The attendees themselves cover every aspect of fabric and fabric-related industries. Some are fabric manufacturers looking for new designs to offer in their next fall or spring collections. Some are fabric jobbers looking for new lines of fabric or drapery hardware to carry. Some are retail store buyers looking for linens and bedding. Some are workrooms seeking the latest in technical equipment. Some are decorators and designers keeping up-to-date on the latest fabric designs and window treatment styles. And some, like myself, are instructors looking for interesting pieces of information to bring back to help in your business.
The overriding theme of the latest fabrics was texture. It was everywhere and in every conceivable medium. Prints weren't just prints, they were prints on highly textured fabrics. Velvets weren't just velvets, they appeared virtually three dimensional. Even hard treatments gave the appearance of texture.
Another very common trend reflected in the show was leaves. It may have been in the dead of winter in Germany, but leaves were everywhere! Not only in hard treatments, but also in many fabric prints, wallpaper and drapery hardware.
Bronces Gifer debuted a line of resin finials featuring sunflowers, roses, pansies, grapes and strawberries, all with intricate leaves as accents. These finials will perfectly match the coming trend as the popularity of roses and pansies bloom. These are the two most important flowers in the next trend cycle, according to top trend watchers like Michelle Lamb of The Trend Curve.
One exciting advantage of attending the show was discovering products before they are available in the United States. A unique new collection, entitled Design Trends, will be offered by Kirsch in the spring of 1996 and debut at the World of Home Fashions Show in Indianapolis, IN. The rods and finials will be sold as separate components to afford the designer the opportunity of providing customers a truly custom look.
Not only were fantastic finials on display at the show, rods themselves also were a big hit. By far the most creative rods exhibited at the show were Decoupage Collection from Byron and Byron. They are offered in the United States by Marmelstein Wholesale, out of Philadelphia, PA. The rods can be covered with wallpaper. European buyers will be able to have the rods custom covered to match their interiors, while buyers here will select from a variety of pre-chosen wallpapers, 12 of which will be in stock and immediately available.
The prize for the most unique rod would go to Magic Rope by Hasta. Although appearing to be a simple rope, these rods and accessories have a rigid center, which can be bent into an endless variety of shapes. The collection features interest-grabbing tiebacks that coordinate with the rods or stand alone as swag holders. Like the rods, the tiebacks can be shaped as the client desires for a truly unique look. Magic Rope will be carried in the U.S. by The Claesson Co.
A fascinating new Swag Ring offered by A. Svensson and Co. will be available from several U.S. distributors. This wrought iron ring eliminates the necessity of using two rods, allowing both the drapery panel and swaged fabric to be hung from the decorative rod. Rings can be placed at the rod's end brackets and at the center of the rod to accommodate the swag.
One of the handiest new inventions encountered at the show was a locking shade pull presented by Döfix. For some time, Döfix has offered an effective system with side tracks for use on skylights and greenhouse windows. The Roman shade style of treatment would be raised and lowered with a cord system. The new shade pull allows the user to lock the shade into any desired position without the use of unsightly cords. A detachable wand which also can operate the locking pull is available for hard-to-reach applications.
Trims and Embellishments
Several artistic window treatment styles at the show used the print in the fabric to embellish the treatment and dictate the design's shape. For example, the bottom edge of a Roman shade was rounded to follow the fabric's pattern and was framed by unusual side panels created to resemble hobbled shades, the edge of a swag was cut to follow the triangular shapes in a printed fabric to create a pointed scallop, and a cornice was fabricated with both the top and bottom edges flowing around tall flowers appearing in the pattern.
The popularity of using decorative trimmings on window treatments was very obvious by the extensive array exhibited at the show. Everywhere you turned you were enlivened and titillated by lush fringes and tassels of all kinds. While tassels certainly aren't new, the detail featured on the tassels that debuted at the show was awe-inspiring. One such was shown by Houlès. British Trim-mings, Conso's European division, offered a luscious chenille fringe never before seen. Decorative trimmings and embellishments were used in every imaginable way. One presentation featured banding for sheers made out of fabric used for side panels. The band was sewn down the leading edge of the sheers, and at the bottom corner, the band was extended for several yards and pulled up over the pole.
Heimtextil designers found a new application for tasseled tiebacks. Fed through grommets and looped over poles, they actually became the tabs for a distinctive valance. The tassels themselves then became a sort of decorative fringe along the face of the valance.
Simple items like twine, shells and even tiny terra cotta pots took on a life of their own when used as decorative trimmings. Other types of embellishments included shirring tapes used to create multi-pleated clusters along the top edge of draperies or at the top and bottom of a valance. Even items not necessarily classified as trimming -- such as grommets -- became trim.
Grommets were introduced as a decorative feature at last year's show and were one of the hottest decorative trends displayed at the show this year. Grommets were used in unusual ways including at the center of box pleats to form scallops (a similar technique was used to create a valance with decorative cording fed through grommets applied to the side of pinch pleats), used solely as decorative trim down the center of shades, and applied to a stiffened accordion-folded fabric with a rod fed through the grommets placed in the center of the valance.
In another example, colorful strips of fabric were fed through grommets on a soft fabric cornice. A coordinating sheer featured the colorful strips attached with rings.
Swags were very popular again this year and were presented in all shapes and in several ways including layered over other swags. Valances were displayed in abundance. They ranged from whimsical hats to bows to novel variations of classical favorites.
Perhaps you can now understand why Heimtextil is heralded as such an important international event. The good news is we have an equally exciting, international event here in the United States! The World of Home Fashion features hundreds of domestic and international vendors to wow us with the latest innovative styles and products. It will inspire and motivate you with a refreshingly new outlook on your business.
Cheryl Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery Seminars. She is an internationally-acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional drapery workrooms. Strickland also is the author of A Practical Guide to Soft Window Coverings and the Designer's Sketch Pad, which are available through Draperies & Window Coverings magazine.