Holiday decorations still the gold standard for designer

The United States has gone off the gold standard, but to the party designer David Monn, gold is still the standard by which glamour is measured. To spruce up a home for holiday entertaining, Mr. Monn has a particular fondness for it.

“I have rarely used silver,” he said over coffee the other morning. “I have always loved that bronze doré richness. Gold is warm. It is a colour that makes you feel good.”

Mr. Monn started his career in fashion but realized “pretty fast that I would never be the next Calvin Klein,” he said. “So I started a design company and segued into the party business.”

This year alone, his party credits have included a White House state dinner and benefits for the New York Public Library and the Guggenheim Museum — evenings that involved decorating for hundreds and sometimes thousands of guests. That can be challenging, Mr. Monn said, but he makes it simpler by paring down his palette to one or two colours.

For the Public Library benefit earlier this month, he used a narrow range of fall colours that blended together. And for President Obama’s White House state dinner in May honouring President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, he employed three shades of Maya blue. (In researching the colour, Mr. Monn said, he learned that in Mexico it is prized because it is believed to be a gift from the water gods.)

Shopping recently for holiday decorations in his favourite colour, Mr. Monn combed both smaller stores in Manhattan that carry unique designs by artisans and larger ones that overflow with amusing decorative items.

At End of History, in the West Village, he was taken with a vintage Italian ceramic piece with applied gold leaf. During the holidays, he said, it could be used as a vase or could stand on its own as an object on a table.

At Nest Interiors, in Chelsea, a handmade gold wire tree caught his eye. This time of year, he said, he could imagine it as “an object of art on my coffee table or my dining table.”

And at the Conran Shop at ABC Carpet and Home, he found something decorative and functional: table runners that could be used for a seated dinner or a buffet.

“I love wood tables,” he said, “but it is nice to define the centre of the table with a runner that gives it a little drama.”

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