Friday, October 12, 2007

William Yeoward, Cristal Designer & Maker, Promoting His Book

by Cary Sommes for Finest Linens and Things

Let's be honest, How often do you use your fine crystal? William Yeoward uses his every day, from morning until evening.

Of course, Mr. Yeoward would. He designed more than 1,000 pieces in the William Yeoward Crystal line, a handmade collection inspired by the 18th- and 19th-century Georgian designs that once graced the tables of the great country houses in England and Ireland.

But Mr. Yeoward cautions that one need not wait for an invitation from the queen to pull out finery.

"A number of people ... hide away their things for the best [day], but then the best [day] doesn't come, and the next thing that does come is that they're dead," he says.

Mr. Yeoward follows his own advice, starting his day with juice in a large crystal highball and winding down the day with glasses of wine.

"I drink huge quantities of wine," he says with a laugh.

Surrounding himself as he does with such beauty – along with crystal, Mr. Yeoward is known for his home furnishing, linen, lighting and sterling silver designs – it is no wonder Mr. Yeoward's book Perfect Tables: Tabletop Secrets, Settings and Centerpieces for Delicious Dining is in its fourth printing in only a year's time.

"This is a journey about looking at everyday objects in a new way while showcasing our work," he says.

For instance, he suggests skipping napkin rings and substituting children's bracelets or binding table linens with twine knotted around lily blossoms. (Cut off the stamens first, he cautions, because lily pollen stains cloth.)

But for those hostesses who lack today's required chutzpah for party planning, Mr. Yeoward will be in Dallas to provide design directives at Kappa Kappa Gamma's 13th annual Tablescapes by Candlelight.

The annual fundraiser for the Dallas alumnae association's charitable efforts will host the posh tastemaker at the Dallas Country Club on Monday and Tuesday. The Tuesday luncheon is sold out, but there is a champagne preview at 6:30 p.m. Monday ($150) and a cocktail reception at 7:30 p.m. ($110).

For tickets, call Anne Patton at 214-668-1902.

Expect Mr. Yeoward to expound on the joys of mixing china patterns and styles, motivating the crowd to move beyond the matching sets grandmother handed down. Mr. Yeoward is an advocate for spicing up the formal table, setting vintage next to retro next to contemporary next to antique.

But most of all, be prepared to be moved by Mr. Yeoward's exhortations for moxie, something hostesses today need more than anything, he says.

A perfect party, he claims, is really about mastering psychology.

"What do you really need? You need nerve."

Perfect Tables

William Yeoward

(Cico Books, $29.95)

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