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Wendy Wurtzburger

Wendy Wurtzburger, head buyer for the Anthropologie stores and catalog, searches from Thailand to Brazil to Paris for the latest in home accessories and fashion. And she can't help bringing a few things back for herself. Here, she shares her global-flea-market aesthetic.

How do you like to set your table?
I'll combine old family heirlooms and things I've bought while traveling. The pieces are pretty eclectic and usually don't match. l like using antique plates that were a Christmas gift from my husband's family. Underneath those, I often add traditional cream chargers, which have a more rustic look, from Astier de Villatte. I buy the company's tableware every time I go to Paris (from $60; 173 Rue St-Honoré; 011-33-1-42-60-74-13). Now Astier is mixing metals in with its white pottery—I'm obsessed with its bowls lined in gold. I got my silverware, Ricci's "Ascot," when I got married. The silver-plated version that I have is discontinued, but you can still find the pattern in stainless steel or sterling ($60 for a five-piece place setting in stainless and $500 in sterling silver from Fortunoff; 800-FORTUNOFF).

What's the best souvenir you've ever brought back from a trip?
In London, I found teapots by Lisa Whatmough at Plinth (Core 1, The Gasworks, 2 Michael Rd.; 011-44-207-371-7402); now we're selling them at Anthropologie ($128; 800-309-2500). They're wrapped so tightly in Liberty print fabric that the material doesn't look like fabric anymore—it looks more like papier-mâché. And I really like these English Chesterfield-style library chairs in distressed leather with a button-tufted back and nail-head trim. I got them in London at John Nicholas Antiques as a present for my husband (533 Kings Rd.; 011-44-207-352-2046).

How would you describe your style?
I love the contrast of old and new, grand and rustic, formal and informal. I get a lot of fresh ideas when I travel. Last year I went on a trip to Marrakech and was taken by the use of color there. I found a gorgeous green-and-white antique fabric that I use as a tablecloth. At Anthropologie, we're reproducing the pattern and making it into curtains ("Marrakech"; from $180 a panel).

What's your most recent find?
I was just in Milan and went into the cutest little store, L'Erbavoglio, that sells garden tables. In the back of the shop, two women make wonderful sculptures of root vegetables, like radishes and turnips. They look like old-fashioned botanists' models (from $40; 5 Via Marco Formentini; 011-39-02-720-027-57).

What are some of your favorite secret shopping resources?
Nathalie Légier in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a town in Provence, is great for antique dishes and furniture. This store has been in her family since 1890 (Avenue des Quatre Otages; 011-33-4-90-38-03-30 or antic-shop.com). I buy beautiful hand-dyed vintage napkins at New York City's Geminola, one of my favorite clothing stores in Manhattan ($80 for eight; 41 Perry St.; 212-675-1994). The owner and designer, Lorraine Kirke, uses lots of vintage fabrics in her clothing too.

Do you give a lot of parties? Any favorites?
Every summer we give a big party in the Les Cheneaux islands in Michigan. Last year we had a sunset potluck dinner on the beach. We made tables out of fallen pine trees and set up a bar with a quilt as the tablecloth. We grilled fresh salmon from the lake, and dessert was Michigan blueberry and cherry crumbles with vanilla ice cream the children made earlier in the day. Even the departure was dreamlike; everyone got in their boats and went home across the dark lake.

Do you ever give parties when you travel?
My colleagues from Anthropologie and I throw a party when we go on our annual buying trip to Europe. In Paris we usually stay at the Hôtel Luxembourg Parc (doubles from $260; 42 Rue de Vaugirard; 011-33-1-53-10-36-50 or hotelluxparc.com), behind the Luxembourg Gardens. There are two hotels with similar names; only one is good, so be careful making reservations. We get one room that's bigger than the rest, and on the last night we use it to throw a party with cheese, smoked salmon and wine from Le Bon Marché (24 Rue de Sèvres; 011-33-1-44-39-80-00).

Where do you eat in Paris?
There's a restaurant near the Luxembourg Gardens called La Méditerranée that we always go to at least once (2 Place de l'Odéon; 011-33-1-43-26-02-30). The fish there is delicious. The restaurant was designed by Jean Cocteau, and the walls are covered in murals. The fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent must go there every night; I see him there with his dog every time.

Where's your favorite destination?
Jaipur is amazing. It's an incredibly beautiful city in northwest India—all pink and jewel-colored, and they sell the most beautiful gems there. I couldn't resist getting two rings at Gem Palace: a clear citrine in a square setting and a large oval sapphire that's really fun (Mirza Ismail Rd.; 011-91-141-237-4175). When I was there, I stayed at a wonderful resort called Rajvilas (doubles from $475; Goner Rd.; 011-91-141-268-0101 or 800-562-3764). I also love New Delhi—the way the buses are painted and everyone is so well dressed in amazing colors, even when they're doing casual things like riding on motorcycles.

Published May 2005
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