Designers choose best fabrics to make upholstery delicious
Cindy W. Hodnett -- Furniture Today, October 16, 2013
At the September Habitare show in Helsinki, Finland, Boknas showed a wing chair in rich purple paired with gray.
"When I visit fabric shows, I fall in love with something in every showroom," says Ronna Griest, creative director for upholstery manufacturer Massoud Furniture. "But my responsibility is to be an editor - to go out, look, abs orb and edit what's new for our particular position. If I just go into a showroom looking for navy blue, that makes no sense."
A playful, colorsoaked fabric on a simple frame creates versatility in this accent chair by Massoud, complementing consumers’ eclectic design preferences.
Griest's approach has landed the Massoud showroom on many must-see lists at the High Point Market. Fabric and frame are often paired in unexpected ways at Massoud, and as consumers have embraced a desire for different options, the unique looks have proven effective for the company.
"For this market, we show fabrics that appear older looking and handmade, but that are for today - not your grandmother's fabric," Griest said. "And we're going toward warmer edges of blues a
Vintage-inspired fabric adds a casual flavor to this Massoud chair with traditional tufting and nail head accents.
Amethyst, coral and dusty rose are focus hues at the Highland House showroom for market. Senior Design Director Jana Burvikos said that as fashion continues to be all about color, so is upholstery.
"Our showroom entrance is very dramatic for market with melon and corals," Burvikos said. "Highland House is known for color and we're still seeing lots of pops of color in fashion - orange, poppy, yellow, reds and blues. Our fabrics are clear, fresh colors and many are exclusive to us."
Offering an exclusive fabric is a strong marketing tool for manufacturers and retailers, according to Burvikos.
"It can't be shopped if it's exclusive and that's a big plu
The Twist of Fate chair by Candice Olson for Highland House features amethyst and strong graphics, both important style trends for fall.
Griest and Burvikos agree that retailers must show color on their floors and that the right fabrics are the first step to designing must-have upholstery pieces.
"You have to let the fabric take you places," Griest said. "We're very rooted in certain categories, but I don't go into fabric showrooms with blinders on. I ride the wave and allow the fabric to tell the story."
"Retailers have played it safe for so long, and that's understandable given the economy, but now everyone is ready for fresh colors," Burvikos said. "Retailers are starting to understand that if they put something in the front window that makes people stop and go in, even if they don't sell that piece, they can sell from it.
"If you show a neutral sofa, add color or a print on the pillows and one chair," she added. "Put a solid on the outside and maybe a floral on the inside of a piece. People want to feel good at home, and the right fabric can be the start of a piece that makes that happen."
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