Trend Report: It's Hip to Be Square

November 25, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Just Linens/TriServe Party Rental displayed square tableware in bold, watermelon colors at the BiZBash Javits Meeting & Event Expo 2002-The Fresh Idea Show.

Square plates used to be for Asian-themed events with black and red lacquered dinnerware and chopsticks, usually with a mound of wasabi in the corner of a sushi tray. But now, it's hip to be square (or rectangular), as the event industry has decided that modern looks are in and fussiness is out.

“The trend is sleek, contemporary and fresh,” says Marianne Wunsch, a sales associate for Broadway Famous Party Rentals. Chic events like the Council of Fashion Designers of America's awards, the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards and the Whitney Museum's fall gala have all used square plates.

Eva Kesse of Party Rental says geometric shapes in general are popular, including rectangular and even triangular plates. “I wouldn't say the Park Avenue set is asking for [square plates], but certainly the fashion crowd and more trend-oriented types are asking for it,” Kesse says.

While the angular dinnerware suggests a modern, Calvin Klein-ish approach to the table, the look isn't necessarily minimal. Although white and black square plates are used most, planners are also going for rich colors such as amethyst and red, according to Linda Lieberman of Just Linens/TriServe Party Rental. And they're spicing up the look with colored glasses.

At a recent investment firm event, Annabelle Karabec of event management company Ranita Productions used square dinner plates, and square and triangular glass plates for dessert. “They had such a huge impact,” Karabec says. “Part of the jazz was that we didn't use conventional place settings.”

Why square plates now? They're a cheap way to create a different look—you've got to get plates anyway, right?—and modern furnishings are one solution for planners looking for ways to create soothing, comfortable events.

And what's the tabletop without the table? Lieberman has been overloaded with requests for square and rectangular tables as well. “I've been doing them for years,” she says. “But now everyone wants them.”

Suzanne Ito

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