In the same way a put-together outfit lifts your mood and shows the world who you really are, a well-dressed table is the ultimate lifestyle statement, channelling the artistic and pragmatic, says Carolyn Dorrian, the woman behind new brand, Mrs Tablescape.
Launching soon, its luxurious collection of tableware is inspired by Dorrian’s diverse background which includes Russian, Scottish and Indian.
The founder and principal solicitor of Dorrian & Co. Lawyers says tablescaping was more than mere escapism for her while in the depths of lockdown with a toddler.
“With lockdowns looming, the thought of looking forward to something special at home and sharing it with my family―bringing the fine dining home, when you just couldn't―was the catalyst to launching,” she explains.
“I absolutely love finding special curated items that no one else has for your table but I honestly found it really difficult to find anything that would go together for my table in one place or in one box and so Mrs Tablescape was born.
“In my search for beautifully curated table items, I found they were only available in the UK, Europe or US, but sadly never Australia or Asia.”
Dorrian designs each product herself so you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the market. The aim is that the limited edition products become keepsakes for future generations, not just mass produced.
“I have spent a couple of months curating matching tablescapes, so it will make it easier for those to create a beautiful tablescape without much effort. Not only will tablescaping in a box make customers’ lives easier, I will be collaborating with local florists and Australian flower growers to give access to customers to utilise the full suite of an amazing table, even if it is just a date night.
“Each collection will also have a colour palette card so that customers can go to their local Woolworths or Coles or local florist and find the perfectly coloured flower bunch without much thought for Mrs Tablescape's collection.”
Access to overseas artisans and markets has been extremely challenging, adds Dorrian, especially when you cannot travel and there are delays in shipping. She found customs and shipping costs to be higher during the lockdowns in comparison to before.
“You have to change your mindset and trust that the artisans will understand your designs, even beyond cultural and language barriers. With the inability of movement during the pandemic, I have been forced to become the photographer, the packager, the all-rounded business expert which is not ideal, but it is the world we currently live in.”
The Clara collection was inspired by Dorrian’s late grandmother who loved bright colours of pink, purple, blue and yellow.
“She would always wear brightly coloured clothes and furniture (her sofa was bright purple, don't ask). I don't think she even owned anything in black or white. So as part of the design process, I draw different shapes and pantone colours based on that collection that would go together, and engage with a professional digital illustrator to bring those designs to light.
“After a final illustration I ask artisans to create the product. If the product is not quite there in terms of design, we tweak it. For example, I wanted to have embroidered blue dots on pink napkins but we found that it would clash with the dotted embroidered placemat, so we amended and re-designed until it worked perfectly.”
Mrs Tablescape is also collaborating with a famous New York artist, Pauline De Rousy (she has painted for some Madison Ave stores) to create gorgeous plates and some other exciting products including hand print blocked pastel candy cane like napkins and placemats with ruffles.
“We are also designing our own hand metal hammered napkin rings to match other exciting collections, which I can't wait to share. We will also be sharing some free DIY tablescaping guides on how to fold different types of napkins, place cards, anything to add that extra layer of luxe and wow factor to your table,” she enthuses.
“We are all desperate for a little more joy and comfort and with the pandemic causing many of us to be confined to our homes, the natural result is that we’re more alert to and affected by our physical surroundings.
“What we need is to bring back a sense of ritual and order to our lives, to bring back a sense of pleasure in taking care to set the table as a part of creating ambiance and to help make memories with the ones we love.
“I feel that tablescaping (and picnicscaping) will become the new fashion and lifestyle fad in the next couple of years, a bit like landscaping but making your table just that little bit more special. I hope to be the Mrs of Tablescaping fashion in Australia.”