Table cloths? It’s all about ‘table gowns’ this season

Bye bye tablecloth, hello table gown (Summerill & Bishop)
Bye bye tablecloth, hello table gown (Summerill & Bishop)

Thinking of laying your Christmas table this year with a simple white table cloth? Or a little festive number, perhaps patterned with sprigs of holly and mistletoe? Or maybe you’re even going sans cloth, keeping it minimal? You couldn’t be getting it more wrong.

I hate to break it to you, but this is cheugy. It’s the festive season, baby, minimalism is out, maximalism is in, and the longstanding reign of table cloths finally has a challenger to the throne.

Enter: table gowns. Over the top, sequined and sparkling, they’re a Christmas party dress but for your festive feasting surface, and they are in.

They’ve been brought to the forefront by legendary table outfitters Summerill & Bishop. The Notting Hill-based home goods boutique has launched a triptych of couture table gowns, embroided entirely in sequins — 260,000 of them, to be precise.

 (Summerill & Bishop)
(Summerill & Bishop)

The sequins are stitched onto pure 100 per cent French linen in Switzerland, with the use of Saurer “Schiffli” embroidery machines — custom made for sequin cutting — which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Once they’re embroidered they are retouched by hand, which can take as long as 12 hours.

There are three colourways, all in the same bark-like pattern, which takes inspiration from the London Plane trees that can be seen near Sumerill & Bishop’s Notting Hill store.

 (Summerill & Bishop)
(Summerill & Bishop)

One is earthy and camouflage-esque, the second is springlike and floral, with turquoise, candyfloss pink, moss and white accents and the final is a picture of festive tablescaping: silver, bronze, and pearl.

Each table gown is as extra as the last, measured at 165 x 380cm, and are priced upon application, starting at £5,300 — yet another cost-of-living crisis-defying launch.

 (Summerill & Bishop)
(Summerill & Bishop)

Perfect for the lazy tablescaper, these are the best way to lay the most extra table this festive season without needing to buy 1000 pieces of dried fruit, hang delicately placed mistletoe or light a fire-hazardous amount of candles.

Despite the gowns being a new collection, Summerill & Bishop has already hinted at future tablegown patterns too, with a lace couture table gown apparently in the works. Think equal parts Italian nonna and 80s wedding.

You come to me... on the day of my daughter’s tablegown-clad wedding (Summerill & Bishop)
You come to me... on the day of my daughter’s tablegown-clad wedding (Summerill & Bishop)

Summerill & Bishop was launched in 1994 by friends June Summerill and Bernadette Bishop, who were disappointed by the lack of “personality and intimacy” in regular kitchen and tableware shops.

Since then, they have gone to produce what Summerill & Bishop dub as “the most beautiful tablecloths in the world”. And if there’s one thing for sure about these table gowns: they are not lacking in personality.