The world of fashion continually reinvents itself, as seen at the various fashion weeks staged around the globe several times a year.
The world of furniture has something similar — except you never hear about a sofa falling off of its super-high heels.
By coincidence, North Carolina’s internationally renowned High Point Market — the largest furniture market in the world — struts its stuff at the same time as Toronto’s fashion week. Both wrapped up their fall shows just two weeks ago.
In High Point, designers and retailers arrive from across North America and around the globe to take careful stock — and buy. And what they see and buy at the market will be in stores about three to six months from now.
In the exact same way that fashion runways tell you about the styles and colours coming in clothes and accessories, the furniture market does the same thing. Sometimes, the fashion industry will also lead the way for home décor, as it did this year with rose-gold. A few seasons ago, Michael Kors introduced a watch in rose-gold metal that became the envy of every woman. Home decor fashion has followed suit and rose-gold could be found in High Point on several table bases, lamps, pendants and accessories.
The past few markets have seen an increasing presence of gold, and its growing popularity over chrome. At this past show, it was difficult to find anything that wasn’t available in gold — not shiny and brassy but dull and classy. The rose-gold tone is in addition to the muted gold that has grown more popular year over year.
But don’t panic; you don’t have to update every piece of your décor to the new golds. A combination of metals is perfectly acceptable when it comes to your home. Feel free to layer in chrome with gold and rose-gold. I would, though, advise using the rose gold judiciously since I’m not convinced it will have a long shelf life.
Another trend to watch for: Chinoiserie. It’s back. It was originally popular in 17th- and 18th-century Europe as the exploration of the Orient fascinated people. French King Louis XV was a real lover of the style and popularized it amongst elite society. Yet the less-affluent envied it, and as a result it was mass-produced to be accessible, which ultimately helped it lose favour with the elite. Hand-painted vases, lamp bases, fabrics and wall covering were all the rage because they worked so well with the Rococo style, a more playful and ornate style than the previous grand and symmetrical Baroque.
Chinoiserie was reborn in the 1930s but again, mass production of home decor items ultimately labelled the style as inexpensive. But it is back, and 2015 will see it again in wallpapers, fabrics, vases and lamp bases as well as the general architecture cabinets. The colour-combination of blue and white is traditional to Chinoiserie styling — so much so that designers refer to “Chinese blue” to identify colour. That blue plays beautifully with the popularity of navys, deep azures, and peacock blues that remain popular moving forward.
Fashion designers, like the house of Alexander McQueen, have introduced fabrics that seem to have a photo-realistic quality. You could see these in dresses, pants and shoes. Since the Internet informs the world at lightning speed about what transpires on fashion runways, the home-decor industry has become more in sync. And home decor’s response to photo-realistic fabric was to introduce a “marbled” fabric that looks like a photo of statuary marble, and in a variety of colours.
Naturally, the fabrics used in home decor can’t always be the same as those used in fashion. Occasionally, a window-covering fabric can work for both worlds — but you would never wear an upholstery fabric and a sofa would not last long in a suit fabric. So the marbled fabric allows for the upholstery-level needed in a fabric’s weave. The natural, organic qualities of the fabric made traditional furniture pieces look fresh and new.
A great tip for recovering a chair is to change the fabric to something more avant-garde and give that chair a whole new lease on life. Remember to check with the fabric store to ensure your selection is suitable for an upholstery piece before you invest the money. Good quality fabrics can price out around $200 to $300 a metre, so it can be a very expensive mistake.
Some elements we’ve seen over the past few years at the market will continue forward. The elements of industrial chic, for example, are here to stay. Recycled woods, live-edge tables and objects that seem to be “found” remain are as available as they have been over the past several years.
The real fun of shopping at the market — at least, for us — is finding the vintage” dealer whose “found” objects are not reproduction but actually found. Vintage clocks and a sign from an old Vespa” dealership can be as exciting as finding the latest trend. Consumers in North America have fallen in love with home decor items that have a sense of nostalgia. Sixty years ago, a technical drawing of a light bulb and its entire element parts would have had no value to anyone but an engineer. Now, it’s a popular piece of art that could grace the walls of many homes in a variety of decor styles.
You must be, though, judicious in your selection of “found.” The junk collected in your basement is likely not a fantastic find to be incorporated into you decor. A good general rule: if the item was created after 1965, it can go into your garage sale.
Blue, as I mentioned earlier, still dominated the market and in a myriad of tones. However, this market showed predominately deeper shades of blue. And the newest colour introduced: orange. Currently, you can see it in accessories, candles, toss cushions and throw blankets. This often indicates to me that manufacturers see the colour as a fad rather than a new trend in the market. Likely, it will pass through over the next year and then be replaced.
Highlights from High Point
- Finishes in dull gold and now the introduction of rose-gold.
- Combine metals to enjoy what you have and update with new pieces.
- Chinoiserie is making another comeback.
- Marble-detailed upholstery fabrics bring a new look to older chair frames.
- Vintage remains popular.
- Orange really is the new black.
Glen Peloso appears every two weeks in New in Homes & Condos. He is principal designer of Peloso Alexander Interiors, national design editor of Canadian Home Trends magazine and a design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Contact him at pelosoalexander.com, follow on Twitter at @peloso1 or @glenandjamie, and on Facebook.