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Cindy Hodnett

High Point Market exhibitors add excitement to upholstery introductions

HIGH POINT - Look in any woman's closet and you'll likely find a mix of staple wardrobe items along with accessories like patterned scarves, colorful handbags, and a variety of shoes for different occasions that includes casual and dressy leather, diverse heel heights and the season's latest "trend."

Furniture showrooms have taken the cue.

Glacier BKind3 by LazarGlacier, a BKind3 introduction by Lazar, is updated Danish Modern, a clean and classic style.
From a 16-foot by 8-foot sofa at Southwood Furniture and a shimmery sectional at Camerich USA to Natuzzi's Re-vive performance recliner and Lazar's Paragon sleeper program, the key trend for this High Point Market is creating excitement.

Yes, there are color stories, favorite frames and new stories for retail, but the underlying theme is all about stepping outside of the borax box.

"We call this the biggest sectional ever," said Dan Minor, chief operating officer for Southwood. "It's four pieces, including a very unique and hard-to-do corner, and it retails for around $22,000.

We've already had three separate interior designers tell us they can spec this."

Along with the extra-large, there's also an abundance of small and medium at market. Numerous showrooms are introducing or adding to "urban" collections, which typically include simple profiles, smaller scales and often, design flexibility.

Sklar Peppler/Alan WhiteSklar Peppler/Alan White shows blue, reminiscent of a Tiffany gift box, on a print sofa.
"We're introducing a sofa and chair group that works beautifully in a smaller urban space or condo," said Sheila Seigel of Sklar Peppler/Alan White. "It has a reversible chaise cushion that can be used on either side of the sofa, but it can also be switched with the chair cushion to create a single chaise and straight sofa. It's about $1,600 retail for both pieces."

The Sklar Peppler showroom also features a blue print sofa reminiscent of Tiffany's iconic gift box.

Blues are still huge in upholstery, ranging from classic navy-white combinations to impressionistic peacock-feather patterns, along with a substantial assortment of brilliant royals and muted denim tones.

The Rolling slipper chair by Tomlinson/Erwin-LambethThe Rolling slipper chair by Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth shows a simple profile and a pillow cut-out for visual interest.
Many upholstery showrooms also are warming up the color palette with pumpkin orange, fuchsia and sunshine yellow. On the cooler side, soft grays are paired with lavender, baby blue and the occasional citron hue for light-dark drama.

Modern-inspired frames remain prominent at market. Traditional has been renamed and updated as transitional or "new" traditional, offering an important style choice for non-minimalists, but the inspiration of modern style's simple lines has popped up in just about every showroom.

"Retro ‘Mad Men' style from the 1960s is very popular," said Lee Fautsch of Flexsteel. "Our Waverly sofa has clean lines, button tufting and a splayed leg that is true to the period."

AICO's new studio collection includes several modern groupings that also work well in small spaces, according to Laurie Phillips, director of upholstery merchandising for AICO.

"A lot of people are living in smaller spaces by choice," Phillips said. "The furniture is about scale, fashion and shape. It speaks to an attitude about how you want to live and what you want to spend."

Hound's-tooth fabric is prominently featured in many showrooms. Traditionally sized in some and "exploded" in others like Norwalk, the pattern works well with many of the menswear-inspired body cloths used for stationary sofa and chair introductions.

Flexsteel’s Waverly sofaFlexsteel’s Waverly sofa nods to mid-century modern style.
Stainless steel or silver-toned frames and nail heads are noteworthy this market as well, and several showrooms that have featured wood bases in the past have taken the plunge into metals with outstanding aesthetic results.

"Metal bases have gained a lot of momentum," said Jennifer Green of American Leather. "It's transitioned from stainless to brushed in several introductions, but it is definitely important."

"Color and texture have come back and they often bump up the price point for retailers," said Klaussner's Len Burke. "The more information and options we can give the retailer, the better."

*Click here to read all our High Point Market coverage.

Magnussen’s new upholstery collectionMagnussen’s new upholstery collection includes this group in orange, underscoring one of the market’s important color stories for fall.

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