For Serena Hood, the American-born, London-based goddess with the good-taste, Thanksgiving 2020 means not only being under UK lockdown rules – it’s also her first time hosting. So, she likes cooking, right? “I have to say it doesn’t come naturally to me,” Serena laughs from her house – where else? – in West London over Zoom. “When I was in my twenties in New York I loved going out to restaurants – I didn’t even realise that my oven didn’t work until I moved out five years later because I never tried to turn it on.” Luckily, she’s not singlehanded: “One of my daughters loves putting her apron on and helping me stir and the other loves unloading the dishwasher.” Ottimo.
If you were wondering where to find the chicest Thanksgiving table in London, call off the search, ragazze. An ex-Vogue editor who cut her teeth at Marc Jacobs and Armani, Serena is the co-founder of the shopping site Collagarie, with every last product featured a testament to her brilliant taste. With the tagline ‘The One Thing Over Everything’, Serena and her partner Lucinda Chambers (Vogue’s ex-fashion director) cut the fat off the endless scroll of internet shopping to serve up a discerning, desirable and down-right dig-your-debit-card-out edit, from £30 art prints to boucle armchairs and – we cut the mustard! – La DoubleJ’s candles, coats and tableware. So how does the style savvy set a good table? And what’s going to be on her first Thanksgiving menu? Read on, babe.
“We have always spent Thanksgiving together as a big family. My mum is half-Swedish so we have this special red cabbage recipe that her mother always served, and she also does a corn jalapeño pudding that I have on a folded Post-It note in a cooking book somewhere. Plus, sweet potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie – and that’s going to be our Hood Thanksgiving dinner. I really want our children to know about their American heritage and I think it’s important especially if you are not in the country where you are from to uphold those traditions and teach them.”
“I’m ordering the turkey from the Brakenbury Village butcher, who Lucinda recommended to me. We have an amazing farmers market in Brook Green that is still going through lockdown where you can get fresh vegetables, meat, cheese, fruit. I love the wine guy because you can go at 11 o’ clock in the morning and try his wine.”
“Even from a young age my mother used to mix old vintage silverware with new pieces. I think I probably mix and match even more now. A vintage vase from Portobello Market with a new set of glasses, for example. I love La DoubleJ’s homeware because it is not prescribed in that way. I like to mix different flower types too – I get mine from FLOWERBX.”
“Always play music. And dress up. Just because you are having dinner at home it’s no excuse not to put on your heels and a dress. If you have people over, a bar is a really fun way to start a dinner party. When we moved into our house we specifically put a bar into our living room.”
“It should be something that you will keep forever and will bring you joy every time you pull it out of your closet or see it around your home. I’ve been a fan of J.J.’s from the very beginning because I love color, I love print, and things for the home that have that component to them. They are what makes me feel good. It is different for everyone and it’s about finding your thing. We are living in a moment that is exciting because we aren’t being dictated by trends and rules anymore.”
“I bought a needlepoint pillow – I get through one line every other week. I have focused on filling our walls at home with posters, photographs, paintings we did over lockdown. Both Lucinda and I are absolutely obsessed with Hotel Magique posters. Partnership Editions are a great resource for accessibly-priced artwork. @Petri_Prints on Instagram is brilliant and the Court Gallery has higher prices but sells work that is really beautiful.”
“The one thing that lockdown has taught me is you’ve got to get up, get dressed, put on your shoes. I still get dressed as I would for the office now, though I’m probably not wearing heels as much.”
“When I have a moment I like to listen to podcasts, I love How I built This, by Guy Raz. I have discovered this great workout called ‘The Class’ by Taryn Toomey, which is a meditative workout so you feel like you are burning some calories – that’s my release.”
“Health. Family. I think we will all come out of lockdown with very much a renewed sense of how grateful we are. Life is very precious and we are all really lucky to be able to live this life we do.”
“Ada, our Rhodesian Ridgeback. She is the best behaved member of the family. Because we won’t be with family like usual this Thanksgiving, there will be a seat at the table for Ada.”
Serena Hood is the co-founder of Collagarie
Photographs by Kensington Leverne