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Instagram adores a great tablescape, and those guests invited to The GREAT’s shiny newish Melrose store on Thursday evening were guaranteed a fabulous one. That’s because the occasion was a preview of global interior design and home goods label St. Frank’s new Day of the Dead collection, as well as their fresh Tabletop collection.
Guests arrived festively attired in floral headbands, boho black dresses and statement jewelry to the al fresco space, where bistro lights and large skull candles illuminated the table. Actress Joanna Garcia Swisher of The Happy Place interiors blog, and her co-conspirator Kate Gordon, celeb interior designer Jake Alexander, Cupcakes & Cashmere founder Emily Schuman and Carly Kuhn of the Cartorialist were a few of the influencers in attendance feting the occasion. (Stars Rashida Jones, Robert Downey Jr., Nate Berkus and Oprah are fans of St. Frank, which just opened shop at Palisades Village.)
As The GREAT designer Meritt Elliott — who started the fashion brand four years ago with her longtime collaborator Emily Current — explained before everyone clinked glasses filled with vivid tangerine margaritas by OME, the reason everyone was gathered traces back to their deep personal love of St. Frank’s decor and home accessories. Both Current and Elliott had bought pieces for their own homes before meeting St. Frank founder Christina Bryant—who looked like the embodiment of Dia de los Muertos on Thursday night in a sparkly plunging dress with flower crown and global jewelry—and forming a bond.
They felt Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that immediately follows Halloween, was the perfect occasion to showcase the eclectic tablewares and pay tribute to those no longer with us. Bryant toasted, too, before all dug into Hautechefs’ roasted chicken, street corn, crunchy Caesar and Mexican spice brownies: “As Coco has taught us all, Day of the Dead is a combination of Catholic Spanish traditions and Aztec traditions, creating this annual holiday where we remember and celebrate our ancestors and those we’ve lost. It’s a beautiful celebration of life.”
The centerpieces were comprised of rich arrangements made with quintessential marigolds and dahlias by L.A. Native Florals, and also purple, orange and white Day of the Dead Skull Candles ($150), handmade by a third-generation candle maker outside of Oaxaca in natural beeswax and festooned with handcrafted curlicue rosettes adorning the crown. Multi-colored, ornately decorated, matte Day of the Dead Skulls ($225) hand-molded by a fourth-generation painter-sculptor outside Mexico City completed the look.
The pieces symbolize both death and rebirth, and their bold colors are meant to reflect the joy and spirit of lost loved ones. The provenance of the art objects is in line with all St. Frank’s offerings: ethically sourced from the maker or artisan and crafted according to age-old cultural practices.
Meanwhile, St. Frank’s new Tabletop collection throws a wrench in plans to declutter before the end of the year. It also looks south of the border to include vintage Bolivian textiles that can be used as tablecloths, Mexican-made Black Clay dishes ($45), which guests used to pile the family-style feast, and weighty tumbler glasses ($15) that are hand-blown in a remote town in the state of Hidalgo. Hand carved ironwood cheeseboards ($60) held queso and fresh veggies as well as stories of their collaborative inception: Indigenous men first cut a rough shape with a machete, then women file the details and polish them to perfection. Clearly The GREAT and St. Frank know something about teamwork, too.
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