Editor's View - April 2013

Focus On Eye Appeal
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief

Having the talented Thom Filicia express his design insights right next door in “Industry Views” inspired me to bring into focus some of the prevalent design directions in evidence during N.Y. Home Fashions Market held this past March.

Color Explosions: I recall traveling to Heimtextil a half dozen years ago, enchanted with all the bright colors adorning European fashion bedding, but knowing that most of that vivid bouquet wouldn’t make it across the pond. Perhaps the popularity of Tangerine Tango, Pantone’s Color of 2012, along with a psychological need among consumers for upbeat, mood-brightening hues after a tough recession, have finally pushed conservative American tastes a bit closer to the bright side, which Europeans have been basking in for years.

Particularly in fashion bedding and areas rugs, new popular colors are what Carol Antone from PHI calls “fresh picked”—as in garden-ripe saturated strawberry and blueberry, leafy green, refreshing mint, and juicy citrus yellow and orange. A bit of bling surfaced with touches of metallic sheen setagainst strong deep neutrals.

Texture Tales: Three-dimensional, traditional embellishments, such as crystals, sequins, beading and tassels, enliven decorative pillows, but whether it’s a duvet cover or window treatment, most embellishment is created through fabric weaving and construction, and faux texturing through printing, rather than added-on adornments. Chenilles, well-placed embroidery, pleats, pin tucking, quilting, jacquards and slubby looks of linen or dupioni were widespread throughout the showrooms.

Printing techniques, nudged to develop further during the recession as the affordable way to make a big statement, have evolved to deliver such clarity and precision in rendering flat patterns that offer illusions of 3D texture so convincingly that one is tempted to touch and feel to verify reality.

Styles & Motifs: Vintage-look elements, such as the appearance of distressing, fading, and ombre are popular. Oversized graphics still exist, though are not as prevalent as in past markets. Chevrons and lattice motifs are still going strong.

Global- and ethnic-inspired patterns have morphed away from depictions of elements identified with specific cultures. The blurring of origins creates a more modern look in which even tribal ikats (do you believe how popular that still is?) read like contemporary designs.

Transitional designs dominate overall, often involving the updating of traditional elements, such as paisleys, scrolls, vines and florals, with clean-lined, stylized treatments and fresh colorations.

Ironically, with all this color in home fashions, Emerald Green, the Pantone Color of 2013, doesn’t seem to be building on the popularity of its orange predecessor. Several suppliers noted the difficulty of translating it into home fashions. But the wealth of vibrant, clear colors adorning new market beauties should offer something to every consumer looking for an upbeat way to refresh their home environments.

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