ring. Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, along with guest judge Kelli Delaney of KD Hamptons, presented the annual VIP Tabletop competition. Designers, decorators, hosts, and hostesses all pulled out the stops to create breathtaking table décor to celebrate the Hampton Classic’s Grand Prix Sunday.

“This year was better than any other!” stated Delaney on her @kdhamptons Instagram. “Loved seeing all of the inspired new designs and young newcomers to this historic tradition.”

What does Delaney look for in a winner? “I look for creative and inspiring design concepts,” she told HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens). “Which could be presented through a mix of patterns and linens, vintage pieces mixed with a modern twist, incorporating food into the décor, unexpected flower arrangements, and personalized details that reflect the host of the table.”

The competition was steep, but in the end Stephanie Brown Beamer for English Country Home took home the third-place prize. Delaney credited the details, purple power, and gorgeous flowers from Arthur Golabek for the win.

The second-place winner was the Chateau D’Esclans table for Whispering Angel, designed by Christy Doramus, where the judge loved the handmade menus.

And, drumroll please . . . The grand prize went to interior designer Sasha Bikoff. “The inspiration for the table was unicorn themed,” said Bikoff on Instagram. “You have all this iridescent and vintage glassware and a unicorn themed tablescape.”

She “infused a charming unicorn spin on equestrian chic,” said Delaney. The “whimsical unicorn themed table had me won over at first glance.”

Delaney gives Indy the inside scoop.

Second place winner was Chateau D’Esclans for Whispering Angel. Independent/Richard Lewin

You must be very excited about judging the HC&G Hampton Classic Grand Prix tabletop competition again! How did you get involved with this prestigious event?

Hamptons Cottages & Gardens is my favorite magazine because it showcases all of the things I enjoy most about life on the East End: design, architecture, home, entertaining, and garden. I have written a few pieces for the magazine and love to contribute on any projects with the publisher Pamela Eldridge and editor-in-chief, Kendell Cronstrom, who have become great friends. Because Kendell knows of my tabletop design obsession, he thought I would be a great fit to be the judge and I was thrilled to accept! This was my third consecutive year judging.

It must be so difficult choosing a winner as the tabletop designs are all so unique and beautiful. What criteria do you look for when you’re judging?

I look for creative and inspiring new design concepts. I love to see a curated mix of patterns, styles, flowers, and linens. Sometimes I like a modern twist on design and other times I love to see surprising antiquities incorporated into the décor. Unexpected and bold flower arrangements are a favorite of mine as well as personalized details which reflect the host of the table, like monogramming.

Have you noted any trends this year that you hadn’t seen in past years? 

The equestrian theme will always reign supreme, but I do feel this year I saw a new youthfulness to the competition. Many table hosts hired young designers to come up with out of the box ideas for their tabletops that reflected the Hampton Classic but also shared a fresh new vibe.

What did you feel set the Bikoff table apart to win first place tablescape this year? 

Sasha incorporated art, pop culture, playfulness, and charm into her “Unicorn Forest” tabletop design which was stacked with pretty pastel colors, patterns, and heaps of fabulous flowers. I also love the unexpected mix of design resources Sasha used to create the table which included affordable Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie pieces, as well as extravagant La Maison Pierre Frey fabrics and floral arrangements by Missi Flowers.

You’re a lifestyle and garden influencer on Instagram. Where does your aesthetic come from?

My Instagram really reflects my daily Hamptons lifestyle and what I am most passionate about, which is home, garden, and design. I currently have 35K followers which sounds like so many, but ironically, I feel quite connected to so many of them whom I have never even met.

Like me, they love to watch my garden grow and expand each season. I share a lot of planting tips, as well as cooking, home decor projects, and party planning ideas. It’s so fun to hear feedback from followers and also take a peek into their lifestyle as well.

Your background is as a creative director and fashion editor in NYC for publications like Glamour magazine and others. How did you find yourself on the East End and what do you love most about it? 

I launched KDHamptons, the Luxury Lifestyle Diary of the Hamptons, in the summer of 2011, after I moved out east full time to marry my husband Dr. Mark Kot. My webzine (as I like to call it) focuses on the alluring people, places, beauty, and glamour that comprise the true DNA of the Hamptons. I enjoy giving our readers an authentic taste of everything this exclusive community has to offer: lifestyle and home features, real estate, coverage of social events and parties, fashion and beauty features, profiles on local icons and artists, and a focus on the farm-to-table culinary scene.

After spending 15 years in NYC working in publishing at national fashion, beauty, and celebrity news publications including: Allure, Glamour, Celebrity Living, Star Magazine, and Us Weekly, I was ready to begin a new chapter in my life based in the country, not the concrete jungle.

To learn more about Kelli, go to www.kdhamptons.com or follow @kdhamptons. To read more about the event and Kelli’s involvement in it you can go to HC&G’s post or follow @cottagesgardens.

3rd place winner was Stephanie Brown Beamer for English Country Home. Independent/Richard Lewin