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The top dogs of home textiles

January 20, 2012

If you want to get spoiled for the rest of your Paris show trip, start at the top. I did and am glad for it.
Too early to call trends, but so much is clear so far from visiting showrooms as part of Paris Deco Off.

  • Watch out for whites both the pure and the creamy kind. Most often seen in modern designs, printed, woven and embroidered. Also seen mixed with black and gray for an urban geometric story at Pierre Frey, which combined graphic stripes, checks, dotted circles, glen plaids, pepita and shadow plaids. Whites also the canvas for singular designs rendered in black on ceramics and lighting, Whites coming on strong in spring apparel, the connection to home textiles is occurring faster than it used to.
  • Illustrative and panoramic prints on the rise, seen both at Manuel Canovas and Nobilis. You could call them toiles, but then you would expect their subject matter to be French. These new scenics are of a more exotic variety, such as Indian hunt scenes complete with elephants and turbaned Mogul horsemen. Speaking of toiles: one interesting new take - embroidered not printed, white on tender celadon green, at Manuel Canovas.
  • Florals seem larger in scale and at they're most colorful when offered in a purple, pink and greens garden mix. Shades of Jacobean designs are appearing, hinting at a look back onto the 17th century, although rendered in colors that are here and now: brilliant greens, blues with a touch of lilac on creamy white silk taffeta ground instead of rough linen. Violets, by the way, are plentiful, both as tender accents in floral prints as well as freestanding coordinates. A more traditional colorway for Jacobean is a combination of browns with coral. Jacobean is leading me right back to my often stated conviction that we will, sooner or later, be re-examining earlier period styles of the 16th and 17th centuries including
  • Baroque is a trend that has been slowly percolating largely underground for the last two years and has yet to hit its stride. I remember when I first talked about signs of a rediscovery of the Renaissance and Baroque periods I saw emerging at M&O in carved furniture and religious references used in accessories, I earned myself a lot of eyerolling.
  • However, if you trust the Trend Tracker, there will be a Baroque revival in your future. Nurtured by recent successive museum shows of Renaissance and Baroque painters - in Florence, in Rome, in the Netherlands (Flemish painters) and most recently at the Tate in London where long lines formed not seen since those for Alexander McQueen at the Met - tangible evidence of the movement in the marketplace can be seen here this week at Pierre Frey in a printed cotton depicting scenes freely adapted from figurative works by Francois Boucher in a composition that tried to subliminate erotic content with limited success.
  • Sea life continues to inspire handsome cotton prints in a sophisticated mix of neutrals accented only in coral branches and pale green sea urchins.
  • Chinese porcelains, too, continue their successful run as captivating design motifs emphasizing interest in all things Asian.
  • For modernists, Larsen and Donghia are two places to look for high impact textures, a heavy reliance on natural materials and bold motifs with an archeological sensibility and variously inspired by African cultures but references to traditional Japanese and Scandinavian designs are also used.
  • Embossed textures are on display in several of the showrooms. Embossing is bubbling up on textiles making for puffy random textures whereas leathers are more typically embossed with replicas of animal skins: elephant, ostrich, crocodile, lizzard, snake skin and more.
  • Metallics still in the running - gold, silver and copper are equally represented. Best and most diversified at Arte, which has long specialized in metallic effects. Here, they are used subtly, a damask pattern overlays a silver mosaic, another features a peacock in full plumage on sparkling ground, all of it tone-on-tone.
  • Lastly, backgrounds often show watered effects, both in the traditional moire formation but also others with random or structured wave effects. They always appear on silks but are often overprinted with damask or other traditional motifs making for richer multi dimensional effects.

And that's just on the Left Bank. Give me time to catch up with the other half after I dive into and bring you the news from Maison & Objet tomorrow.