Every characteristic of water-its color, movement, coolness, shimmer, wetness and depth-can be seen throughout all areas of window coverings and room fashions.
Nearly half of all the 1998-99 color trends as seen at Heimtextil this year are expressed as either watery blues or are colors infused with marine tones. The blues range from the bright bluish-green aqua of the Caribbean to the deep greenish-blues of the Mediterranean and the penetrating royal blue of the Pacific. Their intensities run, like the waters themselves, from very light and shallow to very dark and deep.
Even the hot, red colors of the palette feel the effects of water as they are categorized into groups using the names of locations that are greatly inspired by their surrounding oceans such as Morocco, (the Atlantic) and Scandinavia (the North Sea). Although one true red and an orange survive, the rest of the reds have been blended with various blues to create a wide variety of outstanding purples, purplish-pinks and purplish-burgundies.
With all the intermingling of wet colors, both hot and cool, it's no wonder the accent colors chosen to be used with them are none of the above. Instead, they are black, white and gray. They are used with the blues and reds either individually or combined, such as accenting blues with both white and gray.
Many fabrics today look and feel watery through the creative use of texture or color. But several manufacturers are creating fabrics that simulate water using a variety of methods. One ingenious and attention-getting way to bring life to fabric through the illusion of fluid motion is by combining a shimmery finish with the swirling effects of several intermingled marine-hued colors. Moires still are very popular with their water-marked look, and because sheers are the hottest fabric today they certainly have not been left out of this trend either. Sheers are being offered in a wide variety of water-based colors with shimmery water-like textiles.
The water influence in prints is very obvious. Many print designs look like swirling water, waves or sand. Many also include realistic and surrealistic renderings of fish, coral reefs, shells, ropes, boats and tropical themes.
Hardware, Trimming and Accessories
Decorative hardware has been equally influenced by water. Some painted wood finishes feature a scoured and weathered appearance as if they had been adrift and finally cast onto the beach. The finishes on several new metal rods have deep blue hues. Some rods have a distinctly nautical theme, being made of natural- or navy-colored rope or have rope-covered finials. Finials are available in many water-related themes including fish, shells, sea horses, mermaids, boats and wave-like shapes.
We've also seen water and nautical themes being integrated into decorative trimming designs. Some woven trims are available in sea shell, starfish or water designs. The increasingly popular use of brass grommets as a trim on window coverings fits perfectly into the nautical theme as well. Drapery jewelry is being offered in all types of water-influenced shapes including starfish, shells and boats. Even tassel tie backs are getting into the swim of things by having seashells woven right into them.
There's a tidal wave of watery influences upon us. I suggest you jump in the boat and go with the flow, or you'll find yourself all wet.
Cheryl Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC, and 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.