A Harbinger of Things to Come
High Point, NC - Attendance thinned out seriously starting Wednesday, and Thursday the Market pretty much was running out of gas. However, the good news is that orders were written even if traffic as a whole was still off. But a collective sigh of relief was heaved by all as buyers sought out newness and the Market showed signs of life. Let’s hope by October, the vital signs will be a lot stronger. Consumer spending seems to forecast as much.
As for trends at this show - or any other for that matter - always,just when it seems that there isn’t much news to write home about, there are one or two exceptions that point into new directions.
I would classify Martha Stewart’s new "Songwood" collection offered by Bernhardt as a harbinger of things to come. Although described as "American Casual," in reality the pieces are pure Dutch Colonial. And I don’t mean the kind of seasons past, coming out of Sri Lanka. I am talking about some genuine Nordic beauties.
The collection makes it clear - as do several others seen at this Market - that traditional styles, and even a certain sense of formality, are reasserting themselves as they search for new expressions, appealing to both a well-heeled and well -ducated consumer as well as a surprising number of young people unfulfilled by the relative sameness of most contemporary designs.
Still holding on to its lead - but barely - even contemporary is bending toward the classic and embracing traditional pieces for a richer eclectic mix.
Getting back to Martha and her Dutch Colonial collection: She may be the first at this market to revisit the 17th century - a faint echo could be seen in spots of baroque at Maison & Objet during the last two shows. The trend is also reflected in the art world, where several museum exhibitions, including one recent one at the Met, highlighted painters of the 17th century, and at auction Old Masters, most of them of the period, are once again in demand.
Part of the look is a dark wood finish - relieved in the case of "Songwood" with a satin soft creamy paint finish used on a great Dutch cabinet and a beautiful bar, outfitted inside with glass shelves, and drawers for silver, table linens and bar utensils.The inside of doors are hand-painted with a gold toned tree of life.
Fabrics are rough textured linens printed in indigo blue. Accessories rely heavily on blue-and-white porcelains, classic companions to Dutch Colonial interiors.
I am betting that the 17th century will gather more attention as a style resource for furniture, home textiles and accessories in the seasons to come.