By Richard Wright
|Maxine Lauer, CEO of Sphere Trending.|
Choosing fabrics for the coming season is said by some to be the toughest job faced by patio retailers. Choose correctly and sales may increase; choose poorly and sales most likely will suffer.
What’s needed is a guide, an expert, one who lives and breathes trends, and colors and textures, and is able to extract meaning and direction for the rest of us. Maxine Lauer is such a person.
Trend & Colors of Le Jardin
“Le Jardin is a Country French look. It’s historical and it’s traditional. It has a lot of distressed finishes, time-worn finishes, but it’s still feminine and elegant. So it’s very romantic, of course, and it has a much more relaxed, traditional look.
“Who loves Le Jardin the most? Baby Boomers do, and they’re staying traditional. They are very, very picky about the pieces they’re putting in and around their home. They are into this style because they like to be authentic.
“The gentle color palette of Le Jardin lends an eased formality, taking a cue from formal gardens, family heirlooms and antiques of France.
“In France, when this trend was really at its strongest, a lot of their influence was from Belgium. Now you see the Belgium linens, and the color is very soft, very dusty, very gentle. There is a soft dusty blue and a soft warm gray and a soft beige and a beige linen look. They are accented with a strong blue story, and the blue story carries these neutrals forward. The gray continues, such as warm gray on faux oak.
“Black with the gray coming through is new, and antique silver and distressed metal finishes continue. The metal looks are very layered and ethereal; there’s almost a transparency to them. Warm brown continues and marbles also continue.
“Extra detailing continues, and bell shapes for chandeliers and lighting. Nail heads are a really key element of this trend and they are in brass most of the time. There’s curved detailing, very ornate. There’s cane work, and very classic, traditional, authentic designs for cast backs and for trims on tables.
“Weathered zinc continues, which is really nice. There’s wonderful feminine scroll work, or filigree work, that is really important. The detailing is very feminine. There’s a trestle-based table, with a trend in seating for eight to 10, almost like a common eating table, which they did in France a lot.
“We’re still seeing damask, but not full color. Script and writing is still there, of course, in French. There’s toile, but not Asian toile, the French manor toile. Roses continue, again with a lot of scroll work. Antique tile repeats. The look of linen is very important; this whole linen look is very soft and elegant.
“The color of stones, a warm kind of neutral, is important here. Then there’s bistro beige, which has a gray undertone; even the grays are warm here. Then there’s the soft, elegant, feminine Belgian blue. It’s really a beautiful, distressed kind of blue. It’s very romantic, very charming and very authentic. This is all geared toward the Baby Boomers.”
Trend & Colors of Great Hall
“Great Hall is also traditional, but it’s more modern. It has some classic overtones and some traditional sense, but it’s very influenced by Downton Abbey at this time. It has a lot of traditional design and is really rooted in British history. It’s very much about escapism.
“This is still a Baby Boomer look because it’s classic, but it does have a bit of a twist. It’s more comfortable. It’s easier to live with and just casual enough for relaxation, but it still has its roots in English design. This is where Empty Nesters (no kids at home) pay attention to all these little details. They have a passion for cooking and wine and taking cues from very classic design, and they are very much about going onto the Internet to really search out how to put this all together.
“It has some very formal dark colors to it, but it also has some feminine, smokier colors. So you see these very dark colors and then you see, in juxtaposition, the very light colors. They will use the darker colors with a white and give it a really crisp look, and then they will use some of the softer colors together against the white and that gives a crisp look. Or they will mix and match.
“Gold is really what’s important here for accenting and detailing. Everybody in all the trade shows we attended was talking about the return of blackened brass, burnished brass, brushed brass, aged brass. Call it whatever you want, it’s a trend.
“The black influence over oak is what is important here. We’re still seeing a lot of oak – white oak, herringbone patterns, some burl. There’s lots of satin sheen and luster, waxing and wax treatments such as waxed corners, waxed edges, waxed arms that gives a little bit of sheen on certain points, not all over.
“White marble continues to be really key here, faux marble or real. And very ornate details for accenting on the tile tops or even an all-over embossed tile top for tables.
“Wingbacks are not going away anytime soon. They continue to be a force for captain’s chairs and dining, or for side chairs in living and casual chat areas. There’s a lot of formal trellis and garden work and really oversized lanterns – huge, enormous, as big as you can get them.
“This trend is traditional; it’s Downton Abbey’s effect and it’s the fashion from that era and the colors. Ralph Lauren, of course, is a huge influence.”
Trend & Colors of Modern Alchemy
“This trend is mid-century modern, and very strong in American architecture and decor. It’s unfussy; it’s modern and clean. It’s personalized. It has a style of the ’50s. It involves natural light in homes, lots of open work, lots of expansive windows and open concept living. Personalized, unfussy, clean. Bold statements, very modern contrast. It was inspired by Mad Men in a big way.
“But it also concerns the great interest in architecture, and is geared to the younger generations, Gen X and also Gen Y. They are very interested in mid-century modern, and there’s a reason for that. The homes they can afford are smaller, classic, mid-century modern homes – about 1,800 to 1,500 sq. ft. This is all about a clean, modern aesthetic.
“Here we find a mid-tone palette and it mixes warm colors, but brown is a huge color going forward and other brown, gray and orange families continue for 2014. The brown has really lightened up, and we see a return to copper. But there is a lot of blue in juxtaposition. It’s a very neutral story, but influenced by the blues, with some other accent colors – a tad of purple, a tad of orange.
“Then there is a new finish called Ebony Stainless; chrome and stainless were so popular during that era and now we’re seeing even black play a role over the stainless. There’s gun metal and gold, large-scaled brushed effects. Chrome, of course, is a natural here.
“A cross hatch continues both in tile embossing and in fabric texture. Steamed Walnut has a clean surface, and can have a rippling effect, a water movement effect in the walnut. Shapes are softened. Even the rectangles have softened corners. Even though it’s modern, it has a soft appeal.
“Hexagons from that era are very classic. Marble is in thinner formats because of the affordability issue. Clear acrylics, of course, are natural. And now we’re seeing end-cut woods, and they will go forward all the way through 2015 and 2016. It doesn’t have to be real wood.
“Copper is having an influence over fabrics as well as finishes. The black is what we call a dry hand, soft matte black. Gray tones are a tad cooler than in some of the other trends. There’s a Palm Springs green, a lighter uptake on the emerald but very much a dusty color.
“The misty aquas continue, but the dusty twilight blue is really one of the more important colors in this family. It has a yellow cast to it. It really works with the neutrals and browns. There is a dusty orange here, but it’s the blues and neutrals that take hold with the browns. Plum is being used only for accenting. These homes are certainly small, but usually have big back yards; that was very important in the ’50s.”
Trend & Colors of Silk Trade
“Silk trade is the Asian influence coming in from Shanghai. It’s really feminine and modern, influenced a lot by some of the new, powerful women in China such as actresses Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li. It also involves the aspiration of luxury going on in China.
“There’s lots of Far East touches here – lots of furs. Some of it is geared to single Boomer females. It’s very much about putting modern with ancient; it’s very serene, sophisticated and professional. This is a very warm color story with lots of oranges and reds. Even the orange goes to a red cast, and the greens are key for balancing comfort. In China, all colors play an emotional role; green calms and red excites, so they want both together. An Oriental plum is coming into play, and there are beautiful reds and blues.
“Copper is making a comeback. There’s a burnished champagne bronze, which has a bit of black in it. Of course, gold is very important for accenting and detailing. Faux bone, not real bone, is the way to go, and mother of pearl. The embossed metals look really good here.
“There are still some hammered textures, but the Asian fretwork continues. There are influences of Chinese Chippendale, and Bamboo continues. This trend is very feminine and aspirational. Gates are very important in Chinese history; garden gates continue to have a really nice aesthetic, with some modern touches.
“For pattern, it’s leafy, airy shoots. Cherry blossoms continue on a small scale. There are kimono prints, and Asian florals, juxtaposed against a pure white. There are warm grays, and red lacquer. The lacquer finish and treatment is very important. A smoked amber takes gold and gives it a bit of a brown twist.
“So it’s those blues and reds and oranges, and blues come forward here. Then there’s some feminine touches of pink and some plum, but the fuchsia is really an accent color here, tinted sometimes with black.
“There are wonderful greens and, with the neutrals, they provide a calming feel for a modern interpretation. It can be kept lively with teal, tangerine and white – very eclectic. There’s a global essence from the Far East here, and it’s much more of a feminine global than a masculine, heavy, African-primitive global.”
Trend & Colors of Impressions
“Impressions is very casual, very much about being in nature and grounded in nature. It’s really about how people are living and that they are actually spending more time outside. Nature’s influence remains a key part of our lives.
“This palette takes inspiration from all the beauty nature has to offer. It’s really a blue-green story with rich gold, bronze and pearl mixed in.
“If I could do the color palette in this trend and simply use iridescent pearlized metallic finishes over the color, I would have, because that’s the key directive here. This is a blue neutral story again, as blue continues to have such an influence on the palette. There is a gold that’s brushed. There is an oxidized charcoal. There is a dappled silver here and, of course, the polished nickel continues.
“We’re seeing lighter oak here. It’s a pure white oak in a natural finish. We’re still seeing some distressed grays, but on oak. Striated stone continues for accent tables and for fabric inspiration. Limestone is a key directive for texture in material. The shapes and forms are softer. Limestone is added to the concrete. The more limestone, the softer the product. These are all elegant, organic finishes.
“Patterns have a gentle wave movement to them. There are watery textures. There’s a lot of swirl work, and real or faux alabaster and oversized sea grass wicker. Again, there’s a lot of feminine detailing here. Tapered ropes, larger ropes. The grays are still easy and graduated in fabrics. Patterns from nature mix softly with stripes. Some have ripple effects.
“We’re starting to see a lot more detail on paneling on walls. Many times it’s painted. Not paneling like in the ’60s and ’70s, but beautiful, lighter interpretations of paneling. So it’s very modern, very clean, very nature influenced. There’s illuminated, semi-precious faux stone as well.
“There’s a vapor white here. There’s a taupe that moves forward into the palette and then the blue family that is pearlized. Aqua continues. The green is influenced by the blue on the sea glass. A kelp color of green and the green family is still yellow-cast in 2014. There are a few blue-cast greens, but there’s a lot of yellow-cast greens. The sands balance everything out. So it’s just nature, it’s natural, it’s really an influence of casual.
“As we seek retreats from our hectic daily lives, the home is where we surround ourselves with comforting furnishings, colors, sounds and textures.”
Trend & Colors of Salsa
“The influence here is still from South America, inspired by the lush, fully saturated landscapes of exotic locales. Colors are bold and dramatic with the main color story being bright lime paired up with warm golden sand.
“It’s also modern in interpretation, but also very eclectic. It has a lot of Rain Forest interpretation. It’s very tropical in nature with fun, fun patterns. It’s very Gen X based. Blues are crystal clear; there are bold oranges and hot corals. The coral family is very strong, but the greens balance it out.
“The green is like your base cloth and it’s a really intense green. You can use all these bold colors against the green with a very soft neutral. So we see black pearl. Again that influence of black, but really one of the key finishes here is the black influence over the brown family.
“Oxidized finishes are continuing. There’s a burnished brass that has black in it. Of course, tropical teak is the natural wood of choice here, faux teak or real. There are smooth wood finishes with textures, and sanded slate, which is a softer slate to the touch.
“There’s a lot of color going on. Coca shells are being used, and oyster shells. Faux python appeals to some (not me). There’s a leather that mimics natural cork. It’s all very fun and with modern shades. We’re still seeing some laser-cut work and versatile configurations with modern stylings and a lot of function.
“It’s also about open weaves, fun colors, very tropical kind of looks here. The wickers have lots of detail in them, whether they are twisted or just multicolored. Loom weaves that look like macramé but in fun, fun colors. Again fun colors in wovens. Very festive. There’s a lot of suspended seating, whether it’s from a porch or free-standing swings.
“It’s all very outdoor centric, very global. There are multicolored stripes that really strike out and grab your attention. Chevrons continue. We’re seeing them more in the two-color Chevron work or three-color at best.
“There are over-scaled, large, bright florals, and lots of bold orange, but the hot coral is a key color of the season. It’s everywhere in fashion this season. It’s both on the orange side and on the pink side. You can use it either way because coral is a really important color.
“The bright greens intensify and are the grounding colors for those bright colors, along with a fun, clean yellow and a blue that has a yellow cast to it. Then there’s the strong use of cobalt. We can take all of those colors and put them together in beautiful florals with very lush looks, thus creating a lot of excitement on the floor while keeping it a little classic.”