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“H e loved green,” Zoë de Givenchy recalls of her late uncle-in-law, Hubert de Givenchy. “ ‘Toujours le vert,’ he used to say, ‘Always green.’ ” Students of the French couturier might remember a certain cape Audrey Hepburn wore as she descended the steps of Paris’s Palais Garnier in Funny Face or the prim dress set Grace Kelly wore to her White House visit in 1961. But Hubert also brought the hue to his table, using it in a pattern called Camaïeu that adorned a set of glazed ceramic dinnerware he commissioned for his country home two hours from Paris, Le Jonchet.
Givenchy’s gardens at Le Jonchet.
Few French retreats are as hallowed as Le Jonchet. After acquiring the 16th-century moat-encircled manoir in 1976, Hubert and his partner Philippe Venet furnished it with painstaking care, filling it with Diego Giacometti’s lithe iron constructions and Joan Miró’s masterworks. A guest room was famously upholstered in a symphony of Braquenié’s Tree of Life fabric—a treatment that spawned dozens of imitations. The couple were known for hosting elegant dinner parties at the estate—Venet was an accomplished chef—at once resplendent and relaxed. “There was a balance in creating the sense of grandeur,” says Zoë, who married Hubert’s nephew Olivier in 2011. “He’d use woven placemats alongside Murano glass.” Thanks to Zoë’s faithful re-creations for her eponymous tabletop line, Z.d.G., a tablescape à la Jonchet is now more widely available. “Hubert has always been one of the key inspirations,” says Zoë. “Those meals we’d have together as a family, whether it was in Paris or at Le Jonchet, were wonderfully educational as well as joyful.” Zoë describes Hubert as an encyclopedia of the decorative arts; he traveled to remote locales like the tiny French village Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famed for its ceramics, and encouraged his deep-pocketed society swans to follow. “I have letters and photographs of Hubert visiting these ateliers with his grand ladies,” says Zoë. And in the final 10 years of his life, Hubert brought along his new niece-in-law.
For the new Camaïeu incarnation, available now in a range of plates, saucers, and serving dishes at the Z.d.G. site and MatchesFashion, Zoë has brought back the original emerald green (“it’s not a typical green that one finds in nature”) and added two more colorways: a blue and multicolored version with spots of violet and mauve. (“It’s very jolly.”) She’s also working with some of the sons and daughters of the artisans who originally produced the line for Monsieur Givenchy. “I love that circle of life.”
Z.d.G set of two Camaieu floral faience tea cups
Z.d.G Camaïeu large serving platter
Z.d.G Camaïeu Drageoir dinner plate
Z.d.G Camaïeu dinner plate
Z.d.G Picardie dinner plate
Z.d.G Camaïeu mug set of two
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