Milli brings home a new message, refined designs

Michele SanFilippo, Staff Staff, November 10, 2003

With a new advertising and public relations firm drumming up attention for the company's bedding, decorative pillows and table linens, Milli Home is positioning for the next step in its evolution.

It recently offered a post-market presentation of its collections. And, with newly retained Susan Becher Public Relations, it will shortly begin building name recognition further with trade and consumer print advertising campaigns.

"We're known for good value with high styling as well as for the versatility of our lines and their ability to mix and match," said Marsha Cutler, senior vp design for Milli Home. "We offer a very wide range of styles and looks that are mainstream yet fashionable, so retailers can use us as their fashion resource in the home."

The company is an offshoot of the Red Bank Clothing Co., a menswear firm based in New York that opened 15 years ago. From those roots, Milli Home launched four years ago and currently operates a factory in Delhi, India.

The company's latest offerings for spring include nine collections with more than 250 new items as diverse in style as they are rich in color and design. From pieced sheers and embroidered silks to retro crochet, applique and hand beading to metallic overprints, the collections offer a global sampling of textile traditions and motifs.

This season also signals a refinement of overall design. Pattern lines are elegant and increasingly simple. Texture is predominant while delicate. Florals are expressed in a mix of bold and nostalgic forms. The vibrant Indian sari and brocade products Milli Home is known for have returned, but in duskier, tonal colorways with a new personality.

Hues of sage, cocoa and eucalyptus give a soothing air to the Tranquility collection of dec pillows, which feature seasonal allusions to the outdoors with patterns of pussy willows, leafy traceries and climbing vines with colorful florets and sequins.

Throughout, the muted palette and dupioni silk lend themselves to dressed-up spaces or add luminous accents to casual, every day living. Its two designs in four colorways are fashioned after Japanese kimonos with front waistbands and multi tie ribbons in the back.

The St. Tropez line is named for the saturated Mediterranean colors that run through its pillow designs. Brilliant corals, sapling greens and olives, and turquoise blues color patterns that are classical and youthfully modern.

Other patterns in the spring collection include Victorian, French Flea Market, Geo, Modern Simplicity, Urban Graphics, Georgia, Buttercup and Tropics.

For example, the Victorian bedding collection offers a white on white look featuring eyelets, embroidered organza, crushed solids and pintucking.

French Flea Market has six to eight patterns in yellow, lilac, pink, sage and natural for table linens and dec pillows that reverse to coordinate prints.

Across multiple design families, color is a unifying force, often providing a counterpoint to brighten or soothe basic interiors. In seeking out its myriad of design themes, the company draws upon ornamental and apparel traditions from France, Italy, Scandinavia, India and Asia.

To produce each collection, Cutler spends several weeks every season working closely with artisans in India, making her way from the centuries-old sari weaving center of Benares to the crowded stalls of Old Delhi and to remote villages.

Merging ancient and modern cultures, she explains her design concepts and colors so that they can be interpreted in styles that work for the American market. Her style reflects extensive travel in Europe, Asia and forays into flea markets from London's Covent Garden to Bombay's Chor Bazaar.

Milli Home products are available in catalogs and at retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks, Marshall Field's, Fortunoff, Stein Mart, Elder Beerman, and Dayton-Hudson.

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