Needed: An updated definition of "Trends"
High Point, N.C. - Bunny Williams and Kelly Hoppen, both present with new collections at the High Point Market here prompted me to review the word "Trends" and its different, sometimes misleading definitions.
Bunny Williams conducted a seminar entitled "The Tyranny of Trends" more than implying that trends should be all but ignored and banned from the home decor vocabulary because they are without lasting value.
I think there are quite a few trend observers who would disagree with her, including yours truly. Trends for the interior designer, for instance, who tends to cater to a specific and limited clientele which best relates to their well-known work, are perhaps less important than and different from trends expressed by manufacturers looking to sell fresh products to their customers. For them and their constituency of stores, trends and newness are the oxygen of their business.
I would agree, though, that some designers and consumers fall victim to trends of the wrong kind - i,e., a fleeting phenomenon known as "trendy," or when they choose the wrong furnishings for the wrong people, the wrong place, the wrong lifestyle, and the wrong time. In such cases, which abound, especially at the high end of the newly wealthy, you could also make a case for the "Tyranny of Interior Designers" who sometimes create for their clients what are more likely their own assumptions and outsized preferences.
No really conscientious designer would commit such a sin but base their recommendations and design proposals on serious research of how their clients live now and how they want to live in the future - and they pair their research with their expertise in re-shaping spaces, their use, and their decoration. I would place Alexa Hampton and Suzanne Kassler, to name just two, at the forefront of designers who care deeply about marrying their work to clients' needs, and while relying on classical prototypes never ignore the need for freshness and new ideas. Their professional success speaks for itself.
Bunny Williams and fellow colleagues in the interior design profession who agree with her premise, have long relied on tried and true classic traditional furniture and accessories they themselves either own or like. This no doubt has worked well and others who subscribe to the same notion that the familiar makes for a comfortable and pleasant home. It does but it doesn't make for exciting merchandising.
Other designers, such as Kelly Hoppen, Thomas O'Brien and other high profile designers deny following trends as they are marching to their own drummer. And, indeed, they do - however, on closer examination, they talk about the design inspirations they find everywhere every day - inspiration which comes to them through observations in travel, art and by observing sociological changes or style preferences as they unfold and, as, indeed, they are reflected in their work. Those are trends which influence modes of living as well as new products and approaches to interior design, whether you like the word or not.
A valid compromise was struck at this market by Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, never one of the dumber teams when it comes to creating new products and their interpretation for living. Well-known as purveyors of handsome, priced right, no-nonsense contemporary style with attitude they make an interesting proposal to customers this time around
Recognizing that the tide is turning back to traditional styles from purely contemporary, which has ruled for a decade, the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams company split its presentation into two segments. Aided by a two-story showroom, the first floor showed an eclectic mix weighted more heavily toward its iconic contemporary pieces but accented with traditional designs. Also, the color palette for this floor remained on the light side with a creamy palette and light blues and greens predominating.
However, its second floor featured a darker color scheme in the direction of where color is trending now, including darker furniture finishes and more richly colored and textured textiles, such as velvets on more traditional furniture frames.
If we can agree then that TRENDS are valid - however, TRENDY is temporary, please raise your hand or send a response to my blog.