Sunday, 29 May 2016


 The Best of the Best 2016
with the Victoria Women's Association
&
National Gallery Victoria



 The Best of the Best 2016,  the major fund raising event organised by the National Gallery of Victoria Women's Association,  was held in Melbourne this month. This association raises funds for scholarships for leading art school graduates and NGV curators, and also contributes towards the acquisition of works for public enjoyment at the National Gallery of Victoria.  New dimensions of table art were showcased,  conceived and created by some of Australia's  leading artists, decorators, galleries, interior designers, stylists, couturiers and florists.  It seemed an excellent reason for us to dash up to Melbourne for the day!

Have a look at our favourites below.

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The very first table we saw was by Peter Rowland Catering.   'Field to Feast', reflects their philosophy of seasonal and locally sourced produce.   This philosophy is beautifully illustrated by the magnificent, edible centrepiece on their table. 

This towering arrangement of flowers, fruit and vegetables was constructed by South Yarra Flowers.  
The beautiful hand-crafted copper garden tools were made by Grafa Tools


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Themed in green was a table by Paul Bangay for Elliot Clarke.  Inspired by the Stonefields fabric collection from their collaboration,  Paul chose his favourite evergreen tree,  Magnolia Grandiflora as the centrepiece.   This was under planted with moss and wild Cyclamen.  The chair covers, napkins and table cloth are also from the Stonefields collection and the chic green dinnerware was from the Coote & Co. house porcelain collection.  The green velvet tablecloth added a richness and depth to this striking design.





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One of our favourite tables was by Coote & Co.  Charlotte Coote,  one of Melbourne's top Interior Designers commissioned the magnificent 80kg timber pineapple which was carved out of mahogany.  The canopy of Autumnal oak branches came from a close friend's garden. It is difficult to gauge the huge scale of this elaborate centre piece from this photograph.   It was spectacular! 





We adored the chairs, the seats of which were upholstered in a soft green ticking.  The fabric 'Fabriano' by Brunschwig & Fils was used to create the beautiful tablecloth.  The palest pink porcelain from their house porcelain collection and monogrammed Irish Linen napkins,  from their house linen collection, completed the picture.  We quickly popped into their shop after the after our delicious lunch at Moss Green, and admired their house designed furniture range.  
I am  looking forward to writing more about this innovative design firm in a series on Australian designers starting soon. 




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 Shareen Joel and Tarryn Joyce used beautiful flowers and a dark and moody table design to demonstrate contrast.  Referencing Caravaggio and other still life art and selecting brass, steel and bronze materials,  the result was a desired industrial feminine composition.   Deep crimson blooms, with autumn foliage, hydrangeas and purple orchids were housed in black steel piping.   Open pomegranates  lying on the dark tablecloth, created a jewel like contrast.  








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 Peony Melbourne haute parfumerie’s table was inspired Ormond Jayne Parfums, London which are exclusive to Peony Melbourne.   The magnificent over-sized,  hand-etched flacons, Lucite chairs, and the purity and elegance of the white orchids contrasted with the chartreuse hues of this luxury scent.  “In much the same way as a painter applies brushstrokes to the canvas or the composer arranges notes and chords, the master perfumer pursues his art through the magic of olfactory expression”.  








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Using fabrics from her own range, Diane Bergeron's navy and green theme was eye-catching.  The navy chinoiserie table skirt in her 'Mulberry' fabric with green trim was offset beautifully by her chic 'Hudson' fabric in 'Kelly' used for the seat covers.  We loved the vintage faux bamboo flatware, the silver julep cups filled with fresh bay leaves as well as the blue and white porcelain.  The tiered abundance of white orchids at the centre was fabulous.  I look forward to writing about Diane Bergeron in a future series on Australian Designers.   








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Wedgwood's mix of heritage and modernity was perfectly captured by their Megan Hess designed table where their new Vibrance collection was  featured.  The Vibrance colours of turquoise, pink, orange and yellow are accented with gold and crisp white.  Hess designed the bespoke napkins, featuring various couture dresses that complemented the Vibrance colours.  A delightful, stand-out design and definitely one of our favourites.  






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Flowers Vasette the iconic Melbourne florist, commissioned this magnificent 1.8m sculpture, used to hold the tumbling flowers and foliage which Vasette sourced from their own Beechmont gardens  The contrasting sparkle of the crystal placed beneath the sculpture represented ‘mica’ a treasure that exists naturally in the soil.  “Exposing the dark underbelly of the flower world, Vasette’s specially commissioned sculpture celebrates the essential elements of soil and rock, the rich earth from which the flowers bloom forth”.  The centre piece was quite magnificent and defied gravity!


The impossibly balancing organically shaped 'vase' surrounded by crystal en masse.




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Last, but certainly not least and definitely one of our favourites was by Brownlow Interior Design one of Melbourne's top design firms.   The mother and daughter team created a table that captured some of our favourite design elements.   The fabulous botanic tablecloth by Gaston Y Daniela set the scene with the over-sized lampshade in Brunschwig & Fils "Le touche" pulling it all together.   The green acrylic Dolce Vita Wine glasses from Mario Luca Guisti created deep green accents and the wonderful vintage rattan chairs suggested a conservatory or veranda setting for this lunch table.   Adorable ceramic name card holders by Beau Johnston added whimsy as did the illustrous luncheon guests .. Bunny Williams,  Elsie de Wolf, Alex Verwoordt,  Jean Monro, Sister Parish, Nancy Lancaster, Albert Hadley, David Hicks, John Fowler and Nicky Haslam were the invited guests! Wouldn't this be the most entertaining group!  Altogether charming and beautiful!





The beautiful vintage rattan chairs with seat covers in Gaston Y Daniela.  The lumbar cushions are Brunschwig & Fills 'Le touche - green'.




I am just sorry that this post took so long to get published!  I blame the erratic wifi as a result of NBN installations in our area.   I actually lost the entire post which I thought I had saved and so had to re-do the whole thing!  

Happy week everyone!

18 comments:

  1. It was so beautiful, my sister and I had to look around twice once we got chatting and pointed out the things to each other that we loved and hadn't noticed. So many gorgeous fabrics, tassels, flowrrs, the list is endless. Your post was a lovely revisit.

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    1. Hi Nanette, It really was a visual feast!! Thanks so much for stopping by and the comment!

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  2. Great post Jenny, wonderful photos. What a feast for the senses this must have been

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    1. The whole day was so much fun Kim and I loved Melbourne and cannot wait to visit again soon!! xx

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  3. I'd have loved to see in person, it looks better than half of Chelsea Jenny! Xx

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    1. I wander what happened with Chelsea this year Naomi?... I've read numerous disappointed reports. Thank you ... it was the most beautiful morning.. xx

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  4. Jenny
    How wonderful! Loved this post - had been looking forward to it. Loved the great variety in concepts of table design. So many beautiful features. In some it was the textiles I loved, in others, the flowers or greenery. Was particularly taken by Brownlow Interior people's decision to do name cards for a wonderful mix of people. Also, liked the way they used beautifully curated coloured glasses. Think some of the tables were a bit let down by their glass choices. These did nothing to enhance the displays - or provide attractive contrasts. Also the Coote cloth was fabulous and so pretty but the clear glasses combined with the votive candleholders looked in two dimensions just a bit cluttered. Maybe if one set of glasses - or the votives - had had colour, perhaps taking the reddish pink from the flower edging as contrast. But really, all lovely. Thank you, so wonderful. Pammie xx

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    1. Thanks for your comment Pammie - It was the most delightful way of spending a morning and I marvelled at the creativity of the people involved. These were our favourites and I unfortunately couldn't mention everyone... Those deep green glasses on Brownlow's table were wonderful!! xx

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  5. Wonderful post, so much to take in. Really very inspiring talented designers in AU and as one of the comments above we have Chelsea at our doorstep. Hard to pick a favourite. Excellent pics.

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    1. Thanks so much Lillian ... lovely to see your comment here! xx

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  6. So happy to have seen all of this! I saw a little on Insta, but your post is the first comprehensive look I've seen. Wonderful displays of creativity. Love Coote and Co's and Brownlows the most. Brownlow are one of my favourite Insta follows too... we seem to love the same fabrics!
    Also love their use of coloured glasses - probably because I do that myself! Easiest way to lift the table I think, so agree with Pammie that it's nice to see some glasses that are different on the table settings. Plus how can you go past some Gaston y Daniela fabric and Les Touches which is such a classic! x

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    1. Love reading your comments Heidi, thank you for following us on Instagram - hope to meet you in person one day.
      Alexandra Brownlow

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    2. Thanks Heidi ... We should definitely meet up in Melbourne the next time this event happens ... I love table settings so much and for me it was the best time ever!!

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  7. Dear Jenny,
    We are so chuffed to be included in your blog post and after reading through the above comments from your followers we are so thrilled our table for Best of the Best has had such glowing feedback, what more could we wish for! Just delightful, thank you. Alexandra Brownlow xx

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    1. How lovely to see you here Alexandra!... Yes - it is definitely very obvious that your table was loved by everyone ... and deservedly so! As my mother used to say - 'Don't forget the detail"... xx

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