“BE bold,” advises vice president of operations Mary Kerr of Paterson, N.J.-based Tablecloth Co. She touts vibrant colors such as lime green, hot pink and saffron as top choices for linen. The “Istanbul” line from Tablecloth Co. satisfies popular demand with striking shades including bright orange and fuchsia.
IN FASHION'S FOOTSTEPS
Something Different Linen, located in Clifton, N.J., complements vivid linen with sheer overlays, a combination that creates “deep spicy colors,” according to Ari Baez, vice president sales and marketing. Baez points to the impact that the fashion and home-furnishing industries have on table decoration. “I always think we follow fashion and home furnishing decor,” she says.
As an example of the fashion and table linen connection, Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Cloth Connection recently collaborated with the fashion team from couturier Oscar de la Renta. Jessica Eybers, of Cloth Connection's marketing department, says that the teamwork of the two companies for a recent De la Renta gala in Las Vegas resulted in “brown pailette silk with brown feather border” tablecloths adorning the tables. The dressy style is now available in Cloth Connection's inventory.
Jo Dermid, vice president of sales and marketing with Skokie, Ill.-based BBJ Linen, agrees that the fashion industry has an influence on linen. “The ethnic diversity that we are seeing in the apparel industry translates to the tabletop,” she says. She points to beaded and gilded overlays on silk tablecloths as products in the BBJ line that show an ethnic influence.
Dermid notes that linen has an important task in creating impact at events. “Linens are usually used to create the color palette for the event and to create the atmosphere within the space,” she says. Linen transforms the blank canvas of tented events, according to Eybers; linen, chair covers, ties and tablecloths can transform “a tent into a pristine ballroom,” she says. Oren Fox, of A-1 Tablecloth Co. in South Hackensack, N.J., notes that innovative planners “request linen to be used as decor for tent interiors, including custom-made interior tent liners.”
Linen enforces an event's theme, according to Mitch Kelldorf of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Sculptware. The Sculptware line includes products that cover, and therefore coordinate, such mundane-yet-vital event accessories as trash containers and jack stands with the theme, in order to have a “total immersion of your look across all the functional elements of that space,” he says.
Coordination is key to a carefully planned party, says Judy Komson, vice president of Table Wraps in Jericho, N.Y. She notes that Table Wraps' wide variety of products — linen, chair covers, sashes, napkins and accessories — “work together.” Kerr adds, “Planners use our animal prints at zoos and our nautical prints at yacht clubs,” which reinforces the theme through linen.
Bold new linen colors are even moving into the wedding market, long dominated by white tabletops. “Brides are going for new daring purples and greens,” Eybers says.
Kelldorf suggests chair covers, in combination with accent bands from the Sculptware line, for university graduations to create “a significant branding impact when the school colors are used on that large of an arrangement.”
International contacts and innovative combinations of materials boost decor options for limited budgets. Kelldorf notes that planners “fail to see the big picture of possibilities,” an oversight he attributes to budget constraints.
Dermid notes that there are more budget-friendly choices in linen with “the availability and affordability of textiles from India, China and Mexico.” BBJ Linen replicates expensive silks with “a more affordable blend of textiles that results in greater durability without sacrificing the look,” she says.
A-1 Tablecloth Co., 201/727-8987; BBJ Linen, 847/329-8400; Cloth Connection, 845/426-3500; Sculptware, 888/282-8811; Something Different Linen, 800/422-2180; Tablecloth Co., 800/227-5251; Table Wraps, 516/334-8833