Heath E. Combs -- Casual Living, August 6, 2012
Nicole C Crews
Perhaps it was a mirage, but the vast desert of beige that you normally have to navigate at shows was pocked by oasis after oasis of color. Conservative and muted colorways drift ed away like sand and made way for bold hues and exciting new fabrics. Mixed patterns (can you say fl orals juxtaposed with graphics at Gensun Casual?), transfigured patterning (think Liora Manné at Lloyd Flanders) and artisanal pieces (like the beaded, patchwork pillows at Suncoast) replaced the staid solids of markets gone by. Many companies invested in new fabric programs that offer dealers multiple options (OW Lee's new fabric book, put together in conjunction with Sunbrella, is a case study in how to blend best-sellers with an array of new looks).
Furniture frames got in on the action with a decided move toward modern (Homecrest Outdoor Living embraced the retro version with paeans to Mid-Century and POLaRT went ballistic with modern interpretations of the classics). Whether trending toward industrial chic (check out Lane Venture's cool new dining and accent tables) going for sleek (Telescope Casual introduced several minimalist chrome looks that will catch the eye of Millennial and Gen Xers) or going whole hog (Lloyd Flanders introduced 12 - yes 12 - contemporary collections including the ambitious Loft program) - modern looks have crossed the pond and made themselves at home in the North American outdoor market.
| ||Steve Lowsky, president of Pride Family Brands, yukking it up during a video outtake with Casual Living Executive Editor Nicole Crews at the Preview Show in Chicago. Lowsky hired Outdoor Interiors designer Marcia Blake to create a new fabric program for the company this season. Pride’s furniture fashion launch for fall is still under wraps but coming to a Casual Market near you in September.|
Cushioning continues to move toward a more tailored (Pride Family Brands is the Savile Row of tailoring in my mind), indoor look and with the exception of overtly modern pieces, plushness abounds (Gensun Casual's new deep seating is almost decadent in its thickness). Shade continues to grow (Treasure Garden's rooftop Galaxy is a 16.5-ft. octagon that shades up to 212 square feet) and firepits abound (Tropitone introduced its first collection of them at Preview).
Whew! And that's just a handful of the players that made this last round of markets memorable. I look forward to sharing more with you come September!
Tiny Girl, Big Dream