Now that it is officially Fall, I’ve been thinking of the big holidays coming up in the next three months (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas!) and all the awesome dinner parties there are to throw this time of year. Before 2012 ends, I want to ‘wow’ my guests with an amazing party experience. So, who better to get advice from than serveware extraordinaire Michael Aram? Check out what Michael has to say about holiday entertaining (and get a little sneak peek of his new Spring collection!):
LB: How did you come to be a designer? Is it something you were always drawn to?
MA: I have always been a very visual person and someone who has always liked to make things. For me, it was a natural progression to design.
LB: Your pieces are all so beautifully designed with such a unique point of view, what inspires you the most?
MA: Nature, in all its forms, is my biggest inspiration, along with hand craftsmanship and my love of materials and antiques. I am also inspired by how people use objects in daily life. I am often moved by the power of narrative stories and the way that objects can retain memories especially when used with friends and loved ones.
LB: Any new things we should look for from you for the upcoming holiday season?
MA: Yes... I would say my Lotus and Lily collection, which I’ve designed exclusively for Macy’s.
LB: What are some of your favorite ways to entertain during Thanksgiving and Christmas?
MA: It’s fun to have neighbors and friends stop over informally during the holidays and surprise them with a beautifully laid out spread of food – whether it’s just hors d’oeuvres or dessert, or a beautifully set dinner table. My partner likes to play board games after dinner, so sometimes after dessert is served, we’ll clear the table, open another bottle of wine, and bring out a word game or Monopoly.
LB: I know you spend a lot of time traveling between New Delhi and New York – How does your life differ between the two cities and does that influence the way you entertain?
MA: I am New York more often after the birth of our twins last year; however, I still do travel back and forth very frequently. My life in New Delhi is totally different from my life in New York, and is a lot more social. I’ve spent most of the last 24 years in India, so the majority of my adult friendships were forged there. Entertaining in India is easy since we have a wonderful cook that helps prepare for gatherings and a lovely old British colonial home to host friends in. In New York, entertaining is more work, but our family is here and so are many of our childhood friends, so there are always people coming over for dinner.
LB: Any tips for our readers on how to create a knock-out table for the holidays?
MA: Go a little out of your way to make your table special. It will make your friends and family understand how much it means to you having them over. A well-known chef friend of mine was recently quoted as saying that good design is 60% of the dining experience. Just think – it will take some of the stress away from worrying about how good your food is! Use serving pieces that are beautiful and lay them out the day before your dinner. I put post-its on them so I know exactly what is going in what. It also helps me not to forget a dish at the last minute! Also. I try to limit the ‘fussiness’ on the table by limiting the color scheme. I like white flowers at the table, white candles, and a white centered dinnerware pattern to add a sense of cohesiveness and modernity. I personally also like mixing in some twigs or dried-up elements from the garden to give my arrangements more of a natural feeling.
LB: Tell me a little about your upcoming Spring collection...do you have a personal favorite?
MA: I’m very excited about my new porcelain dinnerware collection. When designing in this category, giving the consumer options was something that was important to me, so they are designed to interact with one another, and intermingle seamlessly with my metalware pieces. It is hard to say which is my favorite of the five patterns, but at this instant, I can’t wait to set a table using the Botanical Leaf dinnerware, and metal pieces from the Botanical Leaf Collection.
There you have it – the key to a festive evening? 60% looks! So, be sure to check out Michael’s current pieces in store and on macys.com. And, keep an eye out for his gorgeous porcelain dinnerware collection come Spring!