Since 1982, the fashion designer Tomasz Starzewski has brought an architectural and tailored look to his collections, and his clothes have appealed to many high society transatlantic clients. In the last ten years, Tomasz has focused more on interior design, but he still promotes his couture and made to measure collections from his London boutique in Ebury Street. Tomasz feels extremely privileged to have been given two wonderful careers, and blessed to have had such an array of extraordinary clients. Here he recollects on the entertaining style and wondrous tablescapes of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild.
The collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild being offered on 8 & 9 March 2022 harks back to a golden age of entertainment, which had all but disappeared by the turn of the millennium. Victoria was the last generation of society hostesses who knew how to entertain in both the grand style for a great country house party, and for more informal occasions, such as intimate private suppers. These hostesses planned and designed their parties to the minutest detail with tableware, linen, textiles and menu books. Victoria was one of a group of unique American socialites who brought the combined disciplines of simplicity and grandeur into her chic entertaining style.
Heavily influenced by her mother, Marcia Schott, she was a doyenne in the art of mixing the antique and new at the Rothschild country estate, Ascott House, in Buckinghamshire. The results were as unexpected as they were refined. By using Kente fabrics from Ghana, or a patchwork quilted sari from India, as a tablecloth to off-set the silver and porcelain arranged on the table, Victoria created unique tablescapes, where her aesthetic was to value functionality coordinated with the exotic. From America, she brought her mother’s collections of Chinese blue and white tulip vases (Lots 154-181) and the 18th century blue and white Chantilly plates (Lots 171 & 178), to which she added throughout her lifetime, and which were in everyday use.
Victoria and I shared a very similar design ethos, in that design and style should be an exclusive experience that cannot be bought off the shelf, and that there is something much more superior about relying on your own taste to create something unique. Wonderful examples of this are the Baccarat decanters (Lots 325, 328 & 334), which exhibit a simple and pure design ethic, based on the shape of a wine bottle, where the contents are the most important feature; one really can’t get smarter than that!
In the last twenty years, we have lived in an era of party planners, who would decorate your home and table, and cater to all your entertaining needs. Even before the Covid 19 restrictions of the past two years, a sea change was taking place courtesy of numerous social media influencers, making formal entertaining at home a major trend, utilising china, silverware and textiles to create an unforgettable event. These influencers have brought to the fore the art of tablescaping, and there has been a great deal of media interest in the art of beautifully decorated tables to enthrall one's dinner guests at home. Dreweatts' sale of Victoria’s collection brings the art of entertaining at home full circle.
Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 March | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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