It's hard to keep track, and as many clients you have who are still into the country goose motif (that never seems to ever go away!), that is how many clients you will have who want the cutting edge of interior design. But which cutting edge? There are so many! And, which ones are you not aware of? Reading Nest, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest—it just isn't enough, is it? So then, you decide, it's time to schedule a fact-finding, trend-digging mission to Heimtextil, or the latest window coverings show, or to High Point even. But can you afford to continue to visit these shows with the frequency you need to be on top of everything? Probably not.
The truth is, sometimes you can get the skinny from say, Heimtextil, and have a six month head start on its emergence in the United States; other times, you don't know what's-the-what until the movie hits. Trends happen. Advance notice is optional.
So I'm here to help.
When a trend happens, I'll keep in touch. It might be something new I've uncovered; something brewing and gathering speed; or even a report on the state of a particular category. I'll let you know whether it will have a lengthy arc, or whether it's going to take a long walk off a short pier.
And so, let's talk about silver, a color I've definitely bought into, a color that surfaced about five years ago along with the emergence of extreme sports.
It was the color of the millennium (which, depending upon your world view, was either a half year ago or 18 months ago), so silver received an instant boost of cachet when the century turned. From the stroke of 2000, then, it jumped to personal appliances such as cell phones and computers, and yes, (with a vengeance) cars. Is this color on the decline just because I (for one) own so darn many silver, techy toys? Well, possibly. Once everyone has it, it's time to move on. Additionally, Dupont Automotive recently named silver the most popular car color in America today. Eek—finish line flags are starting to wave, I fear. Silver is at the top of its game and the only place to go is, well . . . down.
While people are still drooling over silver today, a year from now they're going to wish they had waited to buy into the new silver—which could be "oxygen," according to the Color Marketing Group (CMG), an association of 1,600 color designers. Oxygen is a tone they say that will resonate with environmentalists and modernists alike. It is described as "blue sky as seen through glass block. A breath of fresh air representing a silver influence on aquatic blues."
Says Jill Moran of the Color Marketing Group, CMG members have predicted a growing influence of blue on the Forecast for Consumer Products, 2002. "Blue will be particularly fresh when used in combination with green and will continue to be an important influence on other colors in the Forecast," she says.
So where are we seeing this blue beginning to emerge? For one, in movies, as you may have suspected. Trailers for "A.I.," the new Steven Spielberg movie, reveal this bluish tone, coupled with gloss black and metallic silver. There is a trendiness, an elegance to it, much in the same way silver has resounded. It's not weighty or conservative, but light, fresh, modern and sleek.
In jewelry, Lee Angel is showing a variety of bracelet/cuffs in silver with a square inlay of blue. Very simple, elegant and modern. You can find examples of these pieces on the www.style.com Web site.
Finally, a good place to look for any new or emerging color or trend is in fashion accessories, as more consumers are willing to give new colors a try in smaller and less dramatic ways. Next time you're in your favorite upscale department store, cruise the scarves and bracelets, check out handbags from Kate Spade, and examine strappy sandals from Prada. You'll find this new blue beginning to emerge. Another hint: cruise the clearance items as well. The untouched items, discounted again and again, will tell you what colors and styles are definitely on the outs, or may very well tell you what is on its way in and was just a little ahead of its time. But that's what tracking trends is all about.
So, in regard to silver, it isn't on clearance yet, but you can expect it will be by this time next year. I wonder if I should have my car repainted.
Until next time, keep your eyes open and let me know what's happening trend-wise in your area of the universe, if you have the time. I'll be glad to credit you as my next trend source!
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN. She has more than six years' experience covering window treatments and interior fashions as the former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine. Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.