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Trends for 2008

Gregory Vaughan - Monday, December 31, 2007

To quote Heidi Klum, “In the world of fashion, one day you’re in, and the next, you’re out!” (Yes, it is a guilty pleasure and I will admit it, I am a fan of Project Runway.) As I listened to her deliver one of her trademark catchphrases during this week’s episode, I thought about how this edict applies to interior design as well. Think about it, what was popular and all the rage a few years ago is now looking a little tired and stale.

I have always noticed that what walks down the runway eventually trickles down to trends in interior design and decoration. Just look at the number of fashion designers who now have their own lines of furniture, bedding, and accessories. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Liz Claiborne (even Heidi’s sidekick Michael Kors) have all launched distinctive housewares and lifestyle collections that echo their respective design signatures and philosophies.

My recent buying trip to AmericasMart Atlanta last month for the Winter 2008 trade show was like being in New York’s Grant Park for fashion week. And, I am happy to report that high fashion is in store for designers and their clients in the upcoming year. It is so exciting to preview the latest styles and interior trends, so here are a few of my impressions and observations for trends this year:

Color is in, and it is more saturated than ever. Bedding, upholstery, artwork, glass and ceramics are sporting brighter hues after past seasons of restrained, muted, tone-on-tone neutrals. Even when used sparingly, this fresh jolt of color will add vibrancy, punch, and enliven the most tired surroundings.

Nailhead trim is being applied to everything, but with an unusual twist, not the seen-it before, typical western motif. In both very sleek contemporary and whimsical applications, I have seen it not only on upholstery, but also casegoods such as tables and bookscases, pottery, even lampshades. The finishes range from tried-and-true old brass to polished chrome, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze to add pizzazz to each item they embellish.

Animal prints and skin textures were everywhere, both bold and subtle, naturally colored and in colors not found in nature. Zebra still reigns as the most popular, with leopard and alligator running closely behind, but ostrich, elephant and ocelot are all vying for attention as well. A word of caution here, a little goes a long way unless you are purposely trying to achieve a campy look.

Floral patterns with a large scale and retro flair are coming back in vogue as are mod prints with a nod to pop art from the 60’s and 70’s. Anything nature-themed has been stylized and employed as a graphic print motif on textiles and wallcovering. I saw pillowcases and duvets emblazoned with a single, 20 inch diameter poppy or carnation bloom and wallpapers featuring a forest of silhouetted aspen trees.

Capiz shell, mosaic bone patterns, bamboo veneer, lacquer with eggshells, and other handmade elements continue to reflect our current fascination of exotic locales. Think about destinations for restorative retreats and vacations like Bali, Tahiti – all over the South Pacific. The allure of these finishes evokes a relaxing, earthy vibe that is in line with our new eco-friendly lifestyles. With our hectic daily schedules, who does not want to feel as if on a spa holiday even if they were only in their suburban bathroom at home?

What will be emerging at next season’s show? A return to the palette of pastel seafoam greens and mauves of the early 80’s? Let us hope not. As a designer on the island for the past 18 years, I am still not ready to resurrect that particular fashion statement. Some interior trends are like poodle skirts, great for a costume party or school plays, but not something to live with on a day-to-day basis.


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