LONDON, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Debenhams, the high street store, has announced that deliberately mismatched crockery, where no two plates or cups are the same, is the latest craze to hit the UK.
A fad which started in trendy restaurants has spread to homes all over Britain, latest sales show.
It's a rebellion against the rigid, formal, starched table cloth rules which have governed dinner parties in Britain for the last century.
Debenhams' spokesman Ed Watson said: "It's a Mad Hatter's approach to formal dining:
"Young people are turning their backs on one of the last surviving forms of etiquette dating from the Victorian period."
The trend towards crockery in different shapes, colours and sizes was first noticed by Debenhams last year.
The style is common in the latest trendy tea houses which deliberately mix and match vintage cups and saucers and dinner plates but carefully coordinate the different colours and patterns to achieve an artistic end result.
Sales also soared following the release of Tim Burton's hit film Alice in Wonderland in 2010.
In the film, key characters, including Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp, are seen sitting at a table with an outlandish tea set.
Informal dining promoted by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver may also have contributed to the new trend, along with Lady Gaga whose accessory of choice was a cup and saucer back in 2010.
Ed Watson continued: "Breaking the formal rules of dining is one of the last great taboos in Britain. No one has ever questioned the way that a formal meal is laid out – until now.
"Using mismatched crockery certainly isn't an easy option. Choosing crockery with the same pattern imposes it own natural order. However, deliberately mismatching each piece requires much more thought, colour co-ordination and artistic flair.
"It's the dining equivalent of creating a painting from scratch rather than painting by numbers. Young people want to eat meals where imagination hasn't been confined to the food."
'Ladette to Lady' social & etiquette expert, Liz Brewer commented: "Offering an assortment of interesting cups, saucers and tea plates is a natural twist to traditional afternoon tea, so it makes sense that this is now extending into dinner parties and other social occasions."
The trend is even infiltrating traditional occasions such as weddings, birthday parties and Christenings, with guests sitting down to tailor-made crockery and dinnerware arrangements.
There are websites and social media forums dedicated to the trend appearing on a daily basis, firmly establishing its popularity.
Debenhams is a leading department stores group with a strong presence in key product categories including womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, home and health and beauty.
Debenhams is the second largest department store chain in the UK and operates 167 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Denmark, comprising 154 full departments stores and 13 Desire by Debenhams stores, which is a small store concept featuring an edited product range. Debenhams also has 60 international franchise stores in 23 countries. Debenhams' online store is available at www.debenhams.com.
Designers at Debenhams include Ted Baker, Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran, Erickson Beamon, FrostFrench, Henry Holland, Betty Jackson, Ben de Lisi, Julien Macdonald, Melissa Odabash, Jane Packer, Pearce Fionda, Janet Reger, John Rocha, Lisa Stickley, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew Williamson.
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