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Trend watch 2006

Courtney Mueller -- Casual Living, October 14, 2005

At the show, buyers were able to see what's around the corner for trends in 2006. Perhaps the most identifiable trend seen in Chicago, across all casual categories, was transitional style. From modular seating arrangements to fabric choices and tabletop designs, attendees were wowed with pieces that could easily move inside the home.

One of the most talked about items this market was Brista Soleil, a faux leather from Ultrafabrics that appeared on furniture in several Chicago showrooms, including Gloster, Laneventure, Woodard and Laurie Bell. The breathable polyuerethane fabric mimics the looks of leather with a distinctive texture.

Also in fabrics, the bold, splashy colors seen over the past two years were more subdued. The jockey red seen in showrooms last year is now shown as brick and pecan. Earth tones still rule across the nation; according to umbrella manufacturer Treasure Garden, top selling colors remain forest green, heather beige, sesame linen and antique beige acrylic. Several manufacturers said stripes are making a comeback.

To make more of an elegant and transitional statement, cords, fringe and tassels were added to pillows, cushions and umbrellas, adding a flirty and feminine touch.

Product categories like outdoor lighting and outdoor rugs, which have come to the surface in the casual industry during the past two years, continue to generate interest on showroom floors.

And forget glass tabletops — every vendor was showcasing alternative tops last month. From faux stone and travertine to tile, stained glass, granite, copper and even marble, buyers certainly have a choice.

Outdoor lighting manufacturer Olympia Lighting won a Design Excellence Award for its Shade-A'Lier design, and Fanimation came to the show not only with its ceiling fans, but also to test the waters with a brand new outdoor lighting line. Interior lighting and furniture manufacturer Currey & Company partnered with designer Richard Frinier to bring a high-end outdoor lighting line to the Casual Show. Its Asian-influenced collection will officially launch this month in High Point, N.C., at the International Home Furnishings Market.

Bigger is better this year for casual furnishings. Deep seating, double chaise lounges, daybeds, roomier chairs and extension tables are gaining popularity. Other trends to watch include wicker and woven products; stackable chairs and loungers; action pieces; contemporary design; firepits, and garden accessories.

 Cords, fringe and tassels, shown here on pillows from Summer Classics, were spotted ddecorating cushions, umbrellas and accents at the show.

   Outdoor rugs also were a hot item, like the DuraCord line from The HammockSource.
 Deep seating was seen in most collections that debuted at the show, including new company Black Mountain Designs.  

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