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Trend Guru Shares Color Design Forecast At Las Vegas Market

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Michelle Lamb began her TrendWatch Live! seminar at Las Vegas Market with something a little different: A tour of the color wheel. The senior editor of The Trend Curve and contributor to Accessory Merchandising said, “When I talk about trends I always start with color, because it’s so significant to everything else that is going on.” Lamb, who is also founder and chairperson of the Minneapolis-based Marketing Directions Inc., provided snapshots of what the trends are for 2008 and 2009, many of which she took at Las Vegas Market. The seminar was sponsored by World Market Center and Vance Publishing/Accessory Merchandising. Lamb said that she’s been thinking about not only about the direction of color but the direction of color combinations. Starting with blue, she showed how blues are taking off in new directions. “Blues are never truly out of fashion, but different types and different personalities cycle back and forth. Through 2010 we expect many more blues in an upcycle than we have had in years, all of them exciting and immensely sellable.” Water-based and saturated midvalues of blue have the potential to be best-sellers in everything from bed and bath to upholstery and even Christmas and holiday. Navy blues are being pushed to the red side along with denim-inspired blues. Going around the color wheel, she highlighted purple with red casts, pale and midtone purples, and fuscia-inspired purple. Pinks will stay cool, with the exception of a hot coral. While browns and oranges will stay the same course for 2008, Lamb said to get ready for a very different green-cast yellow to pop. “It isn’t horribly edgy, just enough green to make a difference,” she said. “We will also see neon-flavored yellows in 2009. This is going to be a parallel trend with ready-to-wear. It also looks great with gray and silver.” The parallels with apparel are becoming more evident. Lamb pointed out that home and apparel are coming closer and closer all the time. One of the biggest trends for both is metallics. “Gold is the freshest way to tell that metallic story,” she said. “Gold is showing up in all sorts of thicknesses. Think of those little threads of gold in the fabric and then contrast that with something that is nearly viscous. There is no wrong way to do metallics right now.” Other trends that are popping up in both worlds: • Warm grays. Look for a mixture of warm-temperature grays in 2009. • Skin-tone neutrals. The transition will be made from shades of pinks and peaches to desert neutrals, such as khakhi browns and gold grays, perhaps accented with white and black. • Paisley is back. Bohemian or Morrocan themes update this traditional pattern. • Crowns. This icon can be a little edgy, from the counter-culture point of view. • Stripes. They’ve been off the trend-radar for several seasons. New combinations of colors and thicknesses energize stripes in a new way. • Art nouveau. In the coming years, art nouveau will have the potential to be a replacement for glamour looks. When talking about fabrics, Lamb said buyers will see more intricate weaves, fine and elaborate textures, and lustrous overtones. “Complicated approaches are what’s going on right now. Visual and textural variety are what’s important,” she said. “It’s also a reminder of the relentless increase of consumer sophistication that makes companies compelled to make something special in almost every fabric and every piece.” Related to that are patterns. While they fit well into the area of fabrics, Lamb also said to look for patterns in décor and tableware. New interpretations of fine point illustrations are decidedly decorative. Patterns such as Greek keys, camphor leaves, medallions, iron work patterns, scallops and architectural elements are making their way onto tableware and accessories. Wood remains the leader in materials right now, which is great for the eco-chic trend. Buyers can expect all newness of the green movement to become the new normal. “We still like the found wood and the reclaimed wood. There is also going to be shift to lighter finishes that is really going to keep this category going. Look for gray wood. Dark is not done, but we’re evolving,” Lamb said. Glass also fits into the eco-chic trend. Buyers should be on the lookout for bumpy textures, or textures that are reminiscent of water or ice. There is a shift away from plain, smooth glass toward glass with facets, scoring, and handcarvings. Facets also make pieces more functional, which is what consumers still want. Functionality is now becoming more edgy. Sofas can be assymetrical and to create spaces that work for consumers. Chairs convert to tables and wall hangings. There is a concerted effort to be less gimmicky in the functionality. When speaking about exotic locales, Lamb touched on the Asian and African influences still being big, but never looking as fresh as they do for 2008. “There is a youthful rhythm to Asian style that is contagious,” she said. Consumers love the traditional black and red lacquer, but new, unexpected colors such as white, aqua, coral and lemon are giving the trend a fresh look. As for the African trends, rocks fossils, horns can be high-end with a metallic coat. Leopard and tiger skin patterns are paired with unnatural colors to make them feel like they haven’t been seen before. Moroccan motifs, such as grillwork, stars and paisley, work well in sheer and lustrous tapestries. Tapestries are coming back in a very different way. “We’ll see other architectural elements being used on products,” Lamb said. “Add in exotic grasses and metal and lacquered wood to round out the look, and you have an African trend to reenergize the global mood for the balance of the decade.” The semi-annual Las Vegas Market is the world’s fastest-growing trade show for home furnishings currently spanning 3.8 million square feet of permanent showrooms and exhibits and featuring 1,300 companies and lines. World Market Center will soon boast the greatest depth and breadth of furniture-related products compared to any other market center and will be the world’s largest trade fair complex when fully built out to 12 million square feet in 2013. The Las Vegas Market continues through August 3, 2007 at World Market Center’s Buildings A and B, the Pavilions; the temporaries are featured at Sands Expo & Convention Center.

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