High Points at High Point
Hermine Mariaux -- Home Textiles Today, 11/7/2011 2:00:00 AM
HIGH POINT, N.C. - At the recent High Point Market here last month, there were a number of introductions to remember.
That was true as well for home textiles, even though the category is a minor player at this particular event.
A trend checklist for textiles would include:
• Velvet, lots of it, short napped like mohair. Satin, suede, metallic leather and coarse homesun linens were primary fabrications.
• Prints appeared sparingly, mostly in two-dimensional 50s florals, ikats and animal hides, real or faux, included zebra, snakeskin and tortoises. Noteworthy were "distressed" printing techniques used to replicate faded tapestry looks and solo print motifs used on chair backs only. Two different fabrics, one used to upholster the outside, the other the inside of sofas and chairs were popular fabric combinations.
• Wovens, except for those handspun linens, were soft and smooth-surfaced and included an alligator textured silk velvet and a variety of tribal and Greek key motifs.
• Colors centered on the mid to ultramarine blues and teals, a new family of blue greens. Citrus is starting to morph into golds and oranges to better partner with the re-emerging browns. Neutrals, too, are veering closer to browns than to grays, although grays are defending their position.
Fabric vendors often cited at the show as main sources included Valdese Weavers, Circa, Kravet, Lee Jofa, Sunberry and Robert Allen - augmented by specialty suppliers in Belgium, Italy, France, India and China.
While furniture collections set the tone for major market introductions, let's not forget that carpets and rugs, lighting, accessories and bedding now all are an essential part of presenting a complete "lifestyle" within new collections. In the process, most of the brand producers described above offer their own decorating packages, often through licensing their own or their licensed design partners.
Carpets and rugs surfaced with powerful new collections at Safavieh - which now counts Tom O'Brien, David Easton, Tom Felicia and Ralph Lauren among its elite of licensed designers. Nourison made its return to High Point and a new high-traffic showroom featuring licensed lines by Calvin Klein and its just launched Joseph Abboud collection.
Also noteworthy at the show:
• Martha Stewart's new collection for ML Brands, a new alliance between Miles Thomas for upholstery and case goods source Lefa with factories in South America brought Martha Stewart's first installment of her new "Bedford" collection to Market. Positioned at a higher quality and price points, this was a soft opening with a tightly edited selection toward approximately 45 pieces planned for the April 2012 launch. The short line-up was impressive for its well thought out functionality and hints at earlier period styles, namely baroque with a modern sensibility. Customization of upholstery pieces and bed headboards includes quick ship turnarounds.
• Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams proved once again that they understand their customers and what it takes to excite them. Always on the cutting edge for color and textiles in upholstery and complimentary accent furniture, the creation of a new "Black Label" category pushed this line into new territory its creators call "Luxury Re-imagined."
Beautiful blue velvets, short napped like mohair, brilliant yellow satin, pale leathers and a striking gun metallic vinyl brought glamour while tribal geometrics catered to neutral preferences, and engineered spot motif applications were standouts on upholstery.
• Ralph Lauren coined the name "Desert Modern" to describe his rugged new collection for E.J.Victor. Boxy and chunky and leaning heavily on the natural attributes of rough grained woods, this was a solid and broadly appealing introduction going well beyond earlier collections he focused on the American Southwest. "Desert Modern" is not a regional but an international look with enough room left for rough textured textiles and hand-crafted accessories to drive home its Western design vocabulary.
• Lauren for Schnadig took a totally different direction. Although spawned by the same designer, the look here was decidedly French, curvaceous and flirty in its shorthand rendition of late 19th into early 20th century styles and scaled for urban apartment living. Furniture frames and textiles were all very high gloss with copper and brandy colored satins making their case for glamour.
• Century, too, looked to France for inspiration and in a big way. No fewer than four of its new collections drew on French traditional design. and one new outdoor introduction by designer Richard Frinier celebrated the seductive atmosphere of the French countryside.
• Baker offered a surprise return by designer John Black, a long-time key contributor to the company's Milling Road division. If this was an apparel company, you could call Milling Road a Bridge Collection because it offers more accessible designs and price points than its parent company. Let it be said though that Milling Road is no poor cousin, but a style and quality statement all its own. In this new collection, John Black created an appealing eclectic mix drawn variously on some Swedish elements cross bred with baroque and neoclassical pieces of both English and French heritage brought into the 21st century with wire brushed finishes in the aptly named Frost and a black/gray taken from Arecanut. He used woven textiles of great simplicity in neutral colors to bring all into harmony.
• Bernhardt, in sync with rising social desires to connect with the natural world, offered a modern spirited collection called "Elements." You could argue that "Elements" also carries some of the seeds of the American West. Choices, such as quartered white oak for the wood pieces acquire handmade looks through techniques such as wirebrushing and earthy finishes described as Dusty Sand and Bark.Artisanal accents include hammered aged patinaed iron hadware, textured bronze metal bases, faceted iron nailheads and faux mohair or leather on upholstered pieces.
• Lexington Brands introduced "the Road to Canberra" under the Tommy Bahama label, which was inspired by far away Oceana and the Australian outback. This collection, too, tended toward the rustic and displayed an outdoor affinity.
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