Our love affair with Provence table linens started over 30 years ago. We started bringing back colorful printed cotton napkins as presents for friends. They're really a perfect gift - can be tucked into a suitcase, don't weigh anything and are unbreakable. A perfect souvenir for friends to enjoy. Obviously we also acquired our own collection over the years, and we still have some napkins from those original purchases.
The history of beautiful Provence fabrics started in the 17th Century, when imported Persian and Indian fabrics were all the rage - and quite costly. A good overview of the history can be found at http://www.travelfranceonline.com/provencal-fabrics-their-origins-history/. Since then, designs incorporating more of the Provence landscapes (olives, lavender, lemons, mimosa, etc.) joined the original paisley and stylized flowers patterns, often side-by-side. Our soon-to-arrive collection will bring back some of those original paisleys and "indiennes" elements, but give them a fresh look with the choice of more modern shades.
New weaving techniques have created the cotton jacquard patterns in the bright colors that enliven our table every day. But when the jacquard is patterned after the original elements of printed cottons, we have a new favorite. Provence Springs.
We were admiring the exquisite finished details on some of our new jacquard napkins, (coming soon!). The hems, the "negative" pattern on the reverse - all of these details make these linens special.
I remembered our own older printed cotton napkins and admired them for another reason: after 30 years of regular use, the colors are still vibrant and the designs are timeless.
We do mix-and-match our napkins at our dinners, and love the colorful, casual tables we set. Even a buffet table looks more fun with this approach. It's easy to be kinder to the environment by shunning paper anything at our tables!