Fresh Patterns at Showtime
December 7, 2009,
Whether classic traditionalists at one end of the design spectrum or avant-garde modernists at the other, there is a new fresh, crisp, clean and graphic influences featured through the lines, print or woven.
Interestingly, a number of key design executives at decorative fabric houses are citing the influence — but not domination — of mid-century modern. At the same time, there is a notable renaissance of ethnic looks and influences — again cleaned up, uncluttered and looser in execution than in past interpretations of these themes.
Stately floral bouquets are being given a rest, and elaborate baroque looks are taking a back seat as clean graphic looks prevail in traditional, modern or transitional looks.
In color directions gray still prevails — but with modifications that include shimmery steel effects and platinum. The entire purple family — especially plums, lavender and lilac — are key colors with cleaner and brighter (but not flashy) reds, oranges and clean greens and peacock used in all design themes.
Overall, pattern is more transitional and modern, commented Laura Levinson, senior vp, Valdese, who added: “There is more of a mid-century ’50s and ’60s influence in motifs, there is a simplification of everything.” Scale still focuses on larger motifs but “with a modern flair.”
Vintage also is an influence, “and it’s going to be huge, reflected in heavy cottons, needlepoint looks, teastains.” In terms of design, she sees Chinoiserie as a major theme, with scenics and geometrics deriving from the theme. Suzanis and ikats are still important but with simple shapes and vibrant colors.
In color, “all brown and golds are out. Plums, clean greens, lacquer reds are important, and peacock is an important accent color,” Levinson remarked.
“Our focus is on large scale, more dramatic designs with clean graphics,” said Kathleen Remsa, designer for the bedding division at Sunbury. “There’s a two-color trend: gray with lavender or lilac; and white with indigo.”
Patterns, she related, are more transitional with hand-stitched and patchwork looks.
In the decorative fabric division of Sunbury, “we see carpetbagger, ethnic and Southwest as influences with graphic and geometric influences,” said Michelle Werling, design director, furniture.
Stripes will be more important — both casual and dressy — to complement the designs.
“While our signature is traditional, florals, we are expanding beyond with different looks that have a sense of ethnic influences and ’70s modern in the Waverly collection,” explained Pam Maffai-Toolan, vp for design at P/K Lifestyles, a division of P/Kaufmann.
Tie-dye looks from Africa, batiks and Indonesian influences also are important, Maffai-Toolan related. The company also is featuring denim looks with embroidery in both the classic denim blue as well as red, black and khaki.
Terri Blum, senior stylist for the Craftex by Victor brand at Victor Group, sees the firm’s Tribe group as representing the new trends of “non-specific country influences representing travel.” Colors are brighter as in Creole red, terra cotta and curry “as well as in a basic chocolate.”
In addition Craftex is featuring classic traditional but with cleaner grounds and looser design motifs. There are extremes in scale, she noted, with large motifs and small simple designs.
For Jean Baudrand, design consultant at J.B Martin, “the new mood is livable, understandable. We’re in an adjustment period, and this gives a lot of room for good and exciting design — not safe but professional.”
He sees “joyful reds, some greens and all earth colors from light sand to dark shades as key with some greens.” Overall, he emphasized, design will be comfortable and not aggressive, even in modern.”
“Clean, fresh colors are the whole thrust” for both Swavelle/Mill Creek and TFA, according to Mchael Day, vp/design director.
On the Swavelle side, there are more old world tapestries with cotton warps at the higher end and lots of teal and plum.” At TFA, pleated and plisse looks as well as embroideries, silks and velvets and less chenille, Day commented.
Also important is a group of three-dimensional matelasses and some “fun, whimsical flowers.”
At Richloom, larger patterns and more contrast in textures as in coarse and smooth in one construction are important directions, said Louise Cullen Robinson, creative director for Richloom’s Platinum collection. She also sees Jacobean influences on florals, stitchery effects and graphics as design directions.
In color directions, she sees plums with sage, black/white/gray with red accents and “happy, playful, bright, fun and whimsical designs.”
For Cynthia Douthit, vp, design for American Silk, “while paisley is still important — a basic for us, we see Shibori — a Japanese word for design in the ikat family — as a new direction. The fabrics are resist-dyed with handcrafted looks in turquoise/indigo/green and curry/sapphire as well as reds, black and spices.”
In silks, “there are bold, but simple patterns with brights as the major color palette, and Manor House, classic traditional but again, clean and elegant.”
For the Home Collection by Wesley Mancini, a division of Valdese, “We are moving away from our classic traditional to a more simplified tradition and even contemporary,” said Wesley Mancini. Contemporary designs represent one of the biggest segments of the new line, he said, in looks that are “graphic, linear and geometric.”
Color directions, he said, include gray with travertine, cinnabar with “mousy browns,” dusty plum, hyacinth, framboise, and the warmer side of reds with orange shade really big, as well as pumpkin and carnelian. Dusty blues, he commented, “are now volume shades.”
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