Men’s wear makes its mark
High Point, N.C. – Optimism is hanging in there and attendance is holding up, with a steady flow coming in as of Sunday afternoon. Traffic good but uneven. Some exhibitors complaining about a slow flow, while others enjoyed an overabundance of attention. Those who did are the consistent producers of exciting news, compelling marketing concepts and superior product and presentation.
Among them, as always, Hickory Chair, whose showroom was mobbed in spite of its "swan song" in its current location before it moves to new quarters on Hamilton come fall. That did not keep Ron Fiori, the company’s display genius, from creating yet another tour de force in his ongoing efforts to successfully integrate the work of the company’s superstar interior and product designers while allowing definition of space and presentation for each.
Outstanding there are Thomas O’Brian’s 10th Anniversary entry, his new Library Collection, and Fiori’s presentation of "Great Escapes," an umbrella under which a Hemingway-esque safari setting draws great charm and distinction from a unique textile combining eight separate primitively rendered animal prints used both for an eight-piece pillow collection and assembled in a nearly black espresso rough linen throw. Oddly enough and despite its exotic motifs, the coloration of rich browns, camel and deep reds together with the rough texture has a Southwestern feel.
Textiles in general seen so far at Market are heavily skewed toward men ’s wear fabrications: from chalk stripes to houndstooth, checks, window panes and herringbone or plaids. It’s all about men’s suiting for upholstery. Mitchell Gold+ Bob Williams as well as Pearson as two companies who also placed heavy emphasis on men’s wear patterns and heavy textures.
Texture, too, has never been more important. Linen, for some time a favorite cover choice by manufacturers at the high end as well as the middle market, draws new depths from a variety of striation. Also, heavier sack linens are sometimes adorned with printed document script or simply blended with slubbed silk or chenille yarns to raise their profile.
Heavy braiding and banding are used as dressmaker details to maximum advantage. Leather and suede play right into the masculine textiles look, including a new oversize alligator pretender referred to as "dragon croc." The brand new revival of ticking is noteworthy for its disarmingly fresh look.
What this boils down to is that for all the talk of color, classic neutrals remain the overwhelming choice for upholstery pieces, with color used merely as an accent – in interchangeable pillows or in the once in a while print. Examples: an amusing bird print by Thomas Paul for Duralee, a Chinese pagoda from the same designer and source spotted in several showrooms, an antler print from Lee Jofa, or the occasional paisley, rendered open and in one color only as are botanical documents seen on decorative pillows at Dransfield and Dross.
Colors rest primarily on the golden beige to brown scale, with gray muting into taupes. Accent colors focus on ocean blues, fiery and deep berry reds, golden yellows and new greens, either on the light celadon side or, more often on deeper shades. The latter look wonderful in rich velvets which make their presence felt, both in "shaded" dull finishes but more often seen shimmery when blended with silk.
More news from High Point tomorrow.