Kim Seybert’s Grand ‘Scapes for the Table

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By Linda Lee

Tablescape is a backformation from “landscape.” Cityscape, moonscape. It means “an extensive view or scenery,” even if it’s as small as a luncheon table. When Kim Seybert creates a tablescape, it can be as complicated as Versailles. Her tables are transformed into an environment, a declaration of style.

Her new collaboration with Baccarat, called Diamant, would provide the tables for the most girly bachelorette, sweet 16, or ladies’ tea party ever held in Dallas or Paris or on Park Avenue. The Diamant placemats (two for $500, pre-order for May 20 shipping) are 15 inches by 16 inches, and have a cotton backing so as not to mar a table. The look includes a triple-ring table runner ($800), four fluttering butterfly napkin rings for $150, and four Diamant linen napkins, with blush, champagne and silver embroidery. All this could be matched, of course, with your own Baccarat stemware, and a few of Baccarat’s iconic Lucky Butterflies.

Kim Seybert began dazzling the tabletop world in 1998, with a line introduced by Neiman Marcus. She likes to incorporate hand-painted items, unusual colors and textures, luxurious finishes, luscious color combinations and lots of references to flowers, as in her three-dimensional dahlia and hydrangea placemats ($334 for two).

For spring, just in time for Mothers’ Day, she has a line of exquisite Gardenia placemats ($334 for two), decorated with sequins and beads, which have a matching 37-inch table runner ($730). Four brilliant napkin rings in blush ($132) would add a little snap.

Above and below,  Florals by Renny & Reed.

Her simpler, sit-around-the-kitchen-island, Flora placemats in sorbet are a more down-to-earth price of around $308 for four. For a party, they can be dressed up with fine china and silverware, but they work just as well for a bowl of cereal with the children. Each Flora placemat, seen above, is made of capiz shells, backed with thin plywood. The wide range of patterns can be seen at Kim Seybert.

Or you can do it yourself. Pick any flowers, from the lilacs now blooming to the last of the tulips. Little lily-of-the-valley, violets. Something from the florist, or the corner grocery. Find a vase or a bowl. Bring out a white tablecloth and some cloth napkins, even if they don’t match. Try putting a mirror in the center of the table, some candles, a few color-matched sequins and crystals in a range of soft pastels. Let the flowers and candles be reflected, doubling their effect.

Whatever it is, it expresses your own style and dresses the table, whether it is a tablescape or not.

Linda Lee is a former writer and editor at the New York Times