carly cushnie and oscar

Carly Cushnie and her husband, Oscar Cantu, like to celebrate life. Just check out their hashtag #teamoscarly on Instagram, where’ll you see pics of their colorful, Oaxacan-style wedding in Mexico City, complete with a procession of mojigangas, or huge puppets, dancing in the street, and flowering trees on the reception tables.

They bring that festive energy to their home in Brooklyn, too. There, they throw parties with their daughters, Santiago, 4, and Quincy, 3, that involve cooking, decorating, and dancing in the living room under a disco ball. Oh, and amazing tablescapes at their dinners.

In a past life, Cushnie founded and owned her eponymous fashion line (originally called Cushnie et Ochs). It was a hit with stars like Jessica Alba — the first big celebrity to wear it — Rhianna, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, and Ashley Graham. Her styles even found their way to the White House, becoming a favorite of the first lady at the time.

These days, Carly’s life is a bit more subdued but no less fulfilling. Here’s how she and Oscar like to roll.

Do you entertain a lot?

We used to throw big parties in the past, but COVID curbed that. But we have dinners here, and drinks parties. And birthdays.

Do you usually have a theme?

We went to Vietnam for our honeymoon and brought back all these Vietnamese lanterns. So, for one party, we lit the garden with them and did a kind of Vietnamese barbecue, and decorated as such. That was a theme, but it’s not always around a theme — usually we base it around food. There’s something my husband wants to cook, and then we decorate around that.

carly cushnie daughters birthday
carly cushnie birthday balloons

What about celebrating birthdays?

We normally do a family thing all together, dinner and cake and a little dance party at home. I recently had a big birthday, my 40th, so I celebrated a lot. We had a party with the girls, then an adults-only party. We moved out all the furniture, and I decorated the house with flowers, a disco ball, lights, and LED balloon thingies that created a bit of sparkle. We kept it simple — no theme, just an old-school house party.

Do you go all out for your daughters’ birthdays?

When they turned 3 and 4, it was the biggest party they ever had. They’re a year and a week apart, March 31 and April 8, so we have a party for them together. The weather was kind of iffy, so we moved the furniture and put a little bouncy house inside. It was kind of perfect, actually, a mish-mosh with a beautiful pink princess bouncy house, “Frozen” birthday cake, Mexican food, and drinks for the parents. And we had a piñata outside.

What’s your feeling about birthday gifts?

We give the kids birthday gifts, but my husband and I don’t do gifts. Instead, we do things for each other. We’ll take a trip or have a beautiful meal, or go to a restaurant, or he’ll cook something super, super special. It’s just about being together.

“In springtime, I love to have blossoms. It’s such a happy feeling — it brings joy.”

Carly Cushnie

Do your kids help with the cooking or entertaining?

We try to get them into food as much as we are; it’s something we love. So, for certain parties, we cook and they help make things. For Thanksgiving, I did the décor and desserts, my husband did most of the main dishes with friends, and the kids were all helping prep or roll the dough and cook. They came to the farmers market with me, laid out the table with things from there. We built a tablescape. They’re part of it.

Tell us about your tablescapes.

I do like to play with a table. I love to have fruits and vegetables or beautiful branches; I prefer low things so you can see and talk to everyone. I like to be inspired. Even shopping online for flowers, I like to see what’s new in and of the season.

In springtime, I love to have blossoms. It’s such a happy feeling — it brings joy. My girls just absolutely adore it.

carly cushnie mothers day tablescape

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

I like trees and plants. One Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a big tree; it’s in my living room. For some mothers, it’s all about being by themselves — which I totally get — but I just want to be with my kids all day. Oscar will cook with them and make me something like a nice brunch. Or we’ll go to a restaurant if no one’s having a meltdown…it’s touch and go.

What do you and Oscar do to keep the romance going?

For me, it’s more that he goes out of the way to cook something really special or something he’s never made before. Just the other day, I was actually mad at him, so he made me a dukkah; it’s a Mediterranean dish with toasted nuts and different spices and things. He said, “Am I forgiven?” I was like, “Yes. Thank you for my dukkah.”


Martha McCully is a writer and brand consultant who’s into wellness, design, health, wine, and science. She was formerly Executive Editor of In Style, founding Beauty Director of Allure, and judge on HGTV Design Star.

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