Carrying the Mantel
Louisiana artisans elevate a sophisticated new line of holiday decor
Amid the “happy chaos” of her childhood home in New Orleans, Colleen Waguespack recalls, her family had little time to mull the likes of fabric swatches and room vignettes. But even with six children, her mother, like many Southerners, “treated Christmas as the most special occasion,” the interior designer says. “She pulled out the sterling-silver goblets and the family heirlooms, and really made an extra effort to decorate.”
Waguespack—who is based in Baton Rouge and has spent two decades doing design work for companies such as New Orleans’ iconic Holden & Dupuy—adopted that same philosophy when she began helping clients prep their homes for the holidays a few years ago. But the transition was trickier than expected, in part because she couldn’t find accents that matched the elegance of the interiors. “The market was full of kitschy, seasonal Christmas decorations designed to be used once and then tossed,” Waguespack says. “I was like, I could do this, and I could do this better.”
So she did, partnering with fellow interior designer Mollie Hill to launch Fig & Dove—a line of tree toppers, ornaments, stockings, and other trimmings handcrafted by primarily Southern artisans. Last year’s debut yielded striking pieces, such as the Baton Rouge artist Brad Bourgoyne’s acrylic dove ornaments, which ripple as though in flight, and sculptural wooden wreaths painted with greenery by Mia Kaplan, of Lacombe, Louisiana.
Those first collaborations created a timeless look by using mostly neutral colors, like gold and cream, and refined finishes such as velvet. Now Waguespack is working with two New Orleans painters to add a splash of color: Amanda Stone Talley’s abstract, graphic fabric has been fashioned into three new stocking choices, and Logan Ledford dabbed two sets of porcelain ornaments with her signature playful dots, including one with a muted palette of navy, red, and aqua acrylics. Both limited-edition collections bring a little whimsy to Fig & Dove without compromising the brand’s aesthetic. After all, Waguespack says, “there is a time and a place for fun.” Especially during the holidays.