Friday, June 22, 2007

Trendspotting: Mah-velous Melamine

Melamine tableware has been around forever (it was standard issue in military mess halls during World War II). But lately these lowly, lightweight plastic plates have taken on a decidedly glamorous look.

There are plenty of fun, kitschy designs out there, too, of course -- Pop Ink has some great ones, for instance. But these newer patterns are luxe enough to use for more formal occasions as well as for casual dining on the patio. (I recently trotted out my Working Class Studio Ironworks Plates -- below, $6 each -- for a dinner party and got nothing but compliments on them.)

So in honor of the official start of summer, here's a collection of melamine plates that will glam up your next picnic or barbecue -- and look just as great on a candlelit dinner table:

Jackie Shapiro French Bull Ring ($45 for four), Crush ($39 for four), and Mosaic Dinner Plates ($45 for four), available from Plum Party.

Bongenre's Winchester Mandala ($40 for four), Louis ($45 for four), Tangier Sun ($40 for four), Coral ($45 for four), and Wilde's Lacunuae ($45 for four) 12-Inch Plates.

Pop Ink Wallpaper Plates ($40 for four), available from Velocity Art and Design.

Fish Pond Buffet Plates ($24 for four), from Anthropologie.

Jonathan Adler Origami Salad Plate ($10), Peacock Salad Plate ($10), and Origami Dinner Plate ($14).

Thomas Paul Coral ($29 for four) and Folk ($36 for four) Dinner Plate Sets, available from Velocity Art and Design.

Thomas Paul Gothic Dinner Plates ($36 for four) and Gothic Tray ($18), available from Elsewares.

Metallic Spiral Salad Plates ($15 for six), Metallic Dinnerware Collection ($15 to 18), Fusion Dinner Plates ($24 for four), and Red/Gold Dinner Plates ($12 for three), from Target.

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