What can I say about these dishes? To say that I love them more than I love my sister would be an understatement. Juuuust kidding! But it’s pretty close. But, I do love them more than my leopard hat collection. But that’s pretty close too. Nevermind, I love all of my stuff equally. Everything is special about these dishes. My mother and I first discovered these dishes on the seventh floor of Bergdorf’s in New York. I wanted to find the manufacturer so I could sell them at our shop, Circa, in Santa Barbara. (Sorry to copy you Bergdorf’s but remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.) So naturally, I picked up one of the plates, flipped it over, looked for a stamp or any markings…Nothing! I asked the salesperson who the manufacturer of the dishes was, but I think she was on to me, so she said they were only made for Bergdorf’s. Liar. Now I want them even more. Let the quest begin. This was no easy feat, I learned, because this was seven years ago when there was not a lot of press or exposure regarding these dishes. It took me a few days but I finally discovered the source. Voilà! They come from a woman in Paris who has an atelier tucked away in the 15th arrondissement. Sylvie Saint- Andre Perrin.
Madame Perrin makes all of the dishes by hand, collaborating with the client in accordance with customizations including size, shape and color. When you work with French artisans who make everything to specifications, things can get a l-i-t-t-l-e bit tricky. Then, you throw in two obnoxious women from Santa Barbara explaining to the artisan that they want the dishes to match their wall color. I am sure that Madame Perrin just wanted to shoot us by the end. However, finally, our pickiness paid off. Our dishes arrived a few months later (with only two thirds of the order broken, wink wink) exactly how we wanted them. They were the perfect yellow swirl and the perfect green swirl. I think the proper word is marbleized.
The process for making these dishes is quite elaborate. Psst…this is why they are expensive. The following is an excerpt from her website explaining her technique…"Sylvie Saint-André Perrin elaborated a production by stamping in plastercasts made from models of her choice.
Stamped clays are coloured with oxides with which she is able to obtain a whole range of shades. She composes clay mixes with predominating blue, green, ochre, yellow or grey producing sinuous patterns, variously undulated but not happening haphazardly.
Stamping as she practices it reveals itself as a slow and fastidious technique allowing no more than 16 pieces to be formed each day. Clays are prepared for no more than three or four plates.”
I also found a long list of color combinations that are available. Here are a few examples…Fontainebleau (green, red with black, dark green)
Lisbone (white, dark blue, yellow ochre and black)
Belle Ile (white and dark blue)Pondichery (red, yellow and green with green and celadon)
Arcachon (dark blue, light blue, beige and white)
Even though these dishes may look sturdy, they are not. They are very very fine and delicate. They can break if you look at them funny. I would not even let Gracie help me set the table in Santa Barbara with these dishes because if she broke one I would have to kill her. We used these dishes once for a big Thanksgiving dinner with friends and I swear I thought about not inviting some of my guests because I knew they had a tendency to be clumsy and/or drunk. Getting a replacement in the exact color all the way from Paris wouldn’t be easy. So, it’s best, I figured, that those certain guests just stayed home and used their own crappy replaceable Oneida dinnerware.
You can get a complete set at HERE or HERE. However, I recommend going to the source in person. If you can afford these dishes, you can afford a flight to Paris. :-) By the way, I hope my rather brash humor does not offend anyone. Anyway, stay tuned for tomorrow’s dishes. Hint: “The O’Connell’s are stupid.”
4 Villa Astrolabe, 75015 Paris01 47 34 85 91