One of my favorite store in NYC is hands down Fishs Eddy. It has everything I love: beautiful dishes, vintage dishes and canning supplies. When I was invited to an event to style a table setting with their fabulous vintage dishes, to put it mildly I was super excited. For those of you who know me, you understand my obsession for vintage. I love the hunt for items that were previously undiscovered. Then the organization and presentation of random vintage items to make a whole. I imagine them as lost lovers being reunited. The idea of being able to look through all of Fishs Eddy's vintage dishes was irresistible. I saw Grace Bonney and Maxwell Tielman from Design Sponge styling their tables settings which you can see here. The dapper Todd Oldham also stopped by to style a setting.
For my table setting, I challenged myself to pick a plate with some color (I know, I love me some black and white style). The patten on the plate reminded me of chinoiserie, which is a style close to my heart. I'm drawn to Chinoiserie because it tells a story with picture and pattern, and feels familiar. The plate I picked, had an accent of black, and left me a perfect excuse to add a black dinner plate. To add another layer and accent the yellow in the plate, I used a yellow and white striped cotton napkin as a placemat that draped off the side of the table. Having a great napkin collection can go a long way when looking at ways to layer a table.
One of the items I am always challenged with when shopping vintage is figuring out how I'm going to get a table to look coherent, and not too mismatched. I look for two common elements: color and scale. This can be challenging to learn and figure out while you are shopping, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy. I'm really into pink right now and selected a number of pink patterned plates. Who doesn't love these for a spring lunch? Similar color and scale of different plates makes them feel like a set. I also assemble my transferware collection the same way. It's all mismatch vintage, but feels like a collection through color and scale.
Even though we look at these items for our modern lifestyle, I love that they represent a time when America manufactured. I can imagine American's working in the factory making items that would have a lasting impression on the classic American aesthetic. I like their sturdiness that reflects their original purpose of being used in a restaurant, or maybe a dining club. Some of the vintage plates are fancy with thin ceramic, while others are thick ceramic and unbreakable. I hope you have a chance to swing by Fishs Eddy next time you're in New York City.