Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Wrapping in interview with Vicki Archer

I am thrilled to start off my Gift Wrapping Holiday 2010 series with our most talented author and blogger Vicki Archer of French Essence. I always wondered how the most stylish people wrap their holiday gifts and as we know peeking into Vicki Archer's world is always a pleasure. Her new book French Essence has quickly become "the" book to give and receive this holiday season.

I know you are working with a fabulous new colour scheme this year of silver, white and green. Is it working it's way into your gift wrapping too?

I like to co-ordinate my gift-wrapping with the colours that I choose to decorate our home. I am for the first time trying a silver, white and emerald green scheme….I normally love the brighter reds, violets and oranges…but this year I want to try and create the same silvery ambiance inside the farmhouse as I see outside in the olive groves on frosty mornings.

Are your gifts under the tree wrapped to match the holiday decor or do you wrap to suit the personality of the recipient?
I wrap to suit my home decor, sometimes I might add a little whimsy for an individual personality but generally I match the paper and the ribbons to the colour scheme I have chosen. This year I am tying a decoration on each of my gifts, so this will be the way I personalize them but stay within my colour scheme.

You devote a whole gorgeous chapter to Christmas in your new book French Essence. What is different about your personal festivities in France? What has changed from the traditions you grew up with in Australia?

A French Christmas is a winter Christmas and that is the biggest change for me as an Australian. I love that Christmas in Europe now mirrors the Christmas of my childhood imagination. In Australia growing up we celebrated the holidays in a traditional way with all the trimmings, despite the heat, so as a family we have continued on in that way. Now I incorporate many of the French traditions into our celebrations….mostly these changes revolve around food…as they tend to in France…We now have added fois gras and oysters to our menu along with many of the sweet deserts that the French favour at Christmas time. The other novelty for me is mistletoe…I love to hang this over the door…The Australian in me finds this custom adorable.

Your favorite ribbon? Satin, silk, taffeta, or grosgrain? Narrow or wide widths?

I love taffeta and grosgrain ribbons as they make up so beautifully. But then I love silks and satins too….I just love ribbons and especially vintage ones….Both narrow and wide can work…it depends on the size of the package…but wider is generally my preference. 

Are you a tissue paper or gift wrap paper kind of gal?
I like simple, but striking wrapping so tissue is my first choice. I often use old movie posters or newspaper too…Sometimes the most simple ideas can look the most effective.

Do you have a favorite embellishment this year?

I have found some pretty decorative ‘birds’ and some silver flowers that I will add with the ribbons. I am also thinking that I might weave through some olive leaves at the last moment.

What is your perfect hostess gift this season?

In France I will be giving boxes of Charbonnel & Walker Rose and Violet creams or old-fashioned sweets from Fortnum & Mason. In London I will be taking a mixed selection of chocolates from Joel Durand from, our local chocolatier in St Remy. These gifts make for lots of carrying back and forth but I try and give something that my hostess could not otherwise have.
What do you think gift wrapping presentation says about a person?
Gift wrapping shows that you have taken time….and giving of your time is the most generous and thoughtful present of all. Taking time and making time is a true mark of friendship.

Do you have a signature wrap for your fabulous new book French Essence

I am waiting for you to come up with that Sande! 

What is the best part of gift wrapping beautifully?
The expression at the receiving end when you give the gift makes all the creative thought and energy worthwhile. I am still thrilled every time I receive something beautifully wrapped. It heightens the surprise of what is inside and to be given an exquisitely wrapped present is a real treat. We all need to be spoilt from time to time and that is what beautiful gift-wrapping does….it spoils us. 
Vicki Archer
December 2010

 Thank You Vicki! 

Top photo by Vicki Archer/Remaining photos by Carla Coulson


  1. Sande, I am so excited for this series!!!You started it off beautifully with Vicki!!! Lovely ideas and I always like hearing the reason why people do what they do. This is a great interview. Thankyou for doing this!!!Merry,merry Christmas,Kathysue

  2. What a great interview - thank you Sande! And Vicki's book is definitely on my must have wish list! (I hope Santa is reading this!)

  3. Vicki's wrappings couldn't be prettier...and I love how she took her inspiration from her surroundings. The always thoughtful, always gracious Vicki. She is an inspiration to many.

  4. Sande - what a fabulous and fun interview! You and Vicki are the perfect combination for this time of year. I love the photos, the ideas and the sentiment - just lovely!

  5. Dearest Sande,

    Great interview! Peeling some personal layers of gift wrap off to peek inside for getting to know the person better. Very well done; great questions too.
    Still pondering about Judy and the fate of their love-child prior to her death. But what a wonderful small world we live in! All of a sudden it darned on me that you might know her too...

    Enjoy this precious season and live up to a Merry Christmas with your loved ones!

    Mariette's Back to Basics

  6. Just beautiful! What else would we expect!
    Have a wonderful evening.

  7. Dear Sande,
    This is one of my most favorite posts I have ever read! Vicki is so much the BEST and I adore anything about her. I also love reading the thought behind the wrapping. Especially because to me the gift is the wrap and thought~

  8. Sande- This is going to be a fabulous series - I can hardly wait! Such a beautiful first entry - what a luxery way to wrap a gift! Thanks in advance for what I know will be a fabulous tour of gift wrappings!


  9. Thank you for this Sande. I feel honoured this year to have had a glimpse into both of your beautiful inspiring worlds. :) x

  10. FORTNUMS!? Charbonnel & Walker!? Lovely. Your friends must adore you!

  11. Sande ~
    What a delightful interview with the goddess of French Essence! You two ladies are the epitome of gorgeous presentation!

    P.S. Did the stationery arrive yet?

  12. Wonderful interview dear Sande. thank you. I really love how she describe the meaning of gift's so beautiful and true.

    Happy Holidays to You, much love: Evi

  13. Sande,
    I love this post! You two make a great creative team! And those photographs are so beautiful! I always love silver around Christmas time!


  14. A wonderful interview about one of my favorite writers/bloggers. I have followed Vicki's blog for two years. Every post is beautifully photographed and written. She is always a source of inspiration.
    Happy Holidays, Sande!


  15. What a lovely interview. Thanks for posting this Sande. Best wishes for a glorious holiday!

  16. Dear Sande, Have just become a follower. Love your blog. But I do have a question: why is your print so small? It is difficult to read especially since your print is in a light grey.

  17. movie posters! Quelle grande idée! I bet you are so busy in your mind and your life with all the wrapping flurry going on right now. This was a fun post. thanks you dear!

  18. Oh I enjoyed that so much, and the photo's are just beautiful. Thank you Sande and Vicki.

    Hope things will be calming down for you darling Sande, we are still in limbo here, very tired and just a little

    But it's happy times,
    lots of love DJ

  19. Spot the "Canadian connection" with her French gifts! Garfield Weston was a self-made Canadian billionaire (made his fortune mostly in the '50s and '60s). One of his many grandchildren - Galvin Weston - owns Charbonnel & Walker. Another grandchild - Jana Khayat (nee Weston) - runs Fortnums on behalf of her family. We Canadians: always spreading style and good taste to the rest of the world...

  20. What a lovely interview thanks so much! I must get that book this year! :)


Your comments are such a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.


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