Hits and Misses
Heath E. Combs -- Home Textiles Today, April 17, 2006
Arlee Home Fashions
Vp, product development
HITS: “The hits included: Tibet Faux Fur, a three-piece (one throw packed with two dec pillows) offered in six colors; Raphael Scroll, our new embossed micro-fiber plush offered as pillows and throws; and Oasis Faux Silk, a new addition to the Silk Roads Collection from October Market — this style was offered as pillows and top treatments for window. The design is an embroidered detail with our new jumbo bead tassel as a dramatic accent.
“Also the Churchill and Antoinette Damask collections, which are popular price jacquard pillows, some of which feature special tailoring and dressmaker details at a promotional level; and Bounce, a new spun-yarn polyester (feather chenille) available as pillows and throws.
“Successful color statements in all collections included spicy hues of cinnabar, olive, garnet, tomato and espresso. Aegean, a deep teal color, was a strong accent to all collections.”
MISSES: “Both the Nouveau Rose and Swank. Both are new embroideries on faux suede. The look was modern, but had little appeal to customers.”
Baltic Linen Co.
Jo Ann Wanamaker
Vp design, bath
HITS: “Baltic was pleased to have a strong response to a number of bath collections. One was Boulevard, which is ring-spun cotton in yarn dye coordinating with a piece dye with dobby inserts, to give a more interest in a solid towel.
“In addition we featured two new constructions from Turkey. One group, called Canyon, has an ombre-colored stitch throughout the border and the pile of the towel uses an uneven twisted yarn to give the effect and texture of raw silk.
“The second construction is also from Turkey and is trademarked. The yarns are spun in a way that makes it soft and holds the definition of a sculpted towel. We had two groups: Metro in ivory, lime, dusty lilac and chocolate, and Resort in lemon, slate gray, snow white and black, both with a spa look in mind.”
MISS: “We missed with Milano, a multi-colored horizontal zigzag stripe in four colorways. The editors that came by all liked it but it may not have been as 'bath friendly,’ they said, as our other groups.”
Baltic Linen Co.
Vp, bedding design
HITS: “A hit was Sanctuary, from our Shangri-La lifestyle trend. It has a subtle Asian influence. It uses a quartz-like coloration in a micro-suede fabric pieced with a classic geometric embroidery motif. The ensemble is soft to the touch, and features intricate embroidery details on the shams and dec pillows and a tailored bed skirt.
“Le Marais, from our Restoration lifestyle trend, was another hit. It is a reactive print 12 piece bedding ensemble, which features an oversized traditional damask stripe in subtle spice colors. Accessory pieces feature lush brush fringe and pieced decorative pillows, and the sheet set incorporates a dramatic printed hem.”
MISSES: “Ascot, from our Restoration lifestyle trend. It is a reactive print 12 piece bedding ensemble, featuring horizontal stripes depicting intricate geometric motifs in shades of blue, slate and khaki. It seemed like a no-brainer, but customers indicated it was 'too contemporary’ and 'contemporary prints, just don’t sell,’ they said.”
Baltic Linen Co.
Director of bath coordinates
HITS: “There were two big hits. The first was Tropical, which consists of a 100% cotton duck shower curtain in soft green and brown with tinges of muted mustard. Coordinate accessories are made of embossed ceramic with a sponged texture tropical leaf background, and all fit nicely into very tightly woven deep toned wicker carriers. Towels are 100% cotton jacquard, each featuring a stripe border and embroidered leaf motif over a micro-fiber appliqué. The rug is a 100% cotton with a raised leaf motif design.
“The second hit was Angel Fish, an adult/juvenile design with a tinge of sophistication. Tinted resin accessories feature a raised design of a school of fish led by an angel fish. These fish are highlighted with iridescent glitter paint. The shower curtain is a poly-taffeta chintz on a white ground and accented with iridescent glitter print. The towels are pique cotton jacquards that are embroidered with a three-fish design that is accented with lurex thread.”
MISSES: “Frogger was a nice idea, but maybe it was just badly executed on our part. It comprises double-walled resin accessories in geometric shapes, the outer part in white and the green frog made to look like a three-dimensional cut-out. The shower curtain is a heavy-gauge clear vinyl with a moiré watery background and glittery frogs dotting the design. It was too subtle or too scary — either way, it just didn’t translate well from a wonderful initial concept.”
Vp, sales and marketing
HITS: “Our regional bedding collections, Lakeside Cabin and High Noon, were definitely our biggest hits. Lakeside Cabin is a jacquard weave of forest, lake and mountain icons and features embroidered faux leather and fleece accessories. We added two accessory categories here: an embroidered draft blocker and decorative towels with the same icons. High Noon is a colorful Southwest pattern in cut chenille.
“Dakotah always features a contemporary bed, and Saville Row, which uses big and little hounds-tooth patterns, textured flannel and faux croc in a mocha color story, was another hit.
“We added two traditional beds, Calais, a red gold woven pattern, and Lalique, a mineral-type blue mixed pattern damask. These two were received very well.
“In the decorative pillow category, a definite hit for Dakotah was the Kokopelli pattern, offered in two colors. We also had several requests to make it into bedding. Coordinating into this were the cut chenille patterns, Big Stripe and Big Twist, proving once again that texture is very important.
“The Chocolate-is-Good-for-You theme underscored our approach to coordinating with pumpkin, mineral blue and chartreuse. The mid-century modern approach to patterns incorporating micro-suede, woven fabrications and embossing was a big hit, especially in the chartreuse color.”
MISSES: “Our feature window display bed, Sakura, got rave reviews for its elegant patterns and bold color statement -- however, the Asian fusion theme may be too limiting and Sakura may turn out to be a beautiful miss. Also, the Wellington bed was a true miss. It may have been perceived as over-the-top opulence.
“In dec pillows, we offered a collection of black and white patterns and solids. Even though this is a highly touted trend, again, our buyers shied away because it just never seems to perform at retail. It’s a miss.”
HITS: “It was an unusually heavy print market for fall; we usually see lots of wovens for that period. Among the winners were Winter Wonderland, Java, Holiday, Las Palmas and Marrakesh.
MISSES: “In the misses were Bianca Plum which was too strong a color and Sundance which was too light.”
Ex-Cell Home Fashions
Vp, marketing development
HITS: “In soft window, Kanchi Leno and Kanchi Solid, Sutton Place and Greenhouse received the best reactions. All are made of fabrics with luster and texture. Sport Stripe is a winner in the tween category.
“In rugs, better basic Berber rugs, sisal looks and pet rugs were highlights.
“And in bath, Mirage and Luna were hits. They are updated, slightly modern interpretations of classic spa-like looks that evoke a light, airy and serene feeling.
“Fabrications that worked overall ranged from CVC to polyester, EVA and vinyl. Important colors included linen, brown, frosty medium blue and grass green.”
MISSES: “In soft window, the misses were Seville, a chenille novelty, and Starlite Sheer, a novelty woven sheer.
“In rugs, the cut-pile border rugs were not well received.
“And in bath, the miss was Shimmer Glimmer. It was overly dressy and formal. Fabrications that did not work included cotton terry and higher end pieced constructions.”
Chairman and ceo
HITS: “Our Royal Carefree washable wool did really well. Everybody loved it. In general, there was a lot more interest in wools than there has been.”
MISSES: “We thought that our Estate blanket, a basic cotton with fun, updated colors would do better.”
International Home Fashions
National sales manager
HITS: “Our automatic blankets went very well, and we’ll do more business than we had planned. And the BedMaid sheet, with the top and bottom sheet sewn together, did really well. That got a lot of people talking. We picked up some nice placement on the Karen Neuberger top of the bed line, which we’ve just introduced.”
MISSES: “We had a basket weave thermal blanket that we were disappointed with. There are just too many of that look out there.”
HITS: “Our hit was Rumba, a tonal shag made out of manmade fibers. It comes in five great colors and four sizes. The retail on the 2-foot-by-3-foot is $24.99.”
MISSES: “The miss was a print that had a lodge look. It did not have general appeal.”
HITS: “Couture, our coverlet program – a new category - with different stripes using different colorations, and Luxe, our duvet and sheet program were very strong. Among the beds, Biltmore with an embroidered motif and a quilted bedskirt, Meadows in moss green, and Dowager Empress with a leaf design were strong.”
MISSES: “Among the misses were Taj which was too exotic and too expensive, Medici, a chenille which now is totally out of vogue, and printed florals which are only for bed in a bag.”
Park B. Smith
HITS: “Our entire eco-ordinates program pulled much more than we even thought it would, and we’re going into sheets. Also the Sutton Place rug program.”
MISSES: “Some of the jute rugs — when compared with the eco-ordinates rugs with the soft hand — they had a bad hand.”
National sales manager
HITS: “In windows, Silk Allure with its top treatment and Carlton, our window in a bag, were winners. In bedding, Daphne won with the value of the embroidery; Sumatra was a very fresh transitional look; and Lizette is a fresh, updated collage quilt look.”
MISSES: “Bodhe, a burnout velvet, had colors that didn’t work; and Angeline was an embroidery on a jacquard and got no credit for being a jacquard.”
Pendleton Woolen Mills
Manager, Pendleton Home
HITS: “Our Terrazzo wool blanket, a geometric contemporary look: that was a grand slam. Our new quilts were another home run. And our Birch Creek lightweight bedding line did really well.”
MISSES: Monterey in the salsa colors. The earth tones did well, but the salsa colors didn’t work.”
HITS: “In bath, our hits were the new natural fibers and the Spa collection, and in scatters it was the Shadings collection of multi-colored sculpture rugs.”
MISSES: In bath, our misses were the nylon three-piece sets. In scatters, the miss was the Rocco collection of door mats.”
Softline Home Fashions
HITS: “Our Rockafeller window treatment design, a two tone jacquard, drapery weight, in 37 colors; and our ribbed polyester Monaco line, in 35 colors, were definitely hits.
“Texture, surface and color are big. We like to keep drapery weights, and these two designs come both as readymades and as fabrics.
“We also had a great reception for our new striated faux silk, the Katana design which has an Asian look and old bamboo feel. It’s like a rainbow with seven or eight colors in one, and it comes in 12 colorways.”
MISSES: “A couple of the natural, open-weave linen looks we thought would be popular seemed to be too light, both in color and in weight.”
Thomasville Home Furnishings
HITS: “Lara was our really big hit, probably the best in the line because of the depth of color on the black ground. Also strong were Blossom, a softly, muted design, Cheyenne, Oasis, and Charleston.”
MISSES: “Among the misses were Sequoia, Breckenridge, Sonata and Bonair, probably because they were similar to things we’ve done before and the market is inundated with these looks.”
United Feather and Down
Senior vp sales and marketing
HITS: “Our single biggest hit would be our Wellness Collection, the Seacell Tencel collection, with the Tencel fiber woven with seaweed and incorporating natural silver. The Joseph Abboud Hotel Collection was well received, and we had a hit with our Micromax, a new technology: slow-release microfiber. The Silverluxe collection, where the fabric is shot through with silver threads, also did very well.”
MISSES: Our fashion pleats didn’t do well. I think people are still gun-shy about color in this category.”
HITS: “What was really good were the free-standing windows and rugs, and almost half the beds won.
“Among the winners in bedding were Ardmore, a large scale medallion, and Montage, a subtle design, both in platinum; and Contessa, Sienna, Weston and Whitley.”
MISSES: “Anastasia, a multi-color jacquard, was too busy; Carlton was a spin-off of another pattern; and Tuscany was a jacquard that looked too much like a print.”
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