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According to decorator extraordinaire Dorothy Draper, a great party does not require expensive food or a well-trained staff. All you need, she says in her book Entertaining Is Fun!, is "a hostess who expects to have a good time [and] some clever touches, which give your home that party feeling." We can't help you with the first suggestion, but for the latter, consider the new cocktail napkins. Gone are the overembroidered doilies of yore; they've been replaced by black squares emblazoned with bumblebees, a whimsical purple fish on a sea of white, and a gold mollusk on pink paper. Also gone is the 6-inch-square size requirement. Designers are truly cutting outside the box.
Léron, the company that's kept the White House in linens since 1910, loosens its collar with fish napkins. $475 for six; 212-753-6700
Carol Fertig reinvents the paper version with hand-stamped squares reminiscent of fine stationery. $35 for 24; 212-346-7890
Deborah Sharpe makes the ubiquitous coral motif fresh with her embroidered irregular rectangles. $90 for six; 310-276-6082
Leontine Linens is know for its creative monograms. These hand-lettered napkins come with a twist. $210 for six; 800-876-4799
E. Braun & Co. stitches linens for the preppy set, personalized with everything from club crests to golf scores. $160 for six; 800-372-7286
Sharyn Blond Linens trades tradition for wit, opting for monkeys, Mandarin ladies and pomegranates. $28 each; 913-362-4420