Everything Old is New

Carole Sloan, December 12, 2005

Well it looks like, for the first time in some seasons, there may be a WOW market for decorative fabrics.

We've had a couple of seasons of eye-popping color trends — which is great. Anything to get out of the beige, beige and more beige syndrome this business mostly goes through is a positive.

But now it appears that there's a confluence of excitement on the horizon — stuff actually set to be shown in the showrooms during this week's Showtime in High Point, N.C. — rather than some months down the road.

And the refrain, “Everything old is new again” certainly holds true for this week's intros, but they're old with a very new twist.

Who woulda thought that velvet would be staging a major comeback? Well it is, whether it is the real thing which is becoming less and less available, or the new age stuff that replicates real velvet with space-age technology in fibers, yarns, fabrics and finishes.

And the folks doing the design work are taking it out of your grandmother's living room chair with the doily on the back image to a definite 21st century image.

Then we're looking at two of the most universal — and age-old fabric techniques — ikat and flamestitch — each with specific methods of production in their original forms. But today the marketplace is able to make the original constructions, as well as replicate the looks in contemporary formats.

What is so special about both is that they embrace and complement a wide range of design themes from contemporary to very traditional.

And from previews, it looks that these two could well be the workhorses in fabric design for some seasons to come. The hope, however, is that like typical significant trend directions, this one will not become so diluted with bad renditions that neither the marketplace nor consumers will want the look for long.

And the color palette this time around seems to be offering a broader and more diverse range. The impact of orange, which many in the marketplace said would never take hold, still is with us, but not more subdued and varied away from the citrus, sherbert renditions.

Diversity definitely is in!

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