Weddings & Linens - the Return of the Trousseau
We are in the midst of a fabulous Renaissance of one of my favorite traditions, the wedding trousseau. In many parts of Europe this century-old custom, whereby the marital bedding collection was considered to be the most precious gift to be provided by the bride's extended family, was often hand-embroidered by the mother, the grandmother, the aunt as well as other close female relatives.
Here in North America we have witnessed a revival, perhaps it's even a discovery, of this fabulous tradition and we love helping brides and their families develop extensive collections which are extremely personalized. Our couture service, where we literally start with a blank sheet of paper and design the bride’s personal trousseau collection from scratch, exists for this very purpose. We also feature extensive collections where choices of color, fabric, and design provide a myriad of possibilities.
How to Create Your Personal Linen Collection
There is nothing we enjoy more than working with brides to support them in the selection and design of their wedding linens. Complementing and layering one’s home with fabulous bedding and table linens has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of the preparations leading up to the big day.
At times, we seem to forget that we spend more time in our lives in bed and at the dining table than any other location and enabling each of those special places to shine and be beautiful is what this should be all about. The wedding dress is of course a huge deal yet ultimately it is usually worn just once. On the other hand, one’s bed room and dining room are lived in, viewed and enjoyed every day.
Our very extensive, some say limitless thanks to our bespoke couture service, selection of designs, colors and fabrics serve as a palette so that we can always capture the individual tastes and aspirations of the bride. This process is fun and delightful and we love working with brides to help make their dreams come true. However, when it comes to selecting the first set, I always encourage brides to consider white as choice number one. Bridal White linens are not just pure and fresh, they are the easiest color with which to mix and match and build upon as a foundation of one’s collection.
Selecting and Personalizing the Right Monogram
The selection and personalization of one's monogram needs to reflect one's personal tastes, whimsies and passions. That is why we have created 88 distinct monogram styles which, together with our color palette, provide practically endless possibilities for expression. Monograms are such a beautiful way of personalizing one’s home and that is why we work through a multi-step process with brides, including a review of their family’s vintage pieces, gaining an understanding of their color preferences as well as seeking to ensure that the monogram complements the rest of the home decor.
Decisions around monograms can be tricky and at times invoke questions of which names should be represented as well as the order in which they should appear. Traditionally the monogrammed trousseau was developed over a period of many years, starting long before the young woman’s husband was chosen and therefore those pieces typically featured only the initial of the bride’s last name. Today of course tradition and gender equality are battling each other, resulting in a much broader range of options. That being said, there are a few important things to always keep in mind when making these choices:
How many letters?
Determine whether one, two or three letters best suits your preferred way of visualizing your name
What is the preferred order?
If multiple letters are preferred then making certain that bride and groom are happy with the order in which they will appear is very important and we urge brides to have that discussion before finalizing their decision.
New or vintage?
Often families have existing vintage pieces and sometimes even crests which they would like to copy or at least use as inspiration for a new design. Our couture service is designed to support this process and the results are beautiful and uniquely personal for every bride and her family.
Caring for Linens
One of the fabulous things about fine linens is that, if proper care is taken, they can get better over time. Linen care requires following 3 essential rules:
Only use the right detergent which should be non-abrasive and delicate
Never use bleach even with whites as it weakens the fabric
Store your linens after pressing and folding them carefully in a dry environment
If you follow these simple rules you will find that your linens will get softer over time and their rich, buttery feel will delight you for years and years.
Navigating the World of Fine Linens and Avoiding Thread-Count Mania
When it comes to bed linens, the most typical question I receive, is “What’s your thread count?” As proud as we are of our thread counts which go as high as 1,000 threads per square inch, I caution everyone from thinking that this statistic is a true indicator of quality. Far more important than the number of threads is the actual quality of the threads themselves and furthermore the type of weave and care used in producing the linen can dramatically affect their quality and touch.
In working with our customers, we always seek to understand the climates and environments they live in, their preferences for warmth or coolness, their adjacent bedding products be they down, wool or piquet and only then can we best guide our clients in making the right individual choices. Personally, I learned to appreciate fine textiles at an early age from linens that were handed down to me by my great-aunt. You would be amazed as to their softness, durability and beauty even after decades of use. We always encourage our customers to touch our fabrics and let their hands and cheeks make the choice for them. After all, I doubt that a hundred years ago anyone was running around boasting about one’s thread count. In this crazy digital world where everyone is trying to quantify everything and keep score, maybe we should create scores for beauty and joy?