“I’ve always been drawn to the black and white color combination. For me, it represents elegance and timelessness. It transcends periods and the whims of fashion and decorating styles. It also lends itself to many interpretations. It could be totally cosmopolitan one minute and nautical the next.
When I was looking for an outdoor umbrella for my poolside dining set, I didn’t want to go for the usual blue and white seaside motif you see in most country homes. I found instead a black and white striped number that was chic and gave all sorts of different vibes — from My Fair Lady’s Ascot scene to the swish of a gown in a Boldini portrait.
The umbrella, as well as a few fabulous Moroccan ceramic black and white bowls and spice dishes from my friend Madeleine Weinrib, were the starting point for my latest al fresco fête at home.
The great thing about black and white is that it makes for a perfect backdrop for a layering of elements. Our pearl finish Shagreen Placemats in Black cradle tone-on-tone floral Missoni plates, topped off with the Provence Napkin in Ivory & Black, linen napkins with woven striping, wound inside our raffia Fiesta Napkin Rings. Because the starting point is so crisp and clean, the addition of various patterns and prints and textures doesn’t feel forced or out of place.
Metallics also work well with black and white. In this case, I injected touches of gold through vintage glasses with slight Moorish influence and flatware. When you think about it, most anything will pop on a black and white surface especially salad greens and farm fresh summer fruits and of course, flowers and foliage. In fact, I used green palm fronds instead of the usual floral arrangement. The result is easy elegance with a tropical flair. And a refreshing take on summer neutrals, which you can use for many different entertaining scenarios this season.” -Kim