By Jill Brooke
This Grand Prix event at the annual Hampton Classic, one of the most famous show-jumping tournaments in the United States, has also become a contest for the prettiest table settings and jaw-dropping floral arrangements.
Hostesses of the VIP tent tables are celebrated for their flair and creativity at this elegant event where celebrities, captains of industry and fashionable guests gather to watch the competitions and each other.
Designs for the table are crafted in meticulous detail using some of the most talented floral designers in the world – including Lewis Miller, the Bridgehampton Florist, Sag Harbor Florist – and inevitably trends are created that you will be able to incorporate into your own home designs for the holiday season or family gatherings.
Because so many of the horse-loving participants have both exquisite taste and financial freedom – a powerful combo – it was difficult to choose which table settings would win our annual Flower Power Daily Prize for the Hampton Classic Horse Show’s Tables Settings.
But here are the winners and trends of the 2022 Hampton Classic.
1) Winner of the “Take Your Breath Away Table”
Kelli Ford who owns Dallas, Texas’ go-to design store, Madison, created a breathtaking display that was a showstopper. Having the napkins beautifully monogrammed sparked appreciative gasps. Plus the elegance and charm were enhanced by creating monogrammed seat coverings.! Yes, seat coverings.
So clever in that they were designed as removable slipcovers and the green and white striped fabric was neutral enough to be reused again and again. Ford started the design theme with a cheerful yellow and soft green floral tablecloth from “Wayfair” she says, that had layers of pine-toned plates sitting on top of woven placemats with floral embossed green goblets. The abundant yellow roses with lime green and white hydrangeas were lined up in woven baskets – a big theme this year. – which helped soften the overall look. Notice that she used wooden silverware to make the look more country. Collecting silverware can change the vibe of any table along with napkins.
2) Winner of the “Most Innovative and Happy” Table
Oh my, this Hovey Ritchey Team table was a head-turner because instead of live fresh flowers, paper flowers by Etsy’s Christa were put in baskets. Look at these bold fun paper flowers that can be reused and eternally delight. (And only $59 a dozen). But then they were enhanced by so many details that delighted. Notice the Alice in Wonderland mushroom sculptures, the photo frame place cards by Nicole Miller and the small jars of jams from Ebb and Flow NYC were all unexpected treats. Because we just adore floral-themed plates, silverware and napkins, the Eli Halpin designs are now on our radar and should be on yours if you are looking to create a happy enchanting table.
3) Winner of the “Best Country Charm” Table
The table for rider Toni Goutal was designed by the Sag Harbor florist team and intricately mixed vegetables and flowers in arcs of charming rolling hills of delights. Any diner would have fun noticing the white string beans, beets, garlic, tomatoes and eggplants – which complemented an array of flowers including zinnias, cosmos and orange thistle. It’s always all in the details, right? Well, the team found tiny little baskets that they filled with chamomile and put on top of mini Hampton Classic towers, What also brought the themed table together was the grass runner edged in wax flowers and the jumps and equestrian figurines that both charmed and amused. And putting springs of flowers on a napkin is also a nice touch.
4) Winner of the “Best Ethereal Country” Table
Lavender and lime green are such a beautiful combination. The meadow-like plates used by the Koenigsberg-Wurpel group set the ethereal happy tone. From this launching pad, small mercury silver and glass vases – which you can easily collect – lined the table and were filled with ethereal flowers such as cosmos, astilbe, hellebore, miniature soft pink and peach roses. Loved how they used a wire basket for the middle main vases to create emphasis. Would have been easy to use lavender roses but instead, they did a contrast of pink and peach which expanded this lovely color palate to great effect.
5) Winners for “Clever Ways to Incorporate Brand In Table Design”
There were four winners in this category for different reasons.
Lewis Miller found an adorable monkey riding a frog which reminded him of Palm Beach’s Colony Hotel’s mascot – the team who hired him to create their table. So glad that this master florist brought in toile again to tablescapes which we saw in other tables too. Great minds are thinking alike. This table was an explosion of pink zinnias, soft peach ranunculus and tangerine orchids that draped in interesting ways. Was that a poppy flower in there too? “Yes,” he said. “These are flowers rare to find in September so I grabbed it.” Notice the ratan floral tulip napkin ring that complimented the pink-themed flowers. Orange and Pink are such a good combination and very Palm Beach. One of my favorite details was the small pink pineapple flower which added a festive tropical vibe to the table. Pineapple is also a symbol of hospitality so consider adding it to your table decor. He even added one on top of a monkey candlestick without its stem. Putting flowers in unexpected places surprises and delights. Definitely a table you would want to sit at to sip some pink rose or champagne.
Pacaso, a real estate company, had a green and white theme – also very popular – but added house-shaped glass terrarium boxes that they filled with succulents and pebbles to accessorize the table to enhance the hydrangea flowers in vases. Simple, elegant but really effective. And the stirrup napkin ring was on message too.
Sam Edelman’s table used shoes in such an inventive way. Loved the wooden shoes as place cards as well. The urns were full and earthy and the spotted goblets toned down the formality of the plates.
HC&G Magazine had a cover about art that featured a dropcloth with Jackson Pollock-inspired splashes of color. The designers used a dropcloth for a tablecloth and splattered it with paint – which could be a fun kid project to do at home. Then they took cans of tomato sauce with labels still on them and put bursts of monochromatic flowers inside ranging from marigolds to yellow zinnias to cobalt blue delphiniums. Cobalt blue glasses added pops of color collectively making it an artistic table. Also like how they painted old alliums yellow for a nice spikey effect.
5) Best Use of Horse Sculpture in a Table
Notice how this artist literally strung petite green flower heads together like a necklace which established the color scheme of the table. Then wine-colored zinnias were added as the pick-me-up accent color that also matched the deep brown saddle on the sculptured horse. A simple runner of moss – my favorite and something you can buy at any nursery – housed a variety of green-themed flowers and ferns. Notice the Sweet William dianthus lime-colored flowers that I affectionately call fuzz balls. They are a great addition to any floral arrangement and add a modern flair. They last a long time as well. Lime yellow zinnias were added along with one of my faves – ladies’ mantle – which is delicate fluffy greenery. Plus you can grow it easily and really a great go-to when you need interesting greenery for any flower arrangement.
Winners for Best Use of Color
1) Best Use of Red in a Table –
The Mike Bloomberg table was country chic using red in such a fun way. Loved the anemones, zinnias and roses in baskets and the checked tablecloth which matched the modern red and white plates with a paint splatter design. The table was designed by Bridgehampton Florist.
2) Best Use of Orange in a Table
Orange was a big trending color at the Hampton Classic. Michael Grim and Jim Osburn of The Bridgehampton Florist used kumquats in topiaries and scattered them on the table expertly with oranges and limes. They also found local orange zinnias that they put in baskets that created a country feel. And talk about repurposing! These baskets once housed “Nest” candles says owner Michael Grimm and were then used for vases. The Mediterranean plates in golden yellow and orange were a great compliment to this display. Another tip? Put the orange napkin underneath the plate. Why? “This way the flowers and plates stand out,” explains partner Jim Osburn. Also liked the bright yellow glasses.
3) Best Use of Blue in a Table
Longines table used oversized napkins as runners which was very country and also liked the woven placemats. Just loved the use of many ivory flowers including chamomile and zinnias. In front of the table were lemons to give it a burst of color. Fruits and veggies are always a good idea as an accessory.
4) Best Use of Brown in a Table
The brown and white graphic tablecloth demanded a simpler floral color design. Notice how big bouncy ivory zinnias and a few dark brown varieties were used and then simple taupe roses – which are becoming so popular these days – were placed in the basket vase.
So many beautiful tables were presented and will share more trends soon.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD, floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.
Photo Credit: Barbara Lassen/Barbara Lynne Photography