Monday, February 13th, 2017
What a difference a market—or six months—makes. It’s as though a shade came down over the gift show—called NYNow—my overall impression of exhibited products was such a dramatic gear shift last week from last August.
I’d characterize what I just saw as visually quiet, matte in texture, mostly natural colors—lots of gray–and booths filled with linen, cotton, wood, ceramics, straw or products made to imitate them. Patterns were tribal-inspired. The few vibrant colors, flamboyant patterns and sparkles jarred.
Last week we were at the farm; last summer we prepared for an elegant party.
When I wrote about my last visit in “Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday,” I was taken by the abundance of shiny things–highly polished stainless steel, aluminum, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware.
The reason for the shift could be timing. In August exhibitors/manufacturers are thinking of winter and holiday decor while a winter market dresses stores with summer goods. But glorious hot days can also call for all things sunny, crisp, clean and bright—they weren’t.
As always I warn that my impressions are made from largely visiting the Home section which represents relatively few exhibitors vs the whole, though I cover the same area year after year.
A few examples.
Fog Linen Work’s aprons, table linens and clothing, designed by Yumiko Sekine from Lithuanian linen, epitomize the simple, natural style I described above as do Witloft saddle leather aprons from Amsterdam [Photo above] and pieces of Farmhouse Pottery from Vermont [Photo right].
One company, Couleur Nature Paris, true to its name, offered more than earth colors. It looks to the garden for inspiration but there was nothing glossy about its tea towels, tablecloths, market baskets and glassware.
I’ve previously written about washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper totes and sacks. This market there were several in this category. The ones that caught my eye were by Bsimple Creations [Photo below, center]. An Italian brand, Essent’ial, featured paper slipcovers, an introduction for ecoitalystore.com.
I was charmed by the handmade sailing ship kites in the Hapticlab booth [Photo left]. They were made, according to the website, “in collaboration with Balinese artisans exclusively for Haptic Lab from locally-sourced bamboo and nylon.” You can also display them as a mobile.
Some of Middle Kingdom’s porcelain vases at the show appeared to be a departure from the spring colors on their website. Oversized pieces with a tribal, ikat motif—especially the ones in a curry color—commanded the booth. Walter G’s hand block printed indigo and white textiles, cushions and napkins are designed by owners Genevieve Hewson and Lauren Emerson in Australia and made in collaboration with artisans from Rajasthan. [Photo above, left.]
Honest wood bowls, boards and accessories filled much of the Javits real estate. Peterman’s Boards and Bowls was just one.
The exhibitors hail from around the world. To what do you attribute such a change in mood to inspire this drastic shift in style or am I overdramatizing standard seasonal fashion tweaks and trends?