One of the first things you see upon entering D. Porthault, the luxury linen boutique just off Madison Avenue, is the monogram the house created for the newlyweds John and Jacqueline Kennedy, who had been introduced to Porthault linens by friend and decorator, Bunny Mellon. To step into D. Porthault, which occupies two stories of a town house with facing semicircular staircases, lit by a vintage Lalique chandelier, is to enter an older, quieter, more graceful world where homes maintained staff and the lady of the house considered high-quality linens—for bed, bath, and table—integral to a life governed by good taste.
Many of Porthault's patterns are nearly iconic: the hearts and double hearts (Les Coeurs), the clovers (Les Trèfles), the rabbits (Les Lapins), and more. There are floor-to-ceiling sheets, cases, shams, coverlets, towels, robes, pajamas, wool and cashmere throws, and hundreds of Porthault patterns one can custom order, monogrammed of course.
New this year is a collection of luxurious linen voile sheets with some exceptionally pleasing color combinations—a muted charcoal and tomato bisque; silky white damask with bold black banding; serene gray with subtle blue underweaving; coral orange that Remi Porthault refers to as "rouille" (the Provençale paste one mixes with bouillabaisse), a savvy sage green with sky-blue trim and pure white banding—all made in 300 to 500 thread counts.
Also new is the Elegance collection of sheets and pajamas, the latter especially wonderful in a plush plum, a silvery gray, and the coral orange referred to above. Porthault additionally carries a beach satchel and rich terry towels called Rève de Gris. These, some quilted, come in white, gray, blue, palm green, and pink, with trims in red, silvery blue, or white, all bearing the attractive Porthault crest.
We haven't even mentioned the new collection of porcelain dinnerware in three patterns banded in platinum, gold, or sky-blue, or the vast array of irresistibly beautiful table linens—all of which secure the D. Porthault reputation as grand couturier of the household. 8 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021; 212-688-1660. 18 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France; 33-1-47-20-75-25. Also at Neiman Marcus, Mary Mahoney in Palm Beach, and Salutations Ltd. in Los Angeles.