How does a dinner party fanatic go from religiously hosting fabulous themed nights to not being able to so much as clink a glass with someone outside their household? Just ask Rosanna Falconer. Three years ago the brand consultant and co-founder of FashMash made a New Year’s resolution to gather the fringes of her social circles around her London dinner table once a month as a chance for her pals to pep up their little black books. Think heart-soaring table settings, home-cooked family-style food, bellissimo seasonal blooms – the lot. A hobby quickly turned into a creative expression, but then lockdown hit.
J.J.’s IGTV lockdown musings on positivity and creativity in Milan switched on a lightbulb of an idea for Rosanna in London, sparking her to launch #RosannasPositiviTea, a digital cuppa and warming interview with an inspiring friend – not complete without a happy maximalist tablescape, natch (see Rosanna’s interview with J.J. – plus our new Rainbow and Pineapple homeware – on our IGTV). “J.J.’s stance on creativity and on evaluating lockdown in a positive way was really inspiring to me,” says Rosanna, who isolated with her husband and eight-month-old baby during lockdown. “I wanted to keep up the stimulating conversation and I still wanted to design the tables for the creative output. I relax most when I am doing something with my hands, I can’t relax watching television or sitting in the bath.”
Zhuzhing up her space during lockdown “actually made me love my home a lot more,” she says. “Making the effort in your home gives you the same mood change and lift of joy we would usually get from going out on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s a quick mood fixer.” Whether you’ve invited guests round for an intimate night or you’re having a casual party-for-one, Rosanna shares her secrets to a magically mood-boosting maximalist table… Make yours a winner winner chicken dinner!
“My inspiration typically comes from travel, a single color, or often a time of year – but always with a twist. For example, last year I did a Halloween table with pastel pumpkins. This harvest I am hand-painting pumpkins with flowers and adding gold to my table alongside ambers and rusts. At Christmas think about jewel colors, rather than the typical white or greens and reds.”
“The first drink you pass people is really important, particularly now when we aren’t as used to socialising as we were. You want to hand them something that makes them feel at ease – even better if it has a talking point. La DoubleJ’s Rainbow Murano glasses with a really beautifully made Aperol Spritz is instantly special and a talking point as well.”
“Maximalism is all about color combinations that will make your table look impactful as soon as you walk into the room. Either go for lots of shades of the same tone – one of my favorites has been a table inspired by the magenta shade ‘Rani Pink’, which I discovered in Rajasthan, full of different shades of pink. Or mix together tones, either warm or cool. The Rainbow and Pineapple collections are full of deep, bold shades that are united by tone, so by the same token I chose dahlias in rich deep tones for my La DoubleJ setting. Layer as much as you like so long as the colors are all the same tone. Unite the entire table with the color of the runner – a super easy way to do it is to buy ribbons in the same tones as your plates or flowers and use them as a runner.”
“If I had to buy only one piece for maximum impact I would go for La DoubleJ’s Dessert Plates. They are so unique and so much fun – it’s like having a work of art on your table. Use your dinner plates, which you can find easily in a variety of colors, as a ‘frame’ to layer underneath your dessert plates. Layering colors and plates keeps the eye entertained.”
“I look at cutlery for a table in the same way as I look at jewellery for an outfit. I would never wear deep yellow gold jewellery with pastel colors – I’d always wear silver, and I apply the same approach to tables. With cooler color tones I use silver cutlery, and with warmer color tones I use gold cutlery. This helps to anchor the table.”
“Aside from when I use La DoubleJ’s incredible Bubble Vases, I use jam jars because it means the flowers are all below eye level so everyone can talk across the table. Go seasonal. In the UK that means ranunculus at the start of the year to peonies to roses to wild flowers in August to dahlias. In the winter I use foliage. Carnations have a really bad reputation but I think they look great, like little pompoms. They last for ages and are not expensive. They really made me smile.”
“I love personal trinkets and details for guests. I’ve done everything from a country fair themed dinner with place names made from rosettes to a festival themed night with a pair of sunglasses on each plate and tickets with the guests’ names on them.”
“Dressing to match your table is absolutely key and a guaranteed mood-booster. After a week in lockdown I started doing proper tables for dinner with my husband and we would both dress up. This progressed to Zoom dinner parties where we would all get dressed up. It lifted my mood, no doubt.”
Rosanna Falconer is the co-founder of FashMash, a community for fashion innovators, change-makers and leaders that offers a programme of tools to boost professional and personal development. In October FashMash launched ‘Young Pioneers’, a mentoring scheme that nurtures future fashion game-changers. fashmash.co.uk
-Photographs Holly Falconer