Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Well - talk about surprises! When I suggested two days ago - before I set foot into Maison & Objet "to watch the whites" - I was just following a hunch.
Little did I know that I would face a white tsunami as I started coverage of the show today. A Great White Wave is indeed blanketing exhibits at M&O, at least in the interior design sections which were the only ones I looked at today.
Seating was either upholstered white or slip-covered. White paint or white lacquer are fast squeezing gray-washed woods out of the limelight. And high time, too, since the look, especially in combination with black had become stale and depressing over the last two seasons. Woods in their natural color and texture, on the other hand, remain firmly in place.
White lighting fixtures and white accessories are joined by white table top settings. All-white bedding is making a comeback, and white walls and white display fixtures are heightening the impact of white throughout.
The clean sweep marks a refreshing change back to cleaner, simpler environments. Blanc & Ivoire, one of the early retail pioneers of the white & cream look, once again is living up to its name.
There is very little color competing with white. Except for the logical pairing with neutrals, primarily taupes, there are some indigo blues and an occasional mauve or pink accent - but that is all. Even the elaborate flower arrangements are kept all white.
Outsized objects have always been a hallmark of this show, and, once again, they are reaching spectacular heights. I have always wondered who has room for these things, and I don't think you would want to plan for any of them if you have 8-foot ceilings. But then, I have always believed that they appeal more to commercial entities, hotels, resorts and restaurants, for instance.
None lives up to the challenge of "bigger is better" than a company called Fancy, which uses oversized, laser-cut furniture frames - white, of course - to set the tone for towering tabletop decorations that literally reach for the sky.
And, yes, there is more baroque coming to the fore. An Italian company, Ego Zerovenquattro, presents a baroque table, all the more spectacular because it is made entirely of blue glass. The same company also features a large low cabinet laminated in early tapestry.
Additionally, baroque table bases have sprung up in the spaces of several interior design leaders:
Mis en Demeure, which features a baroque console covered in nail-headed burgundy velvet;
Beccara, the Spanish supplier that is often in the vanguard of new ideas and directions shows elaborately shaped table bases;
Comptoir du Sud echoes with baroque wall accessories, mirrors and baroque lamp bases;
Even the characteristically bulbous legs of the Dutch Colonial style are in evidence more than once, the most authentic and expressive at Guadarte, a company specializing in zinc furniture and accessories.
For textiles, trend forecasting company Carlin is making the case for "Baroque Reflections." With a deep rich color palette inspired by painters of the Renaissance and the baroque, the company projects the direction for winter 2013/14. I have always said that color will be the first thing that will lead us back to baroque.
Keep an eye on baroque. It's coming.