Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Kenneth Jay Lane Entertains
"Kenneth Jay Lane Entertains". Such a simple title for this March 1977 House Beautiful article. And yet, were any other words really needed to persuade the reader to peruse the article? After all, Kenneth Jay Lane's fans are legion. (I for one will never part with my KJL Maltese Cross cuffs, dragon bracelet, and panther ring.) And an article that also chronicled his dinner parties? Even better!
Lane (that's him above, holding what appears to be one of those coveted Tiffany & Co. heart-motif silver repoussé cups) has long had a yen for the exotic, most notably his collection of Orientalist art. And his home has always reflected this passion, stuffed to the gills with treasures and mementos garnered on far-flung excursions. His dining room, seen below, is no exception. It was tented to resemble a Moroccan tent. And would it surprise you to know that under that tented ceiling, Lane liked to serve his guests Moroccan food (especially couscous), which was prepared by his Moroccan chef?
The article's photos show what Lane's dining room looked like at such feasts. For smaller affairs, a round table was set with dinnerware from India, carafes from Japan, and a tagine that I assume came from Morocco. Lane also used mismatched dining chairs. If the guest list grew at the last minute, he simply pressed one of the room's skirted tables into service at a corner banquette. Lane mentioned that he took his dinner parties in stride, saying "I never worry and always hope." Great advice, although I do think that having a Moroccan chef certainly helps...a lot.
All photos from House Beautiful, March 1977