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Color sets fashion tone at High Point market

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, April 30, 2001

HIGH POINT, NC — There was lots of fabric excitement at the International Home Furnishings Market here last week. Color, color and more color set the tone, moving the upholstered furniture segment away from its drab browns and taupes.

Plums and lavenders, brilliant reds, robust blues, a range of yellows from forsythia to elegant gold, and brighter greens prevailed.

While chenilles still reigned supreme, toiles hit their stride. A flower power, especially in unique prints, set a mood of newness. And it didn't take the American market long to adopt the single-flower motif — one of the key fashion statements from Europe in January.

Katrina Patton, vp, merchandising, Michael Thomas, said, "Colors definitely are getting clearer, cleaner. I see brighter green palettes as growing, with lime for the younger customer, soft greens for the older customers. Reds just keep on growing with broader and broader use." And hot pink and green is a fresh new look.

Patton picked Braemore's Checkerboard, a sophisticated floral, as a market fashion direction. "It's so on target with the fashion industry, which is showing big silk flowers on handbags and pants with big flower designs. What we're showing is livable and directional, but not overly trendy."

The entire purple family, from plums to lilac, is a key fashion direction for Century Furniture in the view of Michael Delgaudio, vp, creative director. "Lilac and spring green are great, and we're moving to Moroccan olive and plum and limestone and mortar as new combinations," he said.

"I still see reds growing in importance, but they're moving more to cinnabar and paprika. Golds are getting more coppery, and black now has moved to ebony, answering the need for punctuation in color combinations."

Taking a different direction, Delgaudio mixed kilims and suedes for Century's major introduction, Matilda Bay.

"Overall, we have never put in so much new fabric; there were so many fabulous fabrics offered," he added.

Delgaudio relaxed on a sofa covered in Weave's elephant motif jacquard, a play of tobacco and plum combinations representing the major color statement.

According to Lee Belmore, director of merchandising, Alexvale, "there has been a void in color in our market. We can entice customers with color, and we've translated color into prints, damasks, velvets, chenille stripes."

Belmore sees three main color directions: robin's egg blue — "the color is downright scrumptious"; blush, a pale shrimp; and forsythia — "in a world of sage, beige and brown, what could be better than forsythia, just right for the picking."

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