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Cecile Corral

Soft, silky looks make strong statement

Soft, silky, sensuous and shiny are some of the words that best describe this market's decorative pillow introductions.

The softness of velvet is making a strong statement. Chenille's popularity has never seemed so strong. The luxury of silk is in demand. And pretty colored beading continues to give the product that feeling of glamour.

"We saw this trend emerging two-and-a-half years ago at the Maison & Object home show in Paris with velvets and even furs — all very dressy, classical products were being shown," Neil Zuber, president, New York City-based Ashford Court, told Home Textiles Today. "It does takes a while to for those styles to come over here from Europe. At the time we knew it wasn't going to be the crest of wave that month, but we knew it definitely would be for the future. Sometimes European trends don't pick up here, but for opulent looks we noticed a slow emergence recently and now it's coming on very strong."

Zuber added that his company's new Opera collection, which includes velvet, brocades, chenille and silk offerings, signifying this growing trend. It is available in deep and rich colors like burgundy, emerald, purple, gold and black and is embellished with beads, braids and cords.

"We named it Opera because people get all dressed up for opera and use dressy fabrics for their evening gowns, and our line reflects that look," Zuber said.

Covering all of these bases is Los Angeles-based American Dawn Inc., which is formally introducing its new upscale Raymond Waites collection. A licensed program, the Waites collection represents the company's first entry into the high-end market. The collection, described by the company as "opulent", includes pieced-pillow offerings made of 100 percent cotton and featuring heavy embellishments such as animal prints, velvets, fringes and cords; a dupioni silk collection made of 100 percent dupioni silk and beaded trims; and an animal-themed collection of panel pillows made of 100 percent poly-cotton mixed with rayon and embellished with cords and tassels.

New York City-based Arlee Home Fashions is expanding the breadth of its decorative pillow line by adding coordinating throws and using new constructions and styles, namely the Bombay collection of 100 percent raw silk pillows in eight colors and crystal beading, and chenille with jacquard pillows.

Acknowledging that traditional looks are becoming increasingly important, Brentwood is addressing the need with added velvet offerings — both in rayon and cotton in a variety of treatments, including embossed, panne, embellished, beaded and textured, said Loren Sweet, president. In addition to some more formal velvets, the company is introducing an embroidered silk program — a collection of embroidered linen pillows — to address the increasing appeal of the fabric. Also noting a trend toward embellishments, Brentwood is adding collections featuring tassels, beading, embroidery and textures that it has applied to a variety of fabrics both new and old.

Sugar Valley, GA-based Mohawk Home's designer line licensed by Chris Casson Madden is receiving additional dressy looks to its decorative pillow line this market.

Portland, OR-based Newport is revisiting its top collections — two of which are opulent and silk — and building on them with new additions in designs and colorways this season. Montgomery, AL-based Riverdale's new Crown Jewel, Tiara, Court Jester and Royalty pillows are made of viscose and a poly-blend and are opulent in their use of washed fabric combined with tassels, fringe, braids and bullions.

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