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Escape the Sea of Sameness

Once again, we have been through another market where attendance was noticeably down — this time in High Point, N.C., earlier this month.

It's obvious that retailers aree now making choices as to where they will go to shop for new product — and it's clear that they will not go to every market for home textiles held in this country, especially since many also now have to go off shore to shop for their businesses.

And if this High Point Market was any barometer of trends for the near and long term, it was just more brown, beige, camel and tan — a sea of sameness, both in the home textiles part and in upholstered furniture where the fabrics typically comprise the fashion bellwether for the marketplace in home furnishings.

But the big news is not what did or did not show up in High Point.

Nope, the news for the future in home furnishings fashion is what was shown on the runways in Milan and Paris during the recent marathon fashion shows.

If you've been watching or reading the coverage from either of these couture capitals, two trends were crystal clear.

The first is that color is back — with a vengeance in some cases — but nonetheless back with vigor. The world of apparel will be a far cry from basic black or brown come spring. The color trends are not necessarily bold and brash — but they are variegated, and vibrant.

And the second major trend is that prints were in almost every designer's repertoire. Floral prints in particular took top honors — and they were not your everyday frumpy traditional florals. In some cases, bold, dramatic statements were headliners; in others small geometric designs; and in others highly detailed contemporary motifs were the stars.

And while not as significant as the color statement or the print direction, layering was another big winner in the Paris and Milan fashion derby. It's a technique that could well be interpreted for home textiles.

If, as the pundits have long proclaimed, the home follows fashion closely, then we should be looking at moving away from the sameness that has dominated retail floors for the past few years.

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