The amazing collection, Cuisine by APT, a collaboration between Flax Sleep and Jackie Kai Ellis, is now officially online! The line is both luxurious and sustainable, and will add effortless beauty into your everyday kitchen experience, thanks to the extraordinary design prowess of Flax Sleep and JKE! We chatted with Jackie about the range, and got the scoop on her favourite pieces! —Noa Nichol
Hi Jackie! It’s so nice to connect again (you used to be a Vita Daily contributor)! What have you been up to?
Yes! It was around six years ago I wrote a few pieces for Vita Daily and was so lucky to have had the chance to explore my love of storytelling with you. As you know, the writing spawned into writing a bestselling memoir, The Measure Of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Paris and Misery. Since, I had also bought and renovated an apartment in Paris (a bit of a dream of mine) and now I am launching a collaboration with Flax Sleep—a collection of European linens inspired by the Parisian table, called The Cuisine Collection.
How did this collab between you and Flax Sleep come about? What makes the partnership a perfect fit?
After I sold Beaucoup Bakery I took a sabbatical and got back to my design roots (being a designer/creative director prior to the bakery) and got my hands dirty, designing my space in Paris. I didn’t realize just how much I missed creating until I was deep in the process and having so much fun! The apartment was featured on covers of magazines internationally, and I also realized how much sharing what we create is a part of the joy of creating itself. I wanted to design again! I knew I wanted to partner with a company that had the same values, entrepreneurial spirit and with people I admired behind the helm. The ladies at Flax Sleep came to mind immediately. When I had first met them years prior, they were just launching their linen brand and I was so inspired by their gumption and intelligence. A group of women in law and hospitality with no experience in textiles had an idea, saw a need and with grit and creativity “made it happen.” I’m so glad they said yes. I think the partnership has felt really natural. Though more than the collection we’ve created (that we are so proud of), I know it was perfect because they came to be role models for me, exemplifying what good teamwork really looked like. I am really fortunate to have worked with them.
Is there special meaning or significant to the name Cuisine by APT?
It was named The Cuisine Collection since it’s not just for the kitchen or the table, but the entire lifestyle around food. A market bag for Sunday markets the cocktail napkins for apéro, aprons for hosting and cooking, oversized dinner napkins for those long, lingering evenings with friends. It’s about all the moments in life that are woven in an and around food. Of course, APT is the name of my Parisian apartment the collection was inspired by and the company under which I have been doing creative consulting projects.
What is the aim or mission of this collection? What was the inspiration behind it?
I really believe that beautiful things are not meant to be precious and left in the cupboard for special occasions. I think we are meant to use, and use well, those things that give us the kind of delight that stop us in our busy tracks and make us appreciate our senses. I don’t mean that everything needs to be expensive, it’s the stuff that just makes you smile, or makes a even a seemingly mundane moment more pleasant—the colour of the coffee mug you drink from every morning, the way your fingers fit through the handle, the sound it makes (or doesn’t make) as you place it on a slip of linen sitting on your bedside table. I mean, we live these moments anyway, we may as well make them as pleasurable as we can! So this is the inspiration for really everything I have designed, from the apartment to the bakery to this, it’s supposed to feel easy, elegant and put a smile on our faces.
This line is described as “both luxurious and sustainable”—is that an oxymoron?!
I’m guessing at one time having paper napkins instead of cloth ones was a luxury! I’m not sure being luxurious has to mean wasteful excess. Of course, I use linens for almost everything, from wiping small spills to wrapping them moist around produce in the refrigerator to keep them fresh, to afternoon snacks and solo meals with Netflix. I think I do it for a few reasons, some even unconsciously: because I like the way a bunch of kale looks wrapped with a swathe of linen versus a plastic bag, (also I know it’s time to rehydrate the kale when the linen has dried out), I like the weight and texture of linen when I’ve dribble something ungracefully on my chin, I find it just as easy to throw a well-used linen dishtowel into the wash as I do heading to the store for more paper towels, and aside from wanting to produce a little less waste in the world, it also feels really nice to give your guests that experience of unfolding a beautiful linen napkin and placing it in their laps before dinner is served.
What is/are your must-have piece/pieces from the range?
I am ever so slightly more partial to the market bag and its inserts. It’s so beautiful and soft and luxurious but I really haven’t experienced a more practical bag for weekday errands and weekend trips. The cocktail napkins are my go-to. I use them for everything from coasters, napkins with an afternoon snack, with apéro and wrapped around an apple plunked in my bag to-go.
Win! A Flax Sleep Cuisine Collection By APT Prize Pack!
We have a winner! Congratulations Christine L. of Vancouver, B.C., who will receive a Flax Sleep Cuisine Collection By APT prize pack including a Market Bag, two Market Bag Inserts and a Cocktail Apron!