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Something to celebrate

April 5, 2011

High Point, N.C. - Happy to report that the market here is not only well attended, but a new optimism and eagerness to find exciting new product prevails.
Excitement can be found both in greatly expanded furniture and accessory lines. Century, as an example, is introducing some 500 skus with four new collections. Baker is offering a 65-piece collection by Barbara Barry and an almost equal amount of Bill Sofield's design (more about all three in an upcoming blog).
Suppliers across the board have made a notable effort to introduce new pieces that are distinctive, attention-getting and generally of higher quality with much attention focused on fine details, such as interior finishing and soft-closing drawers and cabinet doors due to a glide mechanism made by Blum in Austria.
You see it in unique grain handling and finishes in furniture, a commitment to color in textiles and a general shift to lifestyle rather than product presentations. It makes for a heady mix and one that more closely responds to how consumers want to buy. It's taken a long time for the lifestyle concept to actually sink in - we have only talked about it for some 30 years, but that was the problem, there was talk but no action until now. Better late than never!
You would have to start with the Master of the Lifestyle Universe, Ralph Lauren to fully appreciate just how far we have come with this concept. The designer/merchant's latest introduction at E.J. Victor represents the completed circle of his conviction that the consumer will easily be persuaded to spend money on multiple purchases if you blow his or her socks off by demonstrating just how great the sum of the parts can look.
Two new collections, one the "Carlysle Lifestyler" is the epitome of Hollywood glamour, in high gloss black lacquer with gold accents draws heavily on Art Deco which is design luxury incarnate. The collection runs from soup to nuts: furniture, opulent silk fabrics, pillows, rugs, china, silver, bedding, wall art and lighting all in dramatic black.
The second "Bedford" collection follows his well-trodden path of the thoroughbred look, rich in its warm brown woods, leather and combination of men's wear fabrics in grays, browns, and loden green with accents of purple and paisley. Complete as it is with the mix of coordinated product, it is as inviting and comfortable a look as a British Men's Club.
Mention should be made here of the designer's first rug collection for Safavieh commanding a separate showroom. Designs cover major design trends represented in all RL classifications, such as American Indian motifs in heavy textures, a range of solid silk/linens, blue-and-white classics as well as conservative staples, such as his own take on well-faded Persian rugs and Morroccan motifs. Most exciting perhaps are his geometrically patterned sisal rugs and one heart stopping novelty: a high profile braided rug woven of strips of felt in its natural mole-like color. Only two are off-putting: one with a centered diamond with RL monogram, the other with a full pony logo. That's what I call gilding the lilly.