If theres one season that lends itself best to brunch, it is spring. Made-for-brunch menu items such as asparagus and strawberries are at their peak, and with days getting longer and so many trees and flowers blooming, this is the perfect time to entertain friends and family with brunch.
Lenox, a brand of fine and casual china, celebrated the launch of their new Alice Drew Collage collections by asking top interior designer Bella Mancini how she would create a springtime brunch starring this charming, decoupage-esque earthenware. Here, Ms. Mancini offers up 8 tips for putting some spring in your brunch:
1. START BY LAYERING TEXTURES:
Whenever I entertain buffet-style I love to mix textures and create a little tension between materials, says Mancini. The designer layered contrasting linens; a shimmery silk shantung base cloth with a linen runner embellished with an organic pattern of tiny appliqué ruffles. American artist Alice Drew employs a similar play with patterns and color in her new Collage collections for Lenox. Ms. Drew mixed the patterns of brocade and damask fabrics with a mix of architectural details from Georgian homes and Turkish mosques. The collection encompasses three patterns, which may be mixed and matched: Collage Hummingbird, Collage Peony and Collage Butterfly.
2. USE ACCESSORIES FOR TABLE-SCAPING:
Lenox offers a generous collection of coordinating Collage Hummingbird serving pieces. Mancini decided to use them in unexpected ways. I created a distinct area for food and drinks by using the large platter as a tray to create a foundation for the wine and water bottles, and for the food I used the tiered platters, footed bowls and tidbit plates to add varying height, silhouette and scale to the table-scape. It is a fun way to invite guests to sample all of the many savory and sweet brunch treats and it creates an intentional, finished look.
3. EMBRACE CONTRASTS:
Mancini thought it would be too obvious to choose a blue tablecloth to sit beneath the mainly blue dinnerware, so instead she chose a happy salmon pink. The warm color had the effect of making the dinnerware really pop. Also, you never need to feel your table linens have to match exactly from one table to the next. For the dining table Mancini used a white vintage jacquard linen cloth and napkins and accented the clean, fresh look with classic blue hydrangeas set into Lenoxs Adorn Crystal Rose Bowls.
4. ADD THEMATIC ACCENTS:
I try to add small, unexpected details to each party I throw, notes the designer, who peppered in hand-painted silk butterflies throughout. Adding three-dimensional winged creatures played up the hummingbirds and butterflies on the Collage pattern. Ideas such as these make all the difference in bringing a theme to life. Bella placed the butterflies on serving platters, tied them to blossoming quince branches, scattered them on the tables, and topped off each of the party favor boxes. Butterflies are a huge trend this year, so you may find many ways to add these beauties to your décor.
5. BRING IN SPRING WITH FRESH DETAILS:
Another spring theme was carried through to cocktails. To me pansies scream spring, and champagne screams a party, Bella laughs. She decided to marry the two by adding edible flowers to the Lenox Tuscany Classics Champagne Saucers. The graceful, vintage-style coupe shape of these glasses allows for a lush garnish. If you cant find edible flowers at your market, try adding a fresh raspberry or blackberry to each glass.
6. DO SOMETHING SURPRISING:
People may expect to see decorative bowls of fruit, or pitchers of drinks, but not pitchers of fruit. I love the elegant yet simple shape of these Lenox Tuscany Classics glass pitchers, but rather than use them for serving drinks, I filled them with lively color via citrus fruits lemons, clementines and limes, says Mancini. Arranging these along with Lenox rose bowls filled with salmon tulips and blue hydrangeas brought intense color and life to the buffet.
7. OFFER TONS OF CHOICES:
One of the best aspects of casual entertaining is that guests can make their own choices. Letting the menu itself assist with the look of the buffet, Mancini chose Lenox Organics crystal pitchers to hold gorgeously colored fresh squeezed juices. She achieved lively colors by choosing some more exotic flavors such as guava and passion fruit. Arranging all the beverage offerings together allows for guests to experiment with different combinations of juices, champagne, wine and sparking water so you're really offering dozens of beverage choices.
8. PROVIDE THOUGHTFUL TOUCHES:
Often with a buffet people graze rather than have just one plate, so you'll still want to offer additional clean forks and spoons. Bella Mancini loved the shape of the Butterfly Collage coffee mugs, so she simply put forks in one and spoons in another alongside the plates on the buffet. The Lenox Portola flatware looked perfect with this dinnerware.
The Spring Brunch Menu:
Individual Spinach Quiches Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus Tips Salmon and Cream Cheese Pinwheels Spring Greens Salad Vinaigrette Grape Tomatoes on-the-stem Mini Croissants
Assorted French Almond Macarons
Mini Pains Au Chocolate
Petits Fours, Meringues
Fresh Strawberries and Vanilla Whipped Cream
Fresh Juices: Guava, Passion Fruit, Orange Wines: Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc Waters: Still and Sparkling
For more information, visit: www.lenox.com and like them on https://www.facebook.com/Lenox, follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/LenoxUSA and check out their pins at http://pinterest.com/lenoxusa/
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