Guests come in and out of fashion designer Maureen Disini’s atelier. Mostly, they visit for fittings or to pick up a new creation by her. To her closest set of friends, some from way back in high school and others made during the course of her career in fashion, her atelier is also a place to gather for an elegant dinner.
Mannequins and other accouterments hinting at the life of a designer are set aside, early in the mornings, before Maureen’s intimate dinners. “I spent the whole morning setting up the place,” she begins. Bottles of bubbly and fine spirits are chilled a little after midday so that it is ready for consumption come happy hour. “Everything that I put on the table is a labor of love. But I don’t cook!,” she says with candor. “I do have a good list of people to contact when I plan my dinners.” Her sister, Rebecca, is someone she recommends for beautiful desserts and pastries. “She made this Le Matcha mirror cake especially for my dinner. It is one of her masterpieces. I’m so happy that I can always call her to create beautiful cakes for my dinners,” beams the host.
The dinners that Maureen put together are intended to reflect her design sensibility. Black, white and a pop of color like green or aqua are hues integrated into her tablescapes and sometimes even the menu which is often prepared by celebrated chef Margarita Fores. Her creativity shows in the way she innovates traditional entertaining requisites like place cards. At a dinner held for her high school best friends, she used bottle markers in aqua to write down the names of her guests on the stemware. “I love using only crisp linens for my table,” adds Maureen. “I also like to keep things simple, elegant and classic.” A long glass table surrounded by Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck are dressed in white china, crystal stemware and floral arrangements comprised of white roses.
Eclectic music, scented candles and flowing bubbly enhance the light and cozy ambience in Maureen’s home. An invitation to either take off shoes or sit on the floor before dinner commences is both refreshing as it is endearing. “What’s important when I do dinners is that guests truly feel at home and that nothing is too contrived or restrained. So if they are more comfortable walking barefoot or sitting on the floor, then we would,” she explains. While comfortably lounging on the dark wooden parquet floors of the apartment, as if back in high school again, Maureen and her guests pick up right where they left off as the best of friends would.
Text by Bianca S. Salonga
Photography by Yukie Sarto
A Menu For Dinner With Old Friends by Margarita Fores
Salted Egg, Asparagus Spears
Onion Cream, Truffle Oil
Pan Seared Lapu Lapu in “Cortoccio”
Fennel and Orange Confit, Bottarga di Muggine
Tagaytay French Beans
Tagliata di Manzo “Al Rosmarino”
Roast Beef Tenderloin, Garlic and Rosemary
Garlic Caper Berry, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Minted Haricot Vert, Heirloom Garlic Brown Rice
Heirloom Tomatoes, Baby Rucola, Edible Flowers, Baby Rucola, Edible Flowers
Lemon, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aceto Balsamico Glaze
Canonigo, Natila Cebu Mangoes
Mindoro Calamansi Spuma
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