I’m leery about buying new edition books, those that promise fresh material under the guise of a new cover and a fresh introduction, a font change and an updated author photo and bio. Indeed, how can I warrant spending money on something I already (presumably) have? It’s a valid concern, one that especially has hit the college textbook market, where only the newest edition of any said book is allowable class material, whether or not the data have truly changed.
So . . . how many people own “The Encyclopedia of Window Fashions”?
Well, according to author Charles “Pete” Randall, more
than a million do. That’s how many copies his seminal book
has sold since 1987. With one million copies circulating throughout
the world, is this newest edition worth a 30-buck gamble? You bet
it is—and that’s because Randall knows his stuff. And
you should know it, too.
SO WHAT’S NEW?
With the introduction of the Internet, industry education and the
practice of business have changed at an unparalleled pace. While
many of the basic concepts of design, marketing and audience identification
endure, their application is heavily influenced by changing business
models, trends and economics. According to Randall, that’s
precisely why he feels it’s necessary to revise and re-present.
“I update The Encyclopedia of Window Fashions about every five
to seven years,” says Randall, “because new styles are
continuously being developed.” Randall cites Luminette Privacy
Sheers® by Hunter Douglas as a pivotal new style, for example,
as well as the changing combinations of swags and cascades he sees
in his travels. “I always bring my digital camera when I travel,
especially to Heimtextil in Germany and the International Window
Coverings Expo in the United States (see page 26). I am always amazed
at the intelligent styles designers are developing.”
Since his beginnings in the soft furnishings industry in 1976, Randall
established himself as a leading authority on window treatments,
and has decorated more than 60,000 southern California windows.
I guess we’re saying he’s no flash in the pan—right?
So, what’s new with edition five of The Encyclopedia of Window
Fashions? Well, for starters, the page count has increased dramatically
due to the large number of new illustrations Randall commissioned,
from 146 pages to 226. The section on Draperies, for instance, once
harboring approximately 70 styles, now offers more than 100. Cornices,
another area that increased dramatically, submits more than 30 additional
styles. The Valance section, too, has ballooned to over 100 styles
as well, up from 80.
These inspiring designs are well worth the price of the book. But,
of course, that’s not all the author has up his sleeve. Randall
also added a nifty new timeline on Historical Windows, documenting
the overlapping styles throughout the ages. He also has combined
chapters and increased the size of both his Glossary of Decorating
Terms and Glossary of Fabric Terms, among other things.
“Window decorating is very much like fine art; a window is
the canvas,” says Randall. “If the view is spectacular,
not much is needed except energy and UV requirements—don’t
overdress just for the sake of dressing! However, if the view is
plain or even horrible—then window treatments cover a multitude
of sins.” It’s his philosophy of the “art” of
window decorating that makes this book so intriguing. Love a style
or hate it—if you are trying to convey a proper application
to a potential customer, The Encyclopedia of Window Fashions is
the first book you should turn to.
Blending current, popular styles with extraordinary new approaches,
the fifth edition of The Encyclopedia is a must-have for designers,
from beginner to expert. With more full-color illustrations than
ever before, this book presents myriad window treatments for any
room in any home from the most simple to the most challenging. Throughout
its more than 200 pages, which include detailed sketches, cost-saving
ideas, yardage and fullness charts and the sketchfile method, you
will quickly see why this book has become the industry standard
for window décor inspiration.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis,
MN. She has more than eight years' experience covering trends, window
treatments and interior fashions, and is a former editor-in-chief
of Window Fashions magazine. Stoehr can be contacted for comments,
queries and trend information at kstoehr@chemistrycreative.