Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do You Have Fewer Customers ? Target New Ones

With more than 4 million babies born each year in the United States it’s no wonder that many home retailers are layering in children’s merchandise to the mix.

Who buys children’s toys and items for the nursery? Grandmothers enjoy this type of splurge buying more than anyone else. Then there are the expecting parents along with their friends all ready to celebrate a new addition to the family.

It comes as no surprise that the oldest luxury department store in Manhattan expanded their children’s department in a big and bold way.

Bergdorf Goodman is the last of the old-world luxury department stores in New York City and has been in business for more than one hundred years on the same site where the old Vanderbilt mansion once stood. Henri Bendel was never the same after being scooped up by Les Wexner and their move away from the intimate 57th Street location. Lord & Taylor is desperately trying to stay in business and strayed from its luxury roots long ago.

Bergdorf’s new Children's Department was launched this past month on the seventh floor within the expansive home furnishings area and is called LITTLE BG. It features clothing and accessories in sizes from newborn through six. The department also offers exclusive collections from Le Guignol, Le Nouveau Ne, Tartine et Chocolat, Little Marc Jacobs, Baby Dior and others.

‘Special occasion’ dressing is offered for both boys and girls, either off the rack or custom made-to-order. The department also includes a unique collection of handmade toys and gifts from around the world.

Shown here:
Gucci sneaker $195
Jay Strongwater rocking horse frame embellished with Swarovski® crystals $395


Monday, February 22, 2010

Mark Gabbertas for Gloster Furniture

Gloster furniture once known for its traditional English style teak collections has evolved over the years to be not only a leader in high quality outdoor furniture in many different materials, but they have also stepped out with many new modern and contemporary designs.

For example a new collection by Mark Gabbertas was launched for the 2010 selling season in Chicago this fall. Gabbertas says his philosophy is to create character through simplicity. He established his design studio in the 90s after training as a cabinet-maker and executed projects such as an outdoor public seating system for Tate Britain and a table collection for The Conran Shop.

This new Gloster teak collection called ‘AXIS’ includes; a deep seating group, a dining suite (shown here), and occasional tables made in graceful geometric forms one would expect to see in Dwell magazine. The collection is also offered in mahogany with a dark sable colored finish.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fall 2010: Runway Fashion Color Trends

-New York, NY

Why wait for the home furnishings or gift market to translate and predict the next round of colors in High Point this April? Fashion colors can predict out as far as two years ahead of home furnishings- so Buyers & shop owners can make choices now for the next round of Fall/Holiday purchases and be one step ahead of those who’ll wait.

The Pantone Color Institute surveys New York fashion designers each season to find the most directional colors. Here are the results for the top five that were published this week in Women's Wear Daily:

Purple Orchid Pantone 18-3027
Chocolate Truffle Pantone 19-1526
Woodbine Pantone 18-0538
Oyster Gray 14-1107
Lagoon Pantone 16-5418 ( Color of the Year )

Sedona Sage 18-5105
Chocolate Truffle 19-1526
Woodbine 18-0539
Liberty Pantone 19-3850
Oyster Gray Pantone 14-1107

Please click on images to enlarge detail.

Please consult current Pantone color system publications for accurate color matches.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Perfection in Porcelain

Porcelain is well known to have superior qualities over other types of ceramics- most noticeably its strength therefore the absence of scratches on a plate from using a knife and fork. The other qualities of some porcelain in addition to being chip resistant include; flexibility to go from the freezer to the oven to the table. Now porcelain is available at all sorts price points. Yes, even Wal-Mart offers a basic white dinnerware set. Well, about 6,000 miles away from Bentonville and light years away regarding aesthetics is the home of Nymphenburg. Today I want to highlight some of the new decorative items being offered from this premier porcelain maker.

Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg has been handcrafting fine porcelain for 260 years. Porcelain services, figures, and objects of premium quality and purity have been produced at this location since the 18th century. This is no ordinary ‘factory’ location- the palace owned by the royal family of Bavaria is a popular tourist destination complete with gardens and canals. For years, it has been a best-kept secret among those who demand only the finest porcelain available. Each piece is made by hand based on the strictly guarded formulas and processes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Porcelain was a highly desirable commodity during the baroque period. At the time, it only came from China and so, during the 18th century, attempts were undertaken in Europe to produce what was referred to as "white gold". The fragile and gentle character of this porcelain did not only meet the aesthetic of the time – it also reflected the preference for everything extravagant and playful. Which remains the case to this day as experts and collectors of Nymphenburg see its quality and refinement as unique.

Since its founding Nymphenburg has received many prizes and may be admired in some of the world's major art and design collections; MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt in New York, as well as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Nymphenburg is involved in many collaborations with contemporary designers such as Ted Muehling, Hella Jongerias, and about a dozen others. ( Image of Jongerias 'Four Seasons' tea pot 2007). With such provenance it is not surprising to see that Moss is one of the more visible retail outlets in the US. Kneen & Co. is an authorized distributor based in Chicago stocking a significant amount of SKUs.




Friday, February 5, 2010

In Memory of British Textile Designer Lucienne Day

On January 30th, 2010 designer Lucienne Day died at age 93. She was one of the foremost British textile designers of her period.

Born Désirée Lucienne Day (January 5, 1917) she was the wife of furniture designer Robin Day. The Days, considered by some to be Britain's most celebrated designer couple of the post-war era, were married from 1942. They are often compared to their American counterparts, Charles and Ray Eames.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Lucienne and her husband set up their design practice in 1948, but it wasn't until the Festival of Britain exhibition in 1951 that the true extent of their design vision was recognised. Many of Day's printed fabrics were made in long production runs, which kept the price affordable. She made the link between mass production and fine art.

She was deeply influenced by European abstract painting. Her recurring motif of organic forms and geometrics remind us of the art of Paul Klee and Joan Miró.

Image shown above is Day’s popular Calyx print & Miró’s Upside-down Figures.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New York Gift Fair Names Accent on Design Winners

Five Accent on Design exhibitors were recognized this week for design excellence, with awards for product design, overall excellence, best collection and best new designer.

The Winter 2010 Accent on Design award-winners are:

Excellence in Product Design: Areaware (New York, N.Y.) for "Shovel Birdhouse"

Excellence in Product Design: j-me® (London, England) for "Float" magazine rack

Best Collection: Pablo (San Francisco, Calif.) for ambient, hybrid and task lighting

Overall Excellence: Eastern Accent (Sudbury, Mass.)

A+ Best New Designer: Jung-woo Lee of EK DESIGN (Seoul, Korea)

The ‘Best Collection’ winner Pablo Pardo is worth reviewing in more detail. This month as SFMOMA is celebrating its 75th anniversary, the existing museum-store will soon mark ten years since the store doubled in size expanding to 6,000 ft. sq. With that was a decision to showcase furniture and lighting and Pablo was the featured lighting designer.

For this award his designs were recognized for ambient, hybrid and task lighting. The collection, which is both innovative and traditional, includes LED task lighting and energy-rated incandescent or halogen ambient lighting. The judges recognized Pablo’s high design, quality and technology in a diverse line of lighting.