Photo by Johnny C.Y. Lam for Fig Tree & Vine.
A former high fashion couturier, David has designed a line of fresh, contemporary summery linens for Shabbat and Holidays, exclusively for Fig Tree & Vine. Zrihen spent 28 years as an evening wear and bridal designer in Toronto before leaving the fashion industry to retire to an 1880s Victorian house in a small village on the north shore of Lake Ontario. He didn't really plan to retire really: He wanted to pursue a longstanding dream to create simple, beautiful linens and other textiles for the home, a dream his fashion business left him with no time to do. So last year he founded "Lake House Linens," based out of his home in Bloomfield, Ontario -- once a Quaker town that dates back to the late 1700s, and now a tourist hub of a thriving wine region known as Prince Edward County.
When I found out from the store owner that David was producing these locally -- and furthermore, that he is Jewish! -- I immediately contacted him to ask if he would be interested in making a line of Shabbat linens for Fig Tree & Vine. Not only did he agree to do so -- he was excited to do it:
"My mother always set a beautiful Shabbat table. She had her napkins and her bread covers. When she’d go to Italy she’d bring back these linen bread covers. I followed that line. Why not create something more casual -- and not so 'embroidery'?"
David, whose father was an upholsterer, says, he grew up "surrounded by fabrics. I love natural fabrics – I love linen, cottons...so different from my laces and peau de sois. "
"People shouldn't be scared of linen," David said. "They wash well and stains come out." He's designed his covers and napkins so they look equally good pressed, if you want a crisp appearance, or gently crumpled, for a more natural aesthetic.
Indeed the more you use them, the softer (and more sentimental) they will become. Certainly they are made to endure the passage of time -- and one day might well grace the tables of your grandchildren's Shabbat dinners.