• Alexa Boschini
  • Cinde Ingram

Old Is new again at Showtime

Sunbrella IconSunbrella Icon – Sunbrella’s new Icon collection draws inspiration from the company’s designs of the past. Shown here are bold looks based on Sunbrella awning fabrics from 1961.
High Point - Influences from the past permeated outdoor fabric offerings at the winter edition of Showtime, albeit with a decidedly modern touch. The semiannual fabric fair, held Dec. 8-11 in High Point, N.C., was awash in color, a trend that extended to its more traditional designs.
     Several of Phifer's latest collections reinterpreted classic patterns by infusing them with more contemporary colors. Intricate damasks, botanicals and paisley looks melded with shades of peacock blue, emerald green, azalea pink, vivid coral and rich purple for an updated take on traditional.
     Paisley patterns also appeared in the Island Way line, presented in a range of colors from Caribbean blue to neutrals at David Rothschild Company's showroom. Seascape, another new fabric group, captures the movement of waves in a pattern customers can turn either horizontal or vertical. "The thing we can offer are clear colors," said Jenny Gorman, senior designer. "We also are trying to offer fresh looks."
     Jane Matteson of Swarovski Elements highlighted a similar theme of the old becoming new during her trend presentation, "Opposites Attract: Fall/Winter 2014/15." One of the trends she highlighted, Urban Nomad, converges the soft natural shades of classic bohemian looks with deep, romantic variations of purple.
     "Look for equal measures of roughness and refinement," Matteson said. "We're playing with polar opposites and seeing how they respond to each other."
     A fresh twist on classic designs is the tenet of Sunbrella's new Icon collection, featuring dramatic stripes and solids in an array of bold colors inspired by the company's designs from the 1960s and '70s. "It's inspiration from Glen Raven's rich history," said Greg Voorhis, decorative fabrics design manager for Glen Raven. "They're iconic patterns from Sunbrella's past."
     Voorhis said vintage, handmade looks also continue to perform well for Sunbrella. "We're still pushing that artisanal, handmade look and it's still very strong," he said. "We say we're artistry meets industry." Artisanal, Southwest-inspired looks were prominent for several exhibitors, including Phifer and Vision Fabrics.
     Companies like Bella-Dura, Sunbrella, Phifer and Al Fresco Functional Fabrics translated menswear looks such as hounds tooth, herringbone, pinstripes and plaids to outdoor fabrics, offering another creative interpretation of classic style.
     Geometrics of all shapes and sizes also continued to show their strength, with chevron remaining as popular as ever. And an increasing demand for heavy textures and thicker weaves indicates a desire for textiles that are as pleasing to the touch as they are to the eye.
     Bella-Dura showcased a host of textured looks including its popular Pleats collection, which Executive VP Ari Gasner said received a "phenomenal" response. "There is no other dimensional outdoor/indoor fabric in the marketplace," he said. "We're really staying high on design."
     Outdura introduced five collections to address themes ranging from Avant Garden and Natural Medley to Good Vibrations, Simple Elegance and Global Harmony. "This provides an indoor, residential look with all the features of performance fabrics," Johnny Jones said as he presented the fabrics to furniture manufacturers at Showtime. The company's Ovation program has grown to 89 SKUs, he said, and its top 50 best-selling fabrics are kept in stock for quick shipment via its Express program.
     Prismatek Fabric, in partnership with Hoepke, made its debut to the U.S. market at Showtime. Prismatek President Anke Kondek said the introduction of its Active line of performance fabrics drew great interest and good inquiries from high-end manufacturers. "We don't want to play in the low end," she said. Prismatek, based in Fort Myers, Fla., has built its reputation serving the North American interior design market with high quality European fabrics for the hospitality and residential markets. Hoepke is a leading European textile company supplying upholstery fabrics to the furniture industry in Europe and Germany, where it is based.
     The June edition of Showtime saw indoor looks moving out and outdoor styles moving in, a trend that continued in December. Robert Allen partnered with Crypton to produce a line of performance fabrics geared toward furniture, top-of-bed and draperies, showcasing a bevy of bold patterns in shades from spring green to berry red that are both fashion-forward and easy to maintain.
     Softline Home Fashions, which primarily produces indoor fabrics, featured a line of draperies, pillows and poufs for outdoor use that it designed in partnership with Sunbrella. Solids and stripes in blues and reds imbue the line with a nautical feel.
     In terms of color, orange saw a resurgence in softer variations of coral and apricot. Shades of blue also held steady, from spa blue to soft cornflower to deep indigo. Vision Fabrics highlighted blue as its chosen color of the year. "The inspiration is everything happening with the economy and America wanting to bring things back home," said Roxanne Newby, market manager at Vision Fabrics. "And what's more American than a pair of blue jeans?"
     While warm neutrals like browns and taupe were prominent among indoor fabrics, many exhibitors agreed gray remains the neutral of choice for outdoor. "Gray is big," Newby said. "It's the perfect backdrop. You can put any color on there."

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