Home fashions trends reflect diverse consumer tastes.
Home fashion trends reflect diverse consumer tastes. If there is one word to describe home fashions today, that word is eclectic. Even though there may be trends in certain directions for instance, toward special fabrics or constructions, new textures and fibers or fiber blends, or stronger color there are so many varied influences that one could choose almost any style or color and not be far outside some fashion mainstream. Perhaps this eclecticism can be credited to the glut of information and images available in the current global environment.Burlington HouseSusan Beiser, director of trend and style forecasting, Upholstery, Burlington House, Greensboro, N.C., confirmed this notion as she described how new seasonal collections are assembled: We are covering the full spectrum from traditional to transitional to contemporary in a very wholehearted and design-wise way. We used to zero in on lifestyles, but consumer tastes have become so eclectic that it is necessary to cover everything, even trends that have nothing to do with upholstery.The Merchandising Group at Burlington House prepares its forecast of upcoming colors and styles through Fashion Forecast 360. Ideas might come from museum exhibitions, various entertainment sources or current apparel fashions. Input is received from each division at Burlington. As a result of this collaboration, were able to put more thought into color selection and end up with a more efficient, more flexible palette, said Beiser. Were also able to create a more global variety in the colors, textures and constructions we offer. Thanks to this rich diversity, our customers will appear to have sourced their fabrics from all around the world.As for color, Beiser said, Everyone wants more color. This is refreshing to us also. The palette for 2001 includes earth colors such as Mineral, Steel and Mica and rich, lustrous highlights; as well as basic staples. Theyre substantial colors that can easily go from organic to luxurious to very contemporary, she said.Natural fibers are popular for upholstery fabrics, as are rayon/cotton blends, rayon chenilles and other chenilles. Mixing fibers and processes provides a variety of textures and allows a full spectrum of looks. Burlington House has introduced its Inspire Collection of chenille upholstery fabrics that have been finished in a new way. The process combines blends of raw material, new equipment and process steps to create distinct attributes in the fabrics, making them lustrous or giving them a classic look, like a Fortuny velvet. They also affect the drapability and hand. The resulting fabrics are comfortable as well as luxurious.In bedding, a trend toward alternative fabrics including jacquards and voiles was noted by Charlie Barress, executive vice president, BeddingandBath. Burlington House is using combinations of fabrics for top-of-bed ensembles that include comforters and duvets and are heavily accessorized with pillows and other decorative elements. Color is increasingly more important, with a move away from traditional neutrals to purples, reds and blues.Were more master-bedroom driven, he said. This is a high-end market, which is overall more traditional, but there is a move toward casual presentations as well.Coordinating bedsheets are 100-percent cotton with high thread counts. The ensembles themselves are often of blended fabrics, particularly cotton/rayon. Rayon gives a softer hand to the fabrics. Consumers are considering softness and hand more and more as they choose among the products offered in the marketplace.For the bath, Barress noted a trend toward sheers and burn-outs, both printed and embroidered, for shower curtains. Traditionally, color in the bath has been dictated largely by such factors as the color of the tile and fixtures, and more color is being seen also in this area. Weve been selling red shower curtains, he commented.Marcia Weiss, vice president of design, Windows, noted that over the past two to three years, the range of window fabrics has expanded to include apparel fabrics, such as taffeta, chiffon, organza and organdy. These are happening in windows and look great, she said. There is a growing interest in luster and opulence, but not glitz.Weiss also noted strong interest in surface embellishments, such as crewel, embroidery, crushing or other extras. Even plain fabrics have heather yarns or special finishes, she added.She was pleased to see a growing interest in color for window treatments. It is exciting to see buyers moving from ivories and neutrals to colors, she said. The whole warm palette of red/paprika/gold is doing very nicely.Acknowledging the cyclical nature of style evolution, Weiss said pinch pleats are currently strong at the specialty-store level. They are being shown on decorative hardware. There is also a continual development of new top treatments that are flexible and easy to hang.When asked about shades and blinds, she said Burlington supplies fabric to other companies for shades and blinds in the higher-end market. She noted that where they are being used in the home, they are often combined with soft treatments.WaverlyNew York City-based Waverlys Fall 2001 fabrics are used for upholstery, window treatments and bedding throughout the home. The collection includes Bella Tuscany; WILLIAMSBURG ® American Spirit; and Story Time, a childrens line. Bella Tuscany captures the color and light of this sunny region of Italy. Textures, as seen in old stucco walls and ancient frescos, are also important elements, according Pam Maffei-Toolan, design director, Waverly Lifestyle Group. Our fabrics also represent both the understated villa style and more rustic summer cottage looks that co-exist in Italy, she said.Among 13 printed designs are floral patterns, scenes of daily life, Tuscan herbs and fruits, potted fruit trees and nondirectional patterns. Ten woven constructions include stripes combined with herringbone or damask and Swiss dots; gingham with diamond dobby construction; two-tone constructions; ribbons; formal but rustic cotton damask; matelassith diamond tissue-pick; and chenille. Fabrics are cotton or blends of polyester/cotton, rayon/ cotton or cotton/polyester/acrylic.WILLIAMSBURG American Spirit includes woven 100-percent cotton fabrics inspired by 18th and 19th century designs found in the archives of Colonial Williamsburg. The line is produced under license from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, whose educational program benefits from the sale of these products.Stripes, solids and checks are shown in a traditional palette of sage, red, blue, green, linen and straw. Constructions include matelass44; damask and herringbone. Yarn-dyed sheers in checks or windowpane plaids coordinate with solid matelassr damask for the window. A natural or white sheer features palm embroidery.Decorative pillows and window treatments use fabrics from Bella Tuscany and Story Time. Free-standing window coverings include textures and sheers and are topped by scarves and valances. Pillows have self-welts or contrasting welts. There are also new designs for needlepoint pillows including potted fruit trees, topiaries, palm trees, a Tuscan floral bouquet, a rooster and shells. Waverlys line of bed ensembles includes two luxury ensembles, one using the colorful Bella Tuscany fabrics, and the other in an ebony/cream colorway with an American flavor. There are also bright, all-American looks and three childrens sets. Jhane Barnes