Holiday Table Linen

Holiday Table Linen

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The French are firm believers in ‘les arts de la
table’, the arts of the table, which accentuate the importance of the
food and make a meal a memory by catering to all the senses. You can
buy books on the subject; French women often attend fairs or
seminars—the competition for a fine looking table is fierce, especially
during holiday season. As the winter holidays come round, festive table
settings are featured in all the magazines.

Galeries
Lafayette has table linen with Christmas and New Year’s themes, as well
as their regular selections; shelves are bulging with choices at this
time of year. Christmas linens tend to be red and green, or
specifically themed to the holiday, while New Year’s means gold or
silver or lush champagne hues of beige and cream. Most of the tabletop
accessories are sold from the basement level (sous sol) of Galeries
Lafayette, but holiday table linen is also sold from the linen
department on the fourth floor. There is also an exhibit of holiday
tables at the edge of the table linen department, near where blankets
are sold—meant to inspire the shopper and/or hostess.

Just
about every maker of everyday linen has either linen specifically
created for the holiday or patterns that lend themselves to the
season—such as the red and green printed ‘Forestier’ print from Les
Olivades, which is a deep rich ruby red and forest green print that
feels like Christmas but actually has nothing whatsoever which is
Christmas-y about it. Anne de Solene is best known for her jacquard
linens; she has several dressy choices with a few on promotional offers
which have been chosen as New Year’s suggestions or for those who like
an elegant and understated Christmas table. Because the French invented
the jacquard loom—which allows a pattern to be stitched into a woven
cloth through a design worked out mathematically on a card—many firms
sell jacquard patterns.

The
most famous status brand is perhaps Jacquard Francaise, but many houses
have the style and price points vary. Because they do not fade as
prints do, jacquards are a local favorite. Nydel is the mass-market
version of Jacquard Francaise—the Bolero pattern has fruits and grapes
dancing across the border and comes in a variety of subtle shades.
Garnier Thiebault is known for jacquards in bright colors and even has
a new year’s print of exploding champagne bottles. Jacquard Francaise
has a print called Dimanche a Megeve, which is a ski print of winter
charm without religious overtones, it’s not dissimilar from the design
Jean-Charles Castelbajac has created for the holiday gift bags at
Galeries Lafayette, proving this to be the “in” design statement of the
season.

When it comes to
traditional French prints on table linen, no one does silk screens
better than Beauville which has almost one dozen different holiday
choices, some with winter themes, others directed at Christmas or even
religious designs with angels and cherubum. For small holiday gifts to
bring back, take a look at the holiday themed prints in the Lafayette
Collection that boasts six different patterns (mostly teddy bears or
snowmen) in oven mitts, aprons and serving towels. Of course buying the
linen is only the start to a proper holiday table—along with the dishes
and silver and crystal there’s small decorative touches: candles are a
must, small center–pieces are preferred so you can see the other guests
at table and ribbons or glitter strewn across the table are considered
easy touches for a festive air.

Copyright (c) Suzy Gershman

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