• Jennifer Marks

Croscill learns to relax

Durham, NC — While Croscill's two-week style-out here included the opulent designs that have become the company's hallmark, tradition was not the focus on the showroom floor. Instead, Croscill aimed the spotlight at its fresh twists — an assortment of younger-looking patterns, a five-bed presentation of British Colonial merchandised across several categories, a few looks that tilt toward novelty, and trend-right, apparel-inspired casual designs in window.

"Clearly we're getting younger attitudinally," said David Kahn, president and ceo, emphasizing that the initiative should not be construed as a bid for twenty-somethings. "I think our customers have paid off all their school loans. We've never aspired to be a twin-based business, and we still don't.

"The customer has gotten a little more casual," he added. "I think Calabash and Cabana [two casually oriented looks debuted in spring] were the change agents. Young stuff is selling."

Also at the style-out, which concluded last week, some of Croscill's newer programs were kicked up a notch. Its feather down partnership with Down-Lite, which just began shipping its first wave of product, introduced two new duvet/comforter treatments that coordinate with new fashion bedding designs: exquisitely embroidered looks as well as more casual patchwork designs. In addition, Croscill raised the bar on its freestanding solid-color sheet program to 410 threads and debuted its first blanket offerings. And after taking over the production of bath rugs from a licensee earlier this year, it is now bringing out carved, washable acrylic bath rugs with all new lines and will add the sku to previous best-selling room ensembles.

Emblematic of the thrust toward freshness is the coordinated program of quilt/comforter ensembles, which have veered away from romantic treatments toward the sort of upscale patchwork motifs popularized by Pottery Barn and Eddie Bauer. The jewel in the crown here is Rethinking Pink. Both quilt and comforter employ woven, yarn-dyed patches embellished with a touch of embroidery and bordered with a topstitch. Each reverses to a yarn-dyed stripe pattern. Shams are offered in quilted and non-quilted versions, as are coordinated dec pillows. Window includes patchwork curtains and embroidered sheers.

Resin bath accessories mimic the embroidered effect, and bath also includes a carved rug and a patchwork shower curtain.

Coordinating window programs for both the new casual and the latest wave of traditional looks are now being designed in tandem with the bed ensembles — where previously window often redeployed top-of-the-bed fabric.

Free-standing window offered a veritable explosion of younger life-style looks, as well as the debut of Croscill's first linen window program, which will be offered in six colors. Final construction details are still pending on the linen panel, which features a faggoted cuff and square pearl buttons, and it could ultimately launch as a linen blend, said window design Cheryl Johnson.

A sampler of relaxed lifestyle introductions that cue off ready-to-wear included: Gauze, a casual cloth embellished with crochet inserts and lace taping; Calypso, a tiny, colorful pinstripe streaking through a crushed sheer; Streamers, a multi-color space-dye stripe on crushed toile; and South Beach, multi-color yarn-dye organza.

"There's still a lot happening in vintage — little retro looks, and a soft, feminine feeling," Johnson said. "The great thing about this line is the way everything cross-merchandises."

In opulent window looks, standouts included Tosca, a chenille on an iridescent crepe de chine ground that Croscill is offering as a softer, more fluid take on rich upholstery fabrics; Cambridge, "matelasse for the window;" and Symphony, a luxe tone-on-tone embroidery on taffeta with coordinating balloon valance. Croscill also introduced a new base solid, Buckingham, a poly/rayon with luxe boucle for extra pop.

Croscill's bath division, which struck out into casual territory long ago, continues to pursue the trend as well as to exploit nature-inspired looks. Keying off response to its rock-inspired Quarry pattern, Croscill created a new collection called Foundation, a resin that resembles concrete with brushed nickel adornments. The Everglades collection also keys off the natural look — literally: it's constructed from cherry bark.

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See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!