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Welcome back, color

If there was one thing that came across more than anything else this past home textiles market, it was the return of color to this business.

The global textiles world has been reveling in the return of color for several years. And now the U.S., normally at the back end of international trends, finally has caught up.

And if one statement can best exemplify what color means it is the brilliant Tommy Hilfiger promotion of color, via its striped shirting billboards, signposts and full-page newspaper ads.

And — begorra — in an extraordinary quirk, the Hilfiger home textiles line reflected the colorful stripe scenario with sheets that retailer after retailer cited as a singular statement.

Of course, it didn't hurt that Fashion Week ran concurrently with home textiles market in New York, and every square inch that could be emblazoned with the colorful stripe statement indeed was.

It's something about marketing that this business might learn from.

Among the other significant directions was the move away from heavy, weighty fabrics for top of the bed. Even prints came in for a fair amount of attention.

As for sheets and the counts, plies, constructions, etc. — let's save that discussion for a cold, depressing, rainy day.

Another super positive emerging from the market was the interest in the window category as expressed by a growing number of retailers.

The supplier side of the business has been busy with what some of the long-time pros call edgy new looks — certainly far and away from the basics.

And the broadening interest at retail, including the recently dropped Linens 'n Things window catalog, a first, means that No. 1 JCPenney better be on its toes in product leadership. There are more and more folks out there wanting to nibble away at that one-third of the market share.

And a word to suppliers. Not everyone is stuck at the $20 and $30 price point. Witness Fortunoff's Elliot Mayrock's very explicit comments during his store walk-through and the views of some other retail window mavens. Think up.

There are lots of folks who can figure a way to make it cheaper, and each one will make it even cheaper.

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