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When decorating for my clients or for myself, I always put a great deal of emphasis on bed and table linens – well chosen linens help to create a unified vision of luxury and elegance.

One of my favorite people in the world of couture linens is the impossibly chic Jane Scott Hodges, founder of Leontine Linens. Hodges has been studying and collecting the best of the best in the world of fine linens for the past two decades and has been one of the major forces in reviving the art of couture linens for everyday use.

You won’t find ME serving a cocktail without a lovely cloth napkin, and it goes without saying that my own sheets are properly ironed. It’s a touch of luxury that says I care! Now, if you are as crazy as I am about linens, bedding, and napkins, you simply must run out and purchase Linens: For Every Room and Occasion by Jane Scott Hodges. It’s a glorious Rizzoli volume filled with endless inspirpiration — it’ll show you how, for instance, to utilize couture lines in new and exciting ways, combining, say, D. Porthault with custom embroidered and appliquéd pieces from Leontine and things from John Robshaw (which incidentally is how I make my own bed!).

Photo from Linens

Photo from Linens

I love vintage appliquéd cocktail napkins and custom designed monograms as well. For my table setting, a hand blocked Indian cotton table cloth mixed with custom embroidered napkins, for instance, creates the most marvelous mix. You get the idea. My point is, it’s important to have a variety of pieces to create different looks and moods – whether mixing the humble with something more formal or having something absolutely elevated to create the most elegant table setting.

From Hodges' Linens

From Hodges’ Linens

You’ll find all of this in Hodges’ Linens – it’s rich with advice from Hodges as well as decorators and other style gurus, all copiously illustrated with the most gorgeous photos. Do pick your copy of Linens: For Every Room and Occasion on Amazon.

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  1. Dean says:


    Didn’t Mrs. Parish say something like “One can tell the quality of a house by the contents of the linen closets”?

    Great book! Thanks for putting a spotlight on it! It does seem like a Baccarat tumbler would demand to have a linen cocktail napkin- and the finest homes would have the best linens on the beds and in the closets!


  2. James Andrew says:

    Darling Dean,

    I believe you are correct!!!

    It sure would – I can’t wait to serve you from one of my Baccarat beauties with a fab cocktail napkin.



  3. I adore beautiful linen cocktail napkins, napkins and tablecloths!

    A word of warning!

    For the last four years…I swear to God…..my housekeeper and favorite cateress have collected
    umpteen of my beautiful “Marghab” embroidered cocktail napkins from the wastebasket!! Yikes! In the powder room! ALERT! (they are vintage and I collect them!!)

    If you have beautiful napkins and cocktail napkins….be careful with the waste-basket! Do not empty until carefully checked!!

    And I have received at least a dozen back in the mail (in lovely thank-you notes hand-written which I appreciate beyond measure!!!); with a cocktail napkin enclosed……”oops…he put it in his pocket! completely lovely and thoughtful! I think we are getting older!!! (I know it!!!)

    A lovely post; and I hope this will help these lovely civilized and gracious things alive! Beautiful linens….beautiful manners; beautiful maintenance of beautiful gardens! Keep it up!!!

    Everyone listens to YOU!!!

    Understated elegance…..oh I could go on and on….thank you for carrying the torch of elegance…..that is my positive thought of the week! You are elegant…..and a wonderful example….and that is what will carry it on!


    You darling man!!

  4. “Sister” did say that! “you can tell the quality of the people by the contents of the linen closet”!

    I have it in some book I own!

    Bravo! Dean!!


  5. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Penelope Bianchi,

    Marghab is just the best if you can find/afford when they come up- quite often on ebay as well.

    I love Jane Scott Hodges approach to linens as well – really a marvelous mix of things is always best – the humble with the grand make for the ultimate in chic self expression.

    The Ambassador of Elegance is what someone had named me – I think it a good thing. Happy to share these ideas and hopefully inspire a few in the art of a well lived life.

    Much Love


  6. Hi James!!!

    “Ambassador of Elegance” is a fitting title…..you have earned it and you wear it well!

    Cute story! My mother took me linen shopping to the chic linen shops in New York in the mid 60’s (I was in high school)! (Leron, etc. to the “sale table” Gorgeous monogrammed napkins, tablecloths, sheets! Heavily discounted! (I mean monograms as gorgeous as you could imagine!!)
    A fraction of their costs!

    She bought them ALL! I said: “But Mommy, none of those are your initials!” She said; “Oh honey, it doesn’t matter; some relative of mine had those initials! Don’t forget I had 52 first cousins!!!”

    And she did! I still have some of these; all these years later! She was so right! The beauty of the embroidery of the monogram……is what is important! The gorgeous fabric…..the incredible embroidery…..who cares about the initials? What a great Mommy I had!

    Years later; when we were building our house in Montecito (where you two were) I was in New Orleans and bought antique beautifully monogrammed French hand-woven sheets instead of closet doors!

    When Adam came home to an “installed house”; he said…..”omigod…those are my grandmother’s initials!!!” 17 years later, those beautiful sheets and monograms are still going strong in my much-used closet!

    I didn’t even know what the monograms were!

    His grandmother’s! I just loved the monograms! (I do not think they were his grandmother’s) they were part of a “trousseau”; and the lady was “saving them”! Never do that! She died and they were still in the tissue paper in their original boxes!

    YIKES!!!! Use all of your good things! Right????

    Tee hee! We love linens!!


  7. James Andrew says:

    Darling Penelope Bianchi,

    You have the most fabulous stories and anecdotes and what a dream to have had a mother like yours!!!!

    I love all this stuff!!!

    Perhaps one day soon I will have a proper house and be able to enjoy all these gorgeous things that I have been hoarding and collecting over the years.

    These things must be used and enjoyed – or what is the point?

    There is a fabulous antique linen place in Palm Beach – can’t think of the name of it- but she has the same exact philosophy – it is about the beauty of the monogram and if it is not yours – so what.

    Always a pleasure to hear from you and I can’t wait to see you!!!

    Much Love,


    AKA The Ambassador of Elegance

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