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Luxury at Maison & Objet

September 12, 2009

If you have been wondering about luxury, it is here at Maison & Objet and it is here to stay. Looks in fashion bedding may be less flashy, but the devil is in the details – newly refined fabrications, subtle but elegant trimmings, and enough cashmere and fur to warm us for many years to come.

A  new addition – and at several stands – is luxury lingerie  and sensual at-home lounge wear. Seen at Descamp, Hamam, Rue du Faubourg and Kokoon,  extending to entire booths devoted to such at-home wear at Pilus, Linen Me, Laurence Tavernier, among others.

Interesting to note that several of the luxury suppliers will sell such items separately from bedding and not necessarily to department stores, which they said "would not know how to sell them."

Instead, they are seeking out fine specialty retailers and/or selling the lingerie and lounge wear through their own stores, as is the case for Descamp, which has started a new top layer of concept stores where its collections are offered in their entirety.

As for bedding design, no direction in particular is emerging except for color. Mauve again is the leader, followed by yellow, now also paired with brown (at Org) in addition to gray. Pink and lavender are present in all their glory (at Jardin Secret and Blumarine), but the elegant newcomer is a deep and rich brodeaux red the French call "sans de boeuf" – that’s oxblood to you (at Descamp and Anne de Solene). It looks especially seductive when partnered with dark charcoal gray or melting taupes and beiges. Only Yves Delorme opted for a teal with gray combination for a sateen bed combined with a tufted velvet coverlet.

Two designs were noteworthy because of their fresh look: One, a maxi dot (dots are big this season) rendered by Anne de Solene, the French bedding star, in a matrix-like modern design and a very directional baroque floral seen at Designers Guild.

Otherwise, patterns are often simple stripes, tiny scale prints or one-color scroll embroideries. Jacobean prints are seen less often in bedding than they are in upholstery, where crewel has also gained since last season. Otherwise, the safe classics of plaids, houndstooth, stripes and men’s wear glenchecks are seen frequently, sometimes in not so safe colors including purple and fuchsia.

The Middle Eastern trend seems to be waning, except for more mainstream-oriented ethnic expressions. In bedding, only Bassetti persists with its "Grand Foulard" design for the Zucchi Group. Kenzo continues with his characteristic floral cum paisley combos.

As for fabrications, a standout is a silk voile sheet, light as a soufflé, and accented with a very delicate silk crochet edge at Hamam. The duvet top was fashioned in "undyed" silk with a crisp hand which had seen no sizing either, a nod to the organic movement – which, by the way, is simply taken for granted here rather than trumpeted.

Oyuna is showing all-cashmere bedding components in subtle and neutral colorations, and Paolo Masserano, a specialist in cashmere blankets, augments them with robes, pillows, hot water bottle covers and slippers crowned with mink pompoms, all in cashmere, of course.

The two leading (real) fur vendors, both with extensive lines, are Thomas Albrecht of Germany and Kathrin Lenze. No animal hides were spared. Who said luxury was dead?

Two exceptions from the no-flash luxury: Valeron, which continues to exploit the richness of overscaled damasks in silk top-of-bed but with a twist. Instead of the more expected embroidery, sheet hems, duvets and pillow shams are embellished with what looks like metallic hobnails. In the same vein, Diesel presents a towel with the metallic stud trim so wildly popular in current apparel and fashion accessories, the latest adoption from the "kinky trade".

In each case, for the bedding and the towel, I’d say use at your own risk.