Coming your way: trends from High PointGiven the huge size...

ON THE HOME FRONT

May 15, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Staff Writer

Coming your way: trends from High Point

Given the huge size of the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N. C. (some 2,100 manufacturers are represented), it's amazing that any trends emerge from the twice-yearly event. But certain styles, motifs, colors and fabrics seemed to turn up over and over again. Here are some of the things you'll be seeing when dealers bring the spring market's offerings to local retail outlets this fall.

White out

Some of the most striking upholstered pieces at the market were covered in white-on-white tonals, with lots of texture. The newest "whites" were warm: custard, butter (really a soft cream) and straw. These could look opulent in a rich brocade or casually homey in cotton duck.

Light looked right in wood finishes, too, with ash being used in several major collections like Dakota Jackson's New Rhythms for

the Lane Co. While neutrals continued to be important, there was plenty of color. Greens were everywhere, but greens with names like lichen, mint, leaf and forest.

Once again nature dominated the color palette: from muted earth tones to rich, spicy shades of brown, red and gold.

Look for environmental motifs again in the fall, but the emphasis will be on leaf prints rather than florals. Other botanicals looked very new, like a stunning mushroom print from Pearson, a division of Lane.

Classically correct

There was a continued interest in neo-classical designs and motifs -- whether a Roman bust painted on the fabric back of a chair or a coffee table with a deeply fluted column base. LaBarge introduced reproductions of neo-classical chandeliers for its Tribute collection. Century used classical motifs like urns on its newest fabrics. Casual prints, plaids and stripes turned up on even the most formal frames. But at the same time, tapestries were everywhere. On throw pillows, they could add a note of formality to a casually slipcovered sofa -- more of the mixing and matching that dominated the spring market.

It's art for art's sake

Look for hand-painting to give mass-market furniture a custom-made feel. Bernhardt expanded its highly successful line hand-painted upholstery, and Lexington's Art Cetera collection offered seven new dressers with floral and animal themes. Consumers are demanding more for their money, and at this market that often translated into attention to details. It might mean a stylized carved wheat motif on a Voysey-inspired cabinet from Milling Road, or Century's gentleman's chest with a hidden jewelry drawer and a cedar sweater drawer -- or details like elaboratedly crafted door pulls in just about every line.

Tribal heritage

While they aren't new, ethnic influences had a strong presence in this market because of Masco's partnership with CARE, the international humanitarian organization. (Masco is the world's largest home furnishings company, including Drexel, Lexington, Henredon and others.) Masco designers created lines for each division that reflected the heritage and used the materials of such countries as Egypt, Peru, Kenya and Cameroon. A percentage of furniture sales will go to the CARE countries that inspired their designs.

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