NAPKINS ARE NEVER big enough. Everybody knows that. No matter how careful you might be, whatever you let slip from your fork is bound to fall onto the exact spot that your napkin is not covering.
Lapkins, however, are another matter. For these are not only napkins for giants (they measure about 24x24 inches and can be ordered larger), they are also napkins for the privileged. Made in Italy by Pratesi, which makes the world's most elegant sheets, towels and tablecloths, lapkins are available in any of the Pratesi patterns in prints, jacquard and linen. They are an absolutely beautiful addition to any table, and a few of these would be enough to make any picnic table look fit for a prince. Furthermore, in a time when antique linens are the rage, wouldn't it be nice to know that you were amassing instant heirlooms?
And--should you happen to find yourself in the store--ask to see the incredible bassinet. It comes complete with hand-made sheets and coverlet, and is just the thing to get a wee one started on the proper path. Its price is astronomical, but if a child is going to grow up to wipe his fingers on $60 lapkins, he's going to need a little training.
Lapkins are $45 to $60 each. By special order at Pratesi, 9024 Burton Way, Beverly Hills (213) 274-7661 .