The finishing touch for any billionaire's outdoor dining area


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May 03, 2023

The finishing touch for any billionaire's outdoor dining area

A new collection of sequin-bedecked ‘table gowns’ brings a splash of glamour

A new collection of sequin-bedecked ‘table gowns’ brings a splash of glamour to al fresco dining

Al fresco dining needn't mean throwing high style to the wind. As the evenings warm up, the garden table can become the social hub of the home, the scene for formal dinners as well as casual brunches; and there's no reason for dinner not to be dressed as elegantly as it would be indoors.

Summerill & Bishop, which has been adorning the smartest tables since launching its fashion-forward collection of table linens eight years ago, has upped the ante with its new Couture collection of glamorous, sequin-bedecked ‘table gowns’. With a camouflage design inspired by the mottled bark on the London plane trees that surround the brand's Holland Park flagship, each cloth is embellished with upwards of 260,000 sequins embroidered on to pure French linen.

The sequins are applied by specialist embroidery machines that are found only in Switzerland, and which are custom-made for sequin cutting. Each cloth is then retouched by hand, a 12-hour process, before being transported to London, where the final finishing and hemming are executed at the Summerill & Bishop studio.

The cloths, which are made to order, are currently available in three colourways: pictured is the khaki, yellow, dusty pink and white iteration. It's the perfect backdrop for a summer soirée, and best paired with white china, coloured glassware and candlelight, to heighten the shimmering effect of its reflective surface.

They are delicate, and have to be dry-cleaned, so these gowns are, perhaps, best reserved for only the tidiest of guests, but they do have a significant practical element: as they are so heavy with sequins, they are unlikely to waft around in the breeze as tablecloths made from lighter fabrics are apt to. Win.

Italian porcelain house Ginori 1735 has been quietly positioning itself as a fashion force in the past few years, launching collaborations with designers and brands such as Luke Edward Hall, Off-White and Luca Nichetto. This last has now masterminded the brand's first foray into interior design, with a homeware collection that encompasses furniture, fabrics and lamps, and which debuted recently during Milan Design Week.

The stars of the collection, in our view, are the sweet Dulcis armchair (above) and accompanying footstool, covered in a jacquard fabric inspired by Ginori's much-loved Oriente Italiano floral motif, which was created by the Milanese designer Gio Ponti in 1946 and has since been available in a rainbow of colours on the brand's porcelain tableware. The fabrics are produced by another Italian icon, fabric house Rubelli, while the blown-glass lamps in the collection are produced by Barovier & Toso, founded in Murano in 1295. Heritage never looked so fresh.