High-end elegance leads the way
Cecile Corral -- Furniture Today, March 30, 2001
NEW YORK-Trends are plentiful in the decorative pillow industry this April market. But there is a common thread stitching them together.
Here's what top designers are saying:
Chenille is "still popular and it's still growing in popularity among consumers," said Judy Neu, design director for Town & Country, based in New York.
A "return to opulence," said Cheryl McLain, vp of sales and marketing for Montgomery, AL-based Riverdale Decorative Products, is in swing.
Sharp menswear looks, especially plaids, are experiencing "a strength" this season, said Loren Sweet, vp and national sales manager for Brentwood Originals, based in Carson, CA.
"Trading up is taking place with fabrics, meaning more luxurious products that are heavily overconstructed with fancier threads, chenilles and bouclé and specialty effects in weave are the trend," said Marliese Krivobok-Johnson, head designer of fashion products for Louisville Bedding, based in Louisville, KY.
There is "a lot of dressmaker detail being added to pillows, but not so much to make them overly fussy-just more tailored and elegant," said Marsha Caparelli, senior vp for New York-based Arlee.
So what's the common denominator?
Amy Bell, executive vp for New York-based Ashford Court, summed it up: "A very high-end, understated elegance."
Driving that trend are varied forces. For most manufacturers, it's fashion styles stemming from prêt-à-porter domestically and from Europe.
"One area of major emphasis is an extensive new collection of chenille plaids," Sweet said. "The strength of menswear looks, especially plaids, makes this a timely introduction, and the market gave us a warm reception to the plaid throws, which I am confident will extend to the pillows as well."
Feeding that trend, Brentwood is introducing 11 new pillows in plaids and new solids in cactus, true red, deep purple and burnt orange.
Concurring was Krivobok-Johnson: "There's a masculine trend going on with plaids, tartan plaids and wool all coming back. It's related to the whole leather and crocodile look we've been seeing."
Other new designs donning richer looks includes the trend in quilting, "with the matelasse look coming out of Europe," leading Louisville Bedding to focus some efforts on a strong feminine collection that "looks more bourgeois, more upper-end country with linens blends and more sophisticated florals," Krivobok-Johnson said.
Taking a similar route is Nuko Creations, based in Eatontown, NJ, which will be introducing new 100 percent European linen pillows with handmade trim styles include the brightly-colored lines "Fiesta," "Le Pon Pon" and "Sunset."
And Ashford Court, too, will introduce its new Warwick fabric, a "very high-end look. It's a decorative pillow with a sheer over it that is quilted into squares with strings of rafia loosely thrown inside. It's part of that understated elegance look."
But while fashion is driving new opulent looks for some, a limited variety and steep prices are driving the trend for other manufacturers.
"Price points for pillows will definitely come up because of what's coming out of the fabric market," Krivobok-Johnson said. "The fabric people are doing smaller, fancier and more expensive lines, and they are trading up their wares. So we are, too, and as a result retailers will have to. I don't know how we'll convince the customer to trade up when the customer's budget is already tight. I guess we'll see what happens at market."
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