A Shiny Good Time

Three tastemak­ers share their re­spec­tive takes on cre­at­ing the ideal sil­ver-themed party.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - News - By Na­ressa Khan.

With such a spe­cial is­sue cel­e­brat­ing the won­ders of sil­ver, it is only apt that we take our cause to the high­est, most decadent ex­tent – by in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mak­ings of the per­fect sil­ver-themed party. What is truly sil­ver and the best, most im­me­di­ate form of cel­e­bra­tion, if not for the most su­per­charged rare metal on earth and a party? It ap­pears that a nat­u­ral metaphor is in or­der, and we are not about to let it slip away un­stud­ied.

Be­fore a glis­ten­ing gath­er­ing is to emerge into fruition, one must log­i­cally get in touch with their per­sonal def­i­ni­tion of sil­ver. Clearly, there is no one bet­ter to as­sist us on this than design ex­traor­di­naire Lisette Scheers, the founder, owner, and cre­ative di­rec­tor of life­style brand Nala De­signs. “Sil­ver is prag­matic. When I think of sil­ver, I think of class and steel – of the clean cut, strong, and straight­for­ward,” be­gins Scheers no later than five min­utes af­ter I ar­rived at Nala De­signs’ charm­ing space, lo­cated above her café and con­cept shop Dr.Inc.

To il­lus­trate her point, the Dutch de­signer beck­oned me to a long wooden ta­ble clothed in mono­grammed white linen. A set­ting of vin­tage plates, crys­tal glasses, can­dle hold­ers, and an­tique sil­ver­ware, all ca­su­ally but neatly ar­ranged, ap­peared within the pe­riph­ery. “If you ask me, I’d have a ta­ble set in vin­tage tin, with a con­tem­po­rary twist – mod­ern day op­u­lence,” Scheers ex­plains, un­rav­el­ling her ul­ti­mate party fan­tasy. “It would be com­bined with con­crete slabs and vin­tage damask, sil­ver cut­lery with en­graved ini­tials, grey linen nap­kins, and crys­tal glasses – a raw touch com­bined with ex­treme lux­ury. I’d even have Si­amese cats walk­ing around if I could.”

Although no tin fur­ni­ture and slick fe­lines were to be seen com­ple­ment­ing the view be­fore me, there were fresh lilies ev­ery­where on the ta­ble, ac­com­pa­nied by shy glimpses of rose­mary and

pan­dan leaves here and there. I no­ticed flow­ers as stand-alones in sil­ver gob­lets, all left un­grouped with other species of blooms – an ob­ser­va­tion that Scheers picks up on in­stantly. “I can’t deal with fluff, and I hate the usual tem­plate florists have for flower ar­range­ments,” she jus­ti­fies, a hand ca­ress­ing a nearby white petal. “I don’t mix flow­ers, as I think each type of flower has its own strength. Another big no-no for me is fake flow­ers – un­less we are go­ing for the kitschy, ‘plas­tic kitchen’ look.” Green and sil­ver make for an un­ex­pected com­bi­na­tion, but is re­fresh­ing and no less riv­et­ing than sil­ver and flu­o­res­cent pink, another pair­ing she doesn’t mind. The colours that she would never match with sil­ver, how­ever, are black, red, and gold. They are “too easy and cliché.”

“Peo­ple don’t usu­ally un­der­stand that less is in­deed more. You don’t need much – just the guts to go with it. Ta­bles should al­ways be set with flair and a sense of hu­mour,” the tastemaker em­pha­sises as she opens a wooden box with green cush­ioned in­te­rior, re­veal­ing a big set of an­tique sil­ver­ware she in­her­ited from her grand­mother when she was 20 years old. “Old things just add char­ac­ter, which is why I al­ways col­lect them dur­ing my trav­els. Ev­ery­thing we have on this ta­ble – save for this boxed heir­loom – took 25 years to amass. Most of them were bought in flea mar­kets in Hol­land and left un­pol­ished over the years. I ap­proach sil­ver with ‘rus­tic beauty’ in mind.”

A sim­plis­tic set­ting goes a long way as it high­lights the core con­tent of a gath­er­ing: de­lec­ta­ble of­fer­ings for

food. While Scheers would in­stantly imag­ine rolls of char­coal bread and mildly burnt ap­ple pies as cen­tral to a sil­ver party, Miche­lin-starred chef Jeff Ram­sey has “savoury” in mind. For a gath­er­ing of this breadth, the Kuala Lumpur-based ex­pert be­hind mod­ernist restau­rant Babe en­vi­sions bite-sized canapés to be syn­ony­mous with cel­e­bra­tions – think white ponzu­mar­i­nated oys­ters, served on sil­ver-painted shells. “Sil­ver re­minds me of cel­e­bra­tions and sparkles – it’s sexy, sleek, and clas­sic. I’d im­me­di­ately think of oys­ters – they are lux­u­ri­ous and decadent, per­fect for fes­tive par­ties. Oys­ters are de­li­cious and go very well with cham­pagne – pretty ideal for a cock­tail party dur­ing the hol­i­days.” Echo­ing his choice, Scheers muses, “Not ev­ery­thing needs to be cooked.”

As for De­wakan Restau­rant’s culi­nary con­nois­seur Dar­ren Teoh, he rev­els in the unas­sum­ing, clean lus­tre of sil­ver, which he in­ter­prets with a palate cleans­ing pre­dessert dish of mul­berry com­pote, white choco­late, de­hy­drated cashew nut mousse, and car­damom, dec­o­rated with tiny sil­ver leaves to put the party theme into lit­eral ef­fect. “When I think of sil­ver, I think of Christ­mas and new mem­o­ries. The sil­ver leaves show that in­gre­di­ents less used can sit quite beau­ti­fully with mere sliv­ers of grandeur. With this dish, I in­tend to not evoke old mem­o­ries, but rather, to make new ones,” ex­presses Teoh. Scheers agrees to this sen­ti­ment, not­ing, “When some­one cooks for hours, the food de­serves the re­spect it needs, and this is done with your styling. Also, ta­ble set­ting is a must, es­pe­cially if you have more than eight peo­ple at your party. You must place your guests next to peo­ple who have things in com­mon with them. The ex­pe­ri­ence is im­por­tant, which is why set­tings should al­ways be de­lib­er­ate.” Save for dishes such as cold pas­tas and seafood-based canapés, “food must be served hot – al­ways!”

Much like other types of con­tex­tual gath­er­ings in life, a sil­ver-in­spired party, big or small, should al­ways fo­cus on the mean­ing. “At­ten­dees of a sil­ver party would be peo­ple who don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously. They love long dis­cus­sions, good food, lots of drinks, and danc­ing,” beams Scheers. As for the best mu­sic that guests could sway to in sheer delight? “Brazil­ian jazz, led by the likes of Bebel Gilberto and Ce­saria Evora – it is al­ways a bril­liant idea.”

Lisette Scheers, all decked out in sil­ver

Pas­try de­lights play

up the con­strast against rus­tic sil­ver

Egg tarts served on vin­tage glass plates

S m c o he lo er ir s’ he an d tiq re ue su culte trea

ry set is a

Miche­lin-starred chef Jeff Ram­sey

M k an in ga d cra nte b pri

served on ed­i­ble

White ponzu­mar­i­nated oys­ter by Jeff Ram­sey

Ben­jamin Yong, founder of The Big Group

Dar­ren Teoh, found­ing chef of De­wakan

Mu kan lber ewa

ry dish at D

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