The event planner injecting style into the island
Former self-confessed wild-child Tor Cooper-Evans seems much too sensible and focused to have ever attracted that sobriquet. Nevertheless, she smiles broadly at the memory of her wayward teenage years, when describing the disciplines she now has to employ as a successful, high-profile event planner – both here in Mallorca and in the United Kingdom. “Tor” or, more accurately, Victoria Cooper-Evans comes from a happy two-sibling family with a father who became the European managing director of the world’s largest advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson. In fact, Tor is unassumingly very posh, having attended a number of fashionable private schools and eventually gained a degree in Psychology at London’s Guildhall University.
Because of her childhood nickname, I, and many others, have assumed that she would be a Scandinavian of some description – perhaps a strapping lass with elongated vowels and an earnest work ethic? The work ethic is about right, but Tor is certainly not dour: she is petite and blonde, with bright intelligent eyes and enviable cheek bones.
At the age of 37, Tor has operated in and around Mallorca for a number of years in the event-planning industry; she has shared her time here with various prestigious projects in the UK and is now tasked to establish the Ibiza-based Deliciously Sorted on the Balearics’ largest island. I asked her the slightly self-conscious question: what are her best virtues? “I’m terribly well organized, I have to be a good planner and enjoy team work.” She then flashed a quick smile and confessed to being “extremely stubborn but usually manage to keep my cool, whatever the situation.”
Tor Cooper-Evans started her career in event management for the London-based company Atomic Events at the age of 23, so she could certainly be described as a veteran in her field – something that I alluded to, but she elegantly ignored. The point I was clumsily trying to make, is that Tor – with her wide experience of social, corporate and cultural events – clearly knows what she is doing.
Eventually, she grudgingly agreed that the public relations and event industries have sometimes in the past have been badly served by inexperienced “wannabes” who fancy putting-on-a-party but lack basic project management skills, and sadly the results usually reflect that fact. Tor illustrated this syndrome brilliantly: “These people are why I hate balloons: some planners stick a couple of ‘goodie-bags’ on the table, rig-up a bunch of balloons and that’s it – party time!” She really does hate balloons, it’s a sort of sign of the anti-Christ for Tor . . . rather like an everyday cheese pizza becomes “Hawaiian” the moment tinned pineapple-chunks are plonked on top of it; so, balloons, on occasions can indicate the very nadir of social aspirations. We both agreed that people should get shot for using them on anything other than a children’s tea-party. I like Tor very much.
For a number of years, Tor has worked with a host of international marketing companies where she was commissioned to organise and manage product launches for luxury brands such as Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Philosophy Skin Care and The Beckhams’ range of products. In that time she has rubbed shoulders with many an “A- list” celebrity and after a little gentle prodding from me she confessed that the public’s perception of certain modern female icons “is way off the mark.” For instance, the model, actress and businesswoman Elizabeth Hurley, who doesn’t enjoy the best “press” in the UK media, was described as “absolutely lovely,” whilst the statuesque Australian model Elle McPherson (a particular favourite of mine) was, ahem . . . “Not as nice as she looks!” However, Tor’s biggest praise was for actress and fashion guru Sarah Jessica Parker, “She is the nicest person I have worked with; Sarah was brilliant and had a kind word for everybody. Her clothes were immaculate and her shoes were to die for.” After these juicy snippets of insight, Tor raised the drawbridge on her professional discretion and gave away nothing more than a knowing smile. Oh well!
Part of Tor Cooper-Evans’ new role for Deliciously Sorted is to stimulate corporate events as well as accommodating the growing wedding market plus social, musical and cultural events. In all of these areas, Cooper-Evans could be managing six major contractors and up to forty of their staff to deliver an event. “I like to think that I have the capacity to keep cool under pressure and stay in control of the inevitable stress that event management can bring,” is Tor’s measured reply to my inquiry about coping with pressure. “Like most professional planners I can be working on as many as two events a week, as well as talking to potential clients about projects that might be a year away.”
As we discussed various event scenarios I got the distinct impression that Tor felt that although Mallorca was easily the most economically important of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza constantly stole-a-march on its big brother in terms of attracting large scale events of any description.
She explained: “I really think that Mallorca has to up-its-game and get away from its comfort zone of Palma-centric events that – although they are funky, young and fashionable – don’t spread very far from the city limits.” She agreed that Palma was still the mecca in terms of cultural life here, but bemoaned the fact that so little imagination is vested in other events and activities around the island.
Interestingly, Tor made the point that many events held on the island would not be out-of-place if they had been held in 1985. As Ibiza became seriously “cool,” Mallorca continued with a few notable exceptions, to be the stamping-ground of the two-week family holidaymaker and the complacently conservative over-fifties. Safe I’m sure but, as Tor pointed out, “hardly innovative or exciting.” So then, the woman who started her career working for The Galapagos Island Conservation Trust is looking to inject some style and panache into what she believes to be Mallorca’s unadventurous event scene. You go girl!
Photos by Michael Bowless