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Trend Forecaster Shares Insights at Las Vegas Market

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Home trend forecaster and TrendCurve publisher Michelle Lamb took her Trendwatch column in Accessory Merchandising magazine from the page to the stage in a seminar during Las Vegas Market. Lamb shared her home fashion insights gained from traveling to trade shows around the world. She covered colors, motifs and moods that will impact tomorrow's décor styles based on the latest looks from a global perspective. Several topics covered included emerging influences, green trends and neutrals. One interesting emerging trend is buying by the item. While consumers previously may have made purchases by the group, these days they are buying more on an item level. “Consumers are reluctant to commit to any one style, theme or color palette,” Lamb said. Now more than ever, consumers want environments that can’t be duplicated. “It’s all about eclectic personalization and taking homes to a higher level of personalization.” Cheap chic and high style are even mixing together -- with curves sitting next to straight lines. Lifestyle issues are manifesting as décor trends. As consumers increasingly “go green,” the trend carries into home furnishings. “Consumers at every level are being attuned to all things environmental. And it is easy for neutrals to play in the environmental sandbox.” Despite growing interest in neutrals, there is still interest in color, especially greens. “Green is the color of seasonal renewal and for 2007 and 2008 we will see greens having a year-round impact.” Today’s greens are cooler and toned down from the yellow greens of yester-year. Green and black is on-trend, as is olive and black. We will see more olive for late 2007 and 2008. And we will see the layering of greens together as a trend for the holiday season. Browns, according to Lamb, will mimic desert shades as opposed to chocolate bars. She also said manufacturers are using recycled materials for products, including recycled PVC for lamps. The fabric mix is also changing, with velvet as a headliner along with wools and even linens that show off patterns and textures. Hemp is also being used for upholstery. Lamb said bamboo towels are extremely hot along with new synthetics. “The same old leather and suede look is not enough. It’s all about colors and textures.” After several seasons off the trend radar, special effects are coming back, from subtle nuances to show-stoppers. “Lustre has been paving the way for effects,” Lamb said. “In the past, anything that was glimmering appeared cheap. In 2004, we forecasted that metallics would be more important than metals. Today, metallic finishes are covering wood and porcelain.” Neutrals are changing, Lamb said, adding that the new neutral may mirror skin tones and desert tones. “We are seeing hues of hickory, cherry, nudes and blush tones,” Lamb said, adding that finishes and textures are returning. “I believe we will see a shift from skin tones to earth tones. Our new forecast focuses on grays and browns and golden yellows that are on the edge of browns.” Manufacturers are also pairing neutrals with color, producing exciting results by layering bright hues over grays – providing balance for high-intensity colors, making them appear less garish. White is dominating black in many black and white color combinations, and white provides a clean ground for patterns and dinnerware. “Black is backing off,” Lamb said. “It’s no longer white’s equal partner.” While the past few seasons brought graphic, high-contrast patterns, patterns these days are lightening up. We are seeing a revival of ribbed treatments and bands on dinnerware. Parents have money to spend on kids and young adults and kids themselves are watching home decorating shows. Youth culture is leading to an emerging futuristic trend, with tables looking like rocket ships and tables that look like they might have come from the Star Trek set. Lamb used some furniture from the Italian Design On Tour (I.D.O.T) at the Summer Market as an example of futuristic furnishings that are coming into vogue. New fiber optic lighting and LED technology is challenging the old rules for fixture. “Gaming furniture fits right in, with chairs that accommodate speakers and plug-ins for video games.” All of these trends are throwing off the established notion of seating design. Youth furniture these days is futuristic and industrial as well as space-saving. “Every day items are now made with utility,” Lamb said, pointing to a laundry basket on wheels and furniture with space to recharge equipment. Lamb concluded her wide-ranging presentation to a large group of journalists and home furnishings executives, many of whom stayed to ask questions and request more information about emerging trends. The July 26 presentation at the Las Vegas Convention Center was one of many educational sessions offered during Las Vegas Market. Las Vegas Market takes place July 24-28 at World Market Center and Pavilions; the Temporaries and Design Gallery opened July 25 and are located at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In all, the July 2006 Market is the largest Las Vegas Market yet with 1,500 exhibiting companies and 2.6 million square feet of permanent and temporary exhibits.

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