Hosting As Art: The Gohar Sisters Reimagine Dinner Party Curation

The combined imaginations of Egyptian-Canadian sisters Laila and Nadia Gohar, have created an entire surrealist dinner party universe, ranging from flatware to edible art. The two artists and sisters run, a tableware store and lifestyle blog celebrating the art of hosting and offering unique inspo and their own designed products to help artsy hosts get weird with it.

“Conceived as future heirlooms… Our products celebrate disappearing traditions,” their site explains.

Indeed, a trip through their shop and lookbook reveals a world in which visual and culinary art merge timeless, antique heirloom aesthetics with surreal yet often subtle modern twists. Classical, luxury imagery is met with a tongue-in-cheekiness packed with so much personality that it seems to nearly transcend the dinner-party-accoutrement-medium itself.

There’s a pervasive sense of humor throughout their collections. “If something is too chic for its own good, it really gets on my nerves,” Laila told The Cut earlier this year.

We concur! Laila, who is also a chef and food designer, was revealed this month to be the curator of the latest Parisian installation of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated auction series. She also writes a column called How to Host It with the Financial Times, based on imagined holidays. In an interview with Sotheby’s ahead of the auction, Laila explained the influence of surrealism on she and Nadia’s tableware designs:

“My work has always felt the influence of Surrealism to an extent. It almost makes people feel like children when you see an object or subject taken out of an ordinary context, or the play with proportion, for example.”

Like most modern surrealists, her love affair began with exposure to the work of Salvador Dalí – greatly identifying with the notion that his art touched every aspect of his lift. You can see the influence of his cookbook and dinner party series on their designs. Even Dalí’s color pallet and angles make their way into the designs of Gohar World.

While the Gohar shop may be full of looks and products reflecting ‘disappearing traditions,’ here at The Salon Host, we know the tradition of hosting never actually disappears. While the art of salon hosting may fall in and our of fashion both politically and socially, the art is never lost and currently in the upswing of a huge comeback post-lockdown, according to the New York Times.

We’ve espoused the countless personal, professional and social benefits of salon hosting on this site to no end, but in case you need a refresher… or a how-to.

And with that, go forth! You’re inspired, you’re an active member of your community, you care about the issues of the day, and even in this economy, you can still pull off hosting for ten for under $100. Even the shop’s price points don’t immediately induce panic, and their food-themed candle collection is a masterpiece / terrific gift for any hosts in your life.

But we before we close here, we leave you with our favorite words of hosting wisdom from the Gohar sisters:

In Gohar World, everybody has the ability to be a great host — one who gives themselves to their guests. Giving oneself means giving the most valuable of possessions; time. 

The time it takes to invite guests.
The time it takes to shop for food.
The time it takes to cook.
The time it takes to set the table.
The time it takes to arrange the flowers.
The time it takes to select the music.
And finally, the time to sit and enjoy those we love.  (Which is, spoiler! The part that makes it all worthwhile.)