(The high priestess of “Haute Couture for the Table” Marie Daage in her Paris studio/showroom; ph. © Michael Devine)When in France there’s nothing more coveted than an invitation to a friends home for a meal. During a recent trip to Paris I had the pleasure of dining at the home of the talented Marie Daage. To be a guest in the home of one of the world's most famous dinnerware designers was worth the trip itself. Daage is known for her hand-painted designs on Limoges porcelain and has a cult following of those in the know. Designer Nina Campbell was one of her first clients and now just about every celebrity designer around uses her creations in their projects. Daage is also making my own collection of dinnerware possible.
(The large dining room with its pale green walls is the setting for many dinners; ph. © Michael Devine)She frequently entertains in the sprawling Paris apartment-cum-studio that she shares with her family. Her sage advice for dinner parties clearly comes from years of experience. She frequently hosts up to sixteen guests for dinner and knows how to do it with aplomb. The first thing she recommends without hesitation is to have two tables of six to eight guests. It makes for better conversation, which in France is all important.
(The modernity of the dinnerware contrasts with the traditional flatware beautifully; ph. © Michael Devine)According to Daage, dinners in Paris start around 9pm. She finds it best to serve heavier appetizers with drinks before dinner and then have everyone sit down directly to the main course. “This allows guests time to relax before dinner,” she explained. One of my favorite pieces of advice was to use votives in beautiful holders as a last minute centerpiece, "rather than stressing about flowers." Sounds good to me!