It’s the last 15 minutes before your guests are about to arrive. Your outfit is perfect, the aperitif is ready, the Champagne is on ice. The only thing left to do is hover around your table setting, adjusting and tweaking the placement of the cutlery, plates, napkins and flowers for the most dazzling impact. Whether you’re setting a table for an intimate dinner with friends or a banquet for 100 guests, the visual appeal is everything. It’s the moment where assembled guests will marvel at the display, compliment your decorations and become intrigued about the food and drink that will follow. For the most discerning of culinary entertainers, it has become a pre-dinner show. A theatrical setting staged with precision spacing, flawless symmetry, refined patterns and an essential touch of flair.
Turning this ritual for table perfection into an elevated art form is the Queen of party table design and renowned tablescaping maestro, Fiona Leahy. Irish born, Leahy, is routinely called upon to dress the most stylish dinner parties for everyone from Dita Von Teese, and Nat Rothschild to Stella McCartney, Dior and Louis Vuitton. Her statement style, ‘matchimalism’ is the stylistic layering of matching patterns from the table cloth through the napkins and tableware to create a bold and consistent impact. Leahy can create gothic drama with rich velvets, ornate candelabra and animal prints or evoke a spring meadow with cornflower blues, white cotton napkins and natural floral arrangements. One of her insider tips is to start with a printed table cloth you love and build up from there. She is inclined to use glass plates to allow the pattern to shine through.
One of her insider tips is to start with a printed table cloth you love and build up from there. She is inclined to use glass plates to allow the pattern to shine through.
With a special eye for detail and a unique knowledge of where to find all the best ornamentation, Leahy’s designs always include a personal touch. The red and white stripes that lined the interior of the first Louis Vuitton trunks inspired her setting for their 200th birthday feast. Elsewhere she has routinely used embroidery to great effect. Since 2011, her celebrity dinner party guests have enjoyed monogrammed napkin bows, a unique detail that doubles as a personal keepsake for guests to treasure after their dinner. For Leahy, every table setting should tell a unique and personal story and when it came to embroidery, she chose Hand & Lock every time.
Hand & Lock and Leahy’s designs were born of history and a deep love and respect for the historic craftsmanship practised by the central London embroidery atelier. Working closely with skilled embroiderers and expert embroidery designers, together they created a selection of cool and contemporary motifs for the lush ribbons
This year, Fiona Leahy joined Hand & Lock, London’s oldest embroidery house, to create a showstopping collection of Embroidered Napkin Bows available to the public. This simple but effortlessly elegant addition can add sophistication and character to any table settings.
Hand & Lock and Leahy’s designs were born of history and a deep love and respect for the historic craftsmanship practised by the central London embroidery atelier. Working closely with skilled embroiderers and expert embroidery designers, together they created a selection of cool and contemporary motifs for the lush ribbons.
Using heritage embroidery techniques, the Winter 2021 Collection celebrates the upcoming festivities with a wide choice of designs and colours.
All embroidered by hand, there is a Night Sky on a navy ribbon, a Raspberry Martini on a pink ribbon, a Forest Garden or Olive Martini on a green ribbon and Cherry Hearts on a red ribbon. All embroidered using the historic hand-embroidery technique ‘goldwork’, each design can take one expert embroiderer up to 15 hours to create. Four of the ribbons come with a goldwork embroidered letter, so place settings can have an extra special personal touch.
Leahy and Hand & Lock have come together to help everyone create exquisitely decorated tables for their wedding dinners, charity events, or intimate parties at home. Now, with the addition of these beautiful hand-embroidered napkin bows, everyone can be sure their table setting is bursting with character and flair
With just one minute until your first guest arrives you can step away from your perfect table design. Enjoy your evening confident that your statement table setting is an amuse-bouche to an evening of great conversation, laughter and unforgettable memories.
“Bringing historic embroidery to napkin bows in a dinner parting setting is a wonderful new way for people to enjoy our embroidery. To date, our embroidery has been featured in Royal pageants and haute couture runways; now it can be enjoyed alongside haute cuisine”.
The Embroidered Bows are available with five intricate hand-embroidered designs on complementary coloured velvet ribbons. Four designs can be paired with any letter of the alphabet with one design monogram free. The full collection comprises:
*The Raspberry Martini on pink ribbon with gold serif letter
*The Night Sky on Navy ribbon with moons and stars
*The Forest Garden on green ribbon with scrip letter
*The Olive Martini on green ribbon with serif letter
*Cherry hearts on red ribbon with serif letter
Event planners, hosts and shoppers eager to add some flair to their dinner tables this summer can order the Embroidered Bows from www.handembroideryshop.com