Monday, November 24, 2008

The Polished Table

"White damask tablecloths and starched napkins - rarely is there an easier way to display luxury. They signal a house where everything is properly run and there's a great attention to detail."
- William Yeoward's Party Pointers, Southern Accents, November/ December, 2008

This is recent evidence that crisp white linen damask is still the most elegant and handsome holiday table covering. As one considers where to begin a holiday dinner or party, the first order of business is how to dress and set the table. The right tablecloth makes a statement and speaks louder than a wealth of other tabletop errors and evils. This seems a fine place to begin decor considerations. Not only because you will need to figure out what goes atop this textile, but also because you will want to have the appropriate tablecloth-saving tools on hand.

The Hostess has mixed feelings about the color white for a tablecloth because it can often lead to impossible-stain heartbreak. I understand and adore tables cloaked in white damask: Linen damask sparkles entirely on its own. It makes every pattern laid atop it look swank and dressy even when they are poor, abused, unpolished silver plate. White linen damask is often considered the gold standard in table covering in well appointed homes because it is unrivaled in textile simplicity and dimension all at once.

If it is the top notch, The Hostess is also attached to the potential silver standard: The colored linen damask cloth. Ages ago, Martha Stewart Living did a piece on turkey red damask for the holidays as collectors pieces: I have to agree that red cloths, both tonal and multi, have a certain warm and glamorous style. It is a blessing of this cloth group that the color disguises many stains as well. I have looked literally everywhere for them since and not found one of the quality that article identified, including a new search for this post. When I do locate a red which can dual with these magnificent weaves below, you will be the first know.

In the meantime, while I know these are costly, you will probably only ever need one if you take care of it. And handle it lovingly you will, because once you find the enchanting damask for your holiday table, it will become a piece you look forward to seeing and handling again and again. I promise you, laying it in a place of perfect honor whenever the occasions merits something magnificent coming to the center of the holiday gathering will never grow old.

Chrysanthemum, Double Damask, Thomas Ferguson Fine Irish Linens

Scroll, Double Damask, Thomas Ferguson Fine Irish Linens

Medici, Gracious Style Fine Linens. 100% linen and machine washable and dry-able!
Floral Essence, Schweitzer Linens

1 comment:

Pigtown-Design said...

OMG! I met William Yeoward in London last month. He's hilarious. I have a bunch of his wine glasses and chipped one :-( I stopped in his shop on the King's Road to see if they had a recommendation for someone to grind the chip out.