Design leaders are going Baroque
Mark these words on your trend watch list - and keep them up there high. You will hear them more often and see growing evidence sooner than you think:
OLD MASTER PAINTINGS
There were only a few straws in the wind three seasons ago. I took notice with first photos last September. Watched it grow at the January show - now finding the trend full-blown, especially in decorative accessories.
It has migrated into furniture and has begun to show up in home textiles. Most importantly, it's heard more and more often in conversation around the show. What is especially noteworthy about this new direction is that it is the exact opposite of the style lexicon so popular over the last few years: contemporary - simple - minimalist - austere. Trust me, there is nothing minimalist, let alone austere, about BAROQUE. It is ornate, it is gilded, it is rich in carvings, and it is complex.
Mark my words TRADITIONAL IS BACK - OPULENCE IS BACK. Not that either ever completely disappeared, but while neither has had much press lately, during a lengthy digestive period, traditional morphed into a more streamlined look through re-interpretation, re-invention and further disguised by unusual color and textile applications. Well - not any more.
However, the new take on BAROQUE also shows signs of finding its own current interpretation. CARVINGS, elaborate on mirrors, lamp bases, wall sconces and all manner of decorative objects are either in distressed and stripped woods or finished in matte black instead of the original gold. When gold is used, it is antiqued, brushed and darkened. What adds to the richness are newly developed tortoise finishes, sponged paint, lacquer, eggshell crackle and more shagreen Black in general seems on a comeback - in furniture and often large scale accessories.
Greens are worth watching, spearheaded by accessories but also showing up as a furniture finish - both patina-ed metal and painted wood. In furniture, the BONNET TOP DUTCH cabinets, bombe fronted chests with bulbous bun feet are very popular, shown either in "raw" finishes or in greyed taupes, but also in black. They bring all the comfort of the bourgoisie to interiors.
Typically, when I first arrive at Maison & Objet, I look at three or four companies I know will tell me the news immediately. They are: Mis En Demeure, Becara and Les Comptoirs Du Sud - all on the same center aisle in Hall 5. Another, I count on for beacons of style news is Flamant, the Belgian retailer, although less so now that it seems to have settled into a Ralph Laurenesque comfortable hybrid between urban and luxurious country. All four exhibits spoke eloquently to the BAROQUE trend in their new introductions.