Business

When our grandmothers’ cutlery makes its big comeback on the tables

She’s making her comeback to the tables. Mismatched vintage pieces, classic cutlery sets, diverted timpani and napkin rings, mix & match with everyday tableware… Deciphering a trend that tells the story of the times.

It took dinner at the Perchoir Ménilmontant, in Paris, where the chef Manon Fleury serves in the context of a residence and the reflection of a lonely spoon placed on a spotless tablecloth so that everything lights up. Silverware is making a comeback! One look in the room and the hunch grows stronger. Derived from its original function, a huge silver cooler is used to present the loaves. The cutlery, which will be arranged on the tables as the dishes progress, is arranged in a graphic and hypnotic way on trays, near the bar. They are silver. You have to ask the chief to confirm this intuition. Yes, she chose spotted cutlery to accompany her dishes. And this in a spirit of freedom, mixing pottery, glasses, cups, mismatched soliflores with small rural bouquets…

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The figures confirm this renewed interest. According to Francexplosion’s Ecostat study, published in May 2022, France’s production of silver-plated and silver-plated metal tableware destined for the French market and for export has grown by 19% between 2020 and 2021. the industry can rub their hands.

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The small dishes in the big

This is the case of Degrenne, whose workshop in Normandy has to meet the ever-increasing demand from both professionals and individuals. “Our silver-plated cutlery sets are praised,” says Olivier Perlo-Joncour, product marketing and innovation manager of the company Vire, enthusiastically. Especially our models with fairly classic lines such as the Blois and Verlaine collections. Their shapes have stood the test of time, they never go out of style.” As Olivier Perlo-Joncour, like all industry experts, notes that silverware rehabilitation is constraint and the rediscovery of the pleasure of a beautiful table, he also notes that before the Covid-19 crisis there was a tremor. “The Francexplosion study highlights that the market increased by 4% between 2019 and 2021, showing that there was momentum before. At Degrenne, we explain it to the drive of restaurateurs, in France and abroad. In recent years they have not only focused on the kitchen, but also on the experience, the table arts and interior architecture becomes as important as the content of the sign. As a result, their customers wanted to imitate them at home by putting the small dishes in the big ones.

For the aperitif. Cyril Robin

Antoine de Rémur, chairman of the board of directors and managing director of the house Ercuis, also sees in the great comeback of silverware a desire to consume better. “In these uncertain times, people worry about their health, Area. To reassure yourself, nothing better than to buy quality, timeless objects, he insists. They are more expensive, but well made, according to the rules of the art, in beautiful materials. It reflects a work of goldsmith. We know that we will not replace them tomorrow, but keep them for a long time and pass them on. It is an investment, a way to consume less but better. Hence the success of collections with a traditional design. However, this does not stop us from continuing to create. For example, we offer the Mirror range, adjustable knives with silver metal handles and copper, gold or black blades. We are far removed from the traditional codes there. The cutlery is no longer just an instrument for eating, but a piece of jewelry. An opinion that the haute couture house must share jewelry company Buccellati which, just in addition to its precious bracelets, necklaces and rings, has launched its first collection of silverware.

Pieces on display

Soft boiled. Cyril Robin

The huge success of Christofle’s Mood, an egg-shaped case with silver-plated cutlery and now also chopsticks, a kit for coffee or the aperitif, is proof that function and originality can go hand in hand. “Our classic services such as the Marly or the Malmaison remain essential, but the Mood has made buying silverware easier: with it you don’t have to know the rules of the art of living, you don’t just buy cutlery, but an object that is in the middle of the table is placed, which is displayed. Our personalized silver trays are also very popular, which also proves the increased importance of the decorative dimension of silver objects”, deciphers Marie Baussier, director of offer and products at Christofle, whose order book has been spring is full. Same observation at Degrenne where Olivier Perlo-Joncour emphasizes the importance of the depth of range. “Pieces that bring a touch of sophistication are very popular, such as trays, champagne buckets or even butter dishes with their silver metal bells. We work on objects that can be offered, which are linked to the great moments of life. We have many new products for the end of the year and many projects for 2023. And we will soon be offering sterling silver pieces because we feel that tableware is maturing with a clientele that loves beautiful things, and wants the French know-how perpetuate.”

Everyday design

Chic, the bath! Cyril Robin

This craze goes hand in hand with new ways to use silverware. “Our customers no longer want cutlery for special occasions. They want to use it every day and put their cutlery in the dishwasher, says Marie Baussier. People are no longer afraid of patina. During the Covid-19 crisisWhen they found their forgotten housewife in the back of a closet, they realized that she had survived the years and that this patina matched it well! Hence the boom in vintage silverware. “The second hand is important in this area, adds Antoine de Rémur. First, because the vintage rising, but also for cost reasons. A solid silver cutlery set is therefore five to six times cheaper in the auction room than new in the shop. Even if the demand for new is there, this option is not negligible. Selency’s online flea market has more and more old cutlery sets. “It’s been a year and a half since we’ve seen more merchants offering cutlery sets or lots of silver cutlery,” said Charlotte Cadé, co-founder and CEO of Selency. The offer used to be ridiculous. I have no explanation for this phenomenon, which is also accompanied by an increase in prices. Sellers are slowly realizing that the silverware was undervalued and are adjusting their labels. Don’t panic, there are still deals to be done!

Seafood appetizers. Cyril Robin

While silver metal forks and knives were wound up in garage sales, piled up in crates, they are back in the spotlight here today. Degrenne entrusts his mismatched pieces, which can no longer be marketed, to Monnette. The brand for personalizing antiques punches them by hand with little words or charming messages to give them a second life. At Christofle we took it further by creating a vintage tableware. “There were many Christofle pieces on the second-hand market,” says Caroline Radenac, heritage manager of the house that was founded in 1830. They were not always well lit. We therefore wanted to repair them, restore their shine, without erasing all traces of time, while writing them in our history. Caroline Radenac researches every piece found and this vintage “collection” is exhibited with explanations in a reserved space, pink, green and ultra-modern, of the boutique on rue Royale in Paris. There are unexpected items like a sauce spoon.

End of the meal. Cyril Robin

“This offer is a way of attracting another clientele who have neither the means nor the desire to have a whole housewife and who prefer a few surprising and beautiful pieces on a table. In any case, it was urgent to desacralize the use of silverware. We can see, by reserving it for rare exceptional moments, we forgot! In the shop window, the rehabilitated treasures of Christofle are also staged in an original way. Not a total look on the tablecloth but a chandelier and silver cutlery around a mix of plates and glasses of different styles and positions. A cheerful and inspiring mix and match. “Today, silverware sublimates pottery and a linen tablecloth. This marriage would not have been possible in the XXe century ! But nowadays we like to combine modernity and heritage”, says Caroline Radenac enthusiastically.

The art of shifting

Fries and success. Cyril Robin

Blandine Franc, President of the French Commission for the Development of Tableware at Francexplosion and Director of International Marketing at Dior Home, love, especially set the table. But there is no question of following the etiquette rules that she knows by heart. “I love twisting the great classics” laughs the one who uses her silver cutlery every day. Thus, in the center of the table, her grandmother’s silver candlestick, covered with casts of wax and clad in ivy, is the star of the dinner. “As for my children’s timpani, they are perfect little vases and their christening cutlery is ideal for dessert. Finally, I fill the napkin rings with shells: they are very beautiful table decorations.” Arabelle Reille and Péri Cochin, founders of Waww La Table, a tableware inspiration site and e-shop, share the same attachment to silverware.

Botanical Gallery. Cyril Robin

“The great thing right now is that you can proudly take your grandmother’s silverware with you. It tells the story of the family and, mixed with more contemporary pieces, brings light and reflections. The real trend is to shift it. A play used to have an assigned role and that was a shame. Now we have fun. For example, in a large silver cup you can serve a chocolate mousse, put ice cubes or even let flowers float. Old ashtrays can be used as a bread plate, or to offer small sweets at the end of a meal. The crumbs are beautiful and we love to show the butter in them. It’s beautiful and very practical because the guests can easily grab them by the handles.” The duo has no shortage of ideas for bringing aged silverware up to date. And Arabelle and Péri chant it: “You don’t have to put the silverware on A pot of boiled water with baking soda and aluminum foil; we dip it in it; you don’t even wipe it and it regains its shine.” This is an argument that should convince anyone who still resisted to adopt silverware again. .

degrenne.fr ; ercuis.com; buccellati.com/nl; christofle.com; selency.fr; dior.com; waww.fr