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Cecile Corral

Metallics shine brightly

NEW YORK-If it shimmers, glitters, sparkles or shines, then it must be a new bath coordinate.

Many manufacturers of bath coordinates-shower curtains, towels, rugs and accessories-are using metallic accents and treated metals as well as genuine crystals to bedeck their lines and attract the attention of new customers.

"I noticed metallics were big in apparel," said Vivie von Walstrom, executive vp of the retail division of Baltic Linen Co. in Valley Stream, NY. "And it's a very easy leap for me to put gold and silver accents on a towel because every bathroom in America has brass and stainless steel fixtures, so it's easy to match the brass with the gold and the silver with the steel."

Baltin Linens' new Silver & Gold collection includes solid-color towels in various hues that all feature embroidery or appliques sewn with gold or silver threading "because any ground color goes with silver or gold. It makes for a much easier production process because we can use the same thread in any ground color."

The new Urban bath line by Mike + Ally includes accessories that are hand-enameled over electroplated pewter, baskets that are hand-enameled over silverleaf, pearlized tiles and enameled grout.

"We actually got into that grouping because there's so much modern out there," said Michael Nash, partner of the New York-based company. "We are known as a manufacturer of more conservative products but we wanted to expand our line into a much more modern area and this is what we came up with."

Nash specified that the Urban line "is not shiny and not trendy" because, he said, shiny products are more for the mass market because of their relation to chrome.

"We are trying to achieve a younger customer with the Urban line," Nash explained. "It's for a younger customer, as opposed to something more embellished, which is more popular among older customers."

Croscill Home, based in New York, is using metallic and gold decals and accents in a new porcelain bath collection titled Napoleon, an extension of an existing bedding line that also features gold accents on duvets and blankets.

"Metals have always been popular but I think in a way some metals are over-saturating the marketplace so people are trying to get that metallic effect without having an actual metal in collection," said Patrick Clemente, assistant product manager and designer of bath accessories.

Aside from the Napoleon line, Croscill will also introduce other collections with metallic accents: Infusion is entirely made of resin but includes a subtle metallic iridescence on the tiling; a third new collection combines crackle glass and nickel; and a fourth collection combines polished brass and polished nickel.

"We're trying to raise the bar on metal collections by introducing different combinations of effects," Clemente said.

At Flo Baron Collections in Los Angeles, the new Diamante Boutique line features genuine Austrian crystals on metal treated to look crackled.

"I thought it was an interesting look," said Flo Baron, president. "Glitzy things are hot in the market right now. It's the trend. Crystals are glossy and shiny and give a little glitter in life. We just do a touch of it to give the more elegant look with combination of metallics."

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