August 31, 2015
VeryFirstTo, an ecommerce platform specializing in extravagant products and experiences, is working with British furniture and interiors company Timothy Oulton to search for a discerning consumer to become a “global dinner party critic.”
The effort is meant to revive the “lost art of hosting” by selecting a consumer, hand-picked by the brands, to review dinner parties around the world in both private and corporate settings. From handwritten stationery notes to bespoke tailoring, luxury brands are firmly tied to traditions in society that are no longer commonplace, but are hoping to be preserved.
Be our guest
The global dinner party critic will travel to four vastly different dinner parties on three continents. Beyond tasting and reviewing dishes served, the critic will also review an array of hosted dining experiences, from the menu to music, welcome, atmosphere, guests and conversation.
During the dinner party tour, the critic will dine with “top notch” guests in an interior setting using furniture and decor from the Timothy Oulton collection. Each of the four interiors will be themed differently and will explore various expressions of modern hosted dining.
The dinner parties’ scale will range from small and intimate to “show-stopping” with a sit down for 100 guests hosted by founder and creative director, Timothy Oulton. The critic will also have the opportunity to meet the Timothy Oulton design team at the brand’s creative hub and showroom in China.
Other venues include an urban hideaway in New York, Los Angeles’ Athletic Club and the Timothy Oulton gallery in Amsterdam, which served as a church in the 19th century.
Travel and accommodations for the selected critic will be paid for, and there will be a stipend provided for additional expenses. The critic will also receive $25,000 to spend on a dining room interior from Timothy Oulton, as the idea of hosting is linked to the brand’s ethos.
Applicants must submit a passage describing their perfect dinner party as well as explain why they should be selected. Applications must be entered by Sept. 3, with the winner being announced on Sept. 7.
In a statement, Mr. Oulton said, “Having everyone over to our place and sitting around a great dining table -- eating, drinking, laughing, arguing, sharing -- that’s what brings people together and makes life that much richer.”
Other brands have adapted this ideology to promote their homewares.
In 2014, French leather goods maker Hermès aimed to inspire tableware purchases before Thanksgiving with a dramatized dinner party featuring its Mosaique au 24 collection.
“Le Banquet” was an interactive video showing eight people setting a table and sitting down to a multi-course meal. Showing off its dishes and table accessories in a realistic situation may have helped to create aspiration among consumers planning to entertain for the holiday season (see story).