Sunny Designs, Colors Hit Summer Shows

By Andrea Lillo

Regardless of how the weather is doing, the color forecast in the rug category remains bright, as manufacturers brought a rainbow of hues to the Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July and the Las Vegas Market in August.

The boldness didn't stop at color, though. Strong designs such as ikats and ethnic looks and big, chunky textures also continued to gain ground. More companies also expanded their flatweave offerings and/or non-rug categories such as decorative pillows. And companies that produce product domestically emphasized that aspect, as they say it is important to both retailers and consumers.

But color was crucial. Momeni found success with its new Vintage line, which consists of 13 overdyed, patchwork designs in plenty of colorways. Nourison launched a new shag called Stylebright that comes in five colorways. And LR Resources brought in an array of hues in such categories as rugs, throws and pillows. One polyacrylic group debuted bright colors for the first time, Lynne Meredith Williams, designer, LR Resources, said.  "People were asking for it," she said.

Several companies took successful, existing collections and added bright colorways to the range. "People are really responding to that," said Liora Manne, designer, Lamontage and Trans-Ocean. "We've added more colors than ever before," and that included such collections as Ravella, Spello and Corsica.

At Feizy, "blue is the strongest color going forward," said Mitzi Thomasson, vice president of design and product development, adding that "red is number one in many collections, you can put so many colors with it," like black, brown and beige. It added three new colors--rust, plum and beige--in the Marlowe collection of loom knotted art silk pieces, while its popular Indochine group added green, black, cranberry, dark blue, elderberry, teal, blue, gray and purple.

And a company with a long history of color--Company C--showed such new introductions as Landscape, a modern interpretation of a colorful New England autumn landscape that was based off of an oil painting. It comes in two colorways, one warm palette and one cool.

"Company C is about color, so for us it is never out of trend," said Christine Chapin, co-founder, said. "We live it and breath it every day."

Harounian Rugs Intl. unveiled several new collections, including one at a new, lower price point. "We're a traditional company but we've introduced some more modern looks," said Bob Ball, sales rep. Mesh, for example, is a burlap stamped-look group in five designs. In addition, the company introduced its first polypropylene line, called Pozitano. "It targets a younger buyer," he said, someone who is not ready to invest in a handknotted rug yet.

Surya's new Happy Cottage rug group, part of its Country Living license, adds fun flatweave designs to the floor. "We're excited about the colors and the simplicity of the designs," said Al Mortensen, vice president of merchandising and product development. "It speaks to the Country Living consumer."

Flatweaves overall are hot, Mortensen added, "Everyone wants flatweaves. Before, they wouldn't touch them." But now, "designers' influence has floated down to the mainstream." Surya's Smithsonian collection also added flatweaves based on textiles and quilt designs from archives.

Flatweaves were among the introductions at Linon Home Products in a collection called Geo, which were two-color designs handwoven of wool in India. The company also unveiled a group of machine-woven cotton rugs, printed with travel-themed designs, such as postcard stamps and the Roman Colosseum.

Besides showing its new Waverly and Anna Redmond collections, Rizzy also added one-of-a-kind items made out of recycled fabric called Kantwa. With one size in pillows and another in throws, it received a positive reaction at market.

Masland Carpets launched its Infinity custom wool rug program, which has 160 colors and 65 standard patterns, though the customer can bring in her own design as well. And the rug can be constructed of loop or cut pile or a combination, and is made in the U.S. in Tennessee. "The designer or retailer gets any option they want," said Dan Phelan, vice president, residential marketing. Rugs take six to eight weeks from the beginning to delivery, and retail at about $25 per square foot. "Consumers are more sophisticated and she knows what she wants; this gives consumers ultimate control," Phelan said.

Ikat designs continue to thrive, and were seen everywhere, including Jaipur's Barcelona collection, Surya's Matmi collection and Safavieh's Indian Sojourn collection with designer David Easton.

Kaleen's new collections included Astronomy, which include simple, transitional designs named after astronomers and space terms. Another new group was called Bimini, an indoor/outdoor braid made of polypropylene. The braid's core is also polypropylene, said Joe Barkley, executive vice president.

Handknotted introductions included the new Kabul collection from Ebisons Harounian Imports. While it has Peshawar styling, it is made in China, allowing for such colors as paprika and cinnamon, said Michael Harounian, principal. Amer introduced Ottoman, an 8/8 handknotted group of six designs made of raw, handspun wool.

HFN Staff | News & Commentary

HFN provides detailed information on the key home classifications: Housewares, Tabletop, Floor Covering & Rugs, Furniture, Home Textiles, Lighting, Home Decor, Mattresses & Bedding, Gifts, Major Appliances and Consumer Electronics as well as Business, Finance and Retail.


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