Aug 25, 2009

Dinner at the home of Elsie deWolfe

This post is not exactly a textile story, but it does reveal something about the values by Elsie deWolfe - America's first interior designer.
She lived on Irving Place in New York City and vacationed at her impressive mansion in Versailles, France during the final years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.
Elsie absolutely loved to entertain. She created sumptuous dinner parties and many evening extravaganzas - some that even included elephants and exotic dancers or the construction of a tented wing to her home. The invited guests were the fashionable, the wealthy, the European titled families and the literati of both the old and new world. All vied for invitations to the Versailles home of Elsie deWolfe.
Elsie's decor always included hundreds of yards of textiles, many potted plants and dozens and dozens of orchids. The dishes and the cutlery were carefully chosen. Each room was perfectly laid out. Every vista was planned for maximum impact.
But, food? Not so much! She was known for being very skimpy with any food she served, even at a sit-down meal. Elsie loved decorating and designing. She created the ambience, master-minded the guest list, decided on all the decorations and entertainment, but never spent much effort or money for the food! Her guests soon realized this and ate before they departed for a soirĂ©e at Elsie's home.
I find this quirk completely inexplicable and totally amusing!