Surveying Textiles Trends
Scanning the textiles hall at Maison & Objet, a fast assessment is that there is no earthshaking news. What changes are apparent are more subtle and incremental, both in color and design direction.
Household linens, the show contends, are an indispensable part of our lifestyle. Its caress rediscovered every day - whether table linens, bed or bath textiles, colorful or calmly sophisticated, home textiles are the first and last thing we touch to our skin and use to brighten our home environment.
Color always rates highest in interest to design professionals, and what we are seeing are increased percentages – a strengthening of directions – which emerged over the last year but have come clearer into focus.
Yellows have broadened dramatically and now fall into three different families. One are the pure sunshine lemon yellows, the other two are respectively, the orange-cast saffrons and the green-cast curries. While the sunshine yellows still pair best with grays and blues, the other more exotic yellows combine at their best in a rich brew with reddish-brown cinnebar or vibrant deep reds..
Blues continue their march away from green-cast turquoise into the true blues, a development which began almost a year ago and continues full strength at this show. Azure, hyacinth, and heliotrope blues are companions to a new rich glowing ultramine, a color miles away from navy.
These clear blues are part and parcel of the ongoing fascination with Middle Eastern influences typical of the design vocabulary of countries bordering the Mediterranean: the ceramic tiles, mosaics, and vivid textiles. The general overtone is one of cheerfulness and vibrancy.
This trend is nowhere more evident than in a special exhibition concepted and presented by none other than the fabulous Paola Navone, the Italian architect and designer responsible for the Maison & Objets editeurs section, always a major draw.
Against a Middle Eastern backdrop, she weaves a thousand and one threads into a visual tale that carries us into a spectacular and dreamlike world. The traditional patterns of ceramics and architecture are used magnified – telegraphing the graphic message on inked papers overhanging the exhibit rows. Above, gigantic mosque lanterns convey the floating magic of an age-old culture.
In this atmosphere with its blue overtones, the know-how of the greatest international fabric makers takes inspiration from the Oriental theme with its strong influence on the world of fabrics.
Ethnic and traditional patterns are put to lively use by exhibitors, such as Alexander Thurpault, Souleido, Beauville, Schlossberg, Iosis, Bassetti, Vent de Sud, Sylvie Thiriez, En fille d’Indienne, Designers Guild and Anke Drechese – all offering their rich and varied interpretations.
Reds, too, continue to trend toward the blue side: from hot (shocking) pink, which surfaced in surprisingly multiple places, often paired with or offset by black for dramatic effect. Bordeaux, deep berry reds and the classic sans de beouf are sophisticated companions to neutrals, such as taupe, gray and brown. Very little is left of the once ubiquitous purples.
Changes in pattern design are also continuing. An abstract confetti-like overall design appeared in several places, most effectively executed in a woven at Missoni but was also spotted on bedding at Descamp and a more contemporary scatter pattern at Slabnick among others. These small-scale integrated patterns with an overall textural effect continue to broaden offerings that use mini scale. On the other hand, large scale florals dominate more conventional, mainstream-oriented offerings.
Natural fibers and fabrications are all the rage – organic cotton, hemp, bamboo – not just because of their intrinsic and indigenous relationship to ethnic-inspired design , but more and more because suppliers’ and consumers’ heightened commitments to products that are both sustainable and protective of the environment.
Linen is the primary star. Bamboo is showing off new combinations with silk and/or linen – in bath towels, for instance, at Prairie Dog and Japanese high-end linens supplier Ushino. Another bath line garnering attention was designed by Alexandre Thurpault and made of natural fibers obtained from organic farming. Its exception al thickness offers great comfort and physical pleasure.
BVT, staying close to nature uses animal fibers, such as mohair, alpaca or camel, making immemorial use of the resources by Mother Nature.
Midiply promotes the quality of Pyrenean wool, and Zambaiti staying close to its primary resource, New Zealand wool and cashmere.
In fact, linen is so predominent that there is an entire separate exhibit, Linen Matrix/Matrice Lin devoted to the fiber, its properties and innovative new uses in textiles and non-textile applications – the biggest is "skutched" linen. Skutching uses a mechanical process to free the fine flax fibers from the stalk for industrial use.
The exhibit addresses the versatile quailities of linen to these markets: Sleep, Spa, Arts of the Table, and Technical. The educational area presents around 100 products from more than 80 European countries.
Noteworthy new exhibitor: Org, totally re-organized to focus on organic fibers and materials