One of the nicer hats I get to wear is as a freelance designer, and I work regularly with Crate and Barrel. Generally I meet with my person there twice a year, and she is incredibly creative. I show her ideas, and she takes what she thinks will work off for sampling. Her input results in really beautiful and imaginative ways to make those designs into some kind of textile. We work on primarily pillows, throws, and rugs.
The drawback (for me!) is that she does not have the final word on what goes into the line each season. A group of creatives from all of the various departments must meet up and select from among the samples. They choose things which will work well together in the stores, and later in homes. This means my person and I might absolutely adore my pillow, say, but it still won’t go in the line if it can’t be reconciled with someone else’s sofa.
A lot of expert research and thought goes into preparing for this, and a trend report is issued to vendors like myself to get us started along their path in the right direction.
I am currently preparing my portfolio for fall/winter 2019 (and here it is, the first day of spring 2018!). But the company is working against ever tighter deadlines. I have not yet received my trend report, and I will be up in their offices a week from tomorrow presenting my portfolio full of design printouts and woven samples for FW 2019. So yep, I am working int the dark!
Much as I love designing textiles, right at this moment I feel at a creative standstill. So I am telling you about it all rather than banging my head against the wall. I am waiting for their Oracle to speak any moment now. Thanks for listening!
Below, find a throw in the current line at C&B, and my samples which inspired it.
Hi — I subscribe to Vogue on line (free) and also pay attention to the “colors of the year” — especially Pantone, and the annual colors of my favorite paint stores. Pottery Barn has a group of colors from Sherwin Williams that vary with each season. I find these palettes interesting but less inspiring than just one color. After 50 years of observing design trends it still seems to me that fashion is the inspiration for interiors. However, the main trend I see in interiors is just mixing styles from the last two hundred years with a “safe” color palette — maybe two colors, or a “Y” on the color wheel — not three (peace sign). I suppose we have seen that in fashion, too. Trying to find the perfect jeans, or the perfect black pants; the perfect white tee,, and the perfect dressy top or scarf. So your blue/denim throw for C&B is interesting, especially with gold. Kohler gold. So what I have been planning for my fall wardrobe is a mix of old and new — a few well chosen new pieces in blue (navy/cobalt) and black/gray — with lighter contrasts — and colorful accents. My favorite blue/black/cream woven sweater is as comforting now as it was three years ago when new. Very detailed scarves, one new, and others I have not worn for years. Skipping the plaids, and focused on some organic and geometric florals, and a new black sheer with gold accents in geometric patterns for evening. For the basics, I seem to find lots of options among a wide range of ready-to-wear in all price ranges. OKAY, it’s spring, and there are still lots of flowery prints to scroll through, but I think for our interiors we want/ still need soothing repetitive woven patterns, and familiar colors, and shapes. But not too dark. Happy, not dark. I love pillows and throws, but I would choose them now in lighter colors. My last three pillow purchases were gold, but for a carpet I am looking for something vanilla or light gray (we have a dog). It’s interesting to look at color trends for outerwear and leather furniture — these are choices we make for longer term ownership. Shoes, too, could fit in that category. So I see a few colors like teal, orange, but mostly metallic neutrals — in addition to black, navy, is a dark gray on the blue side. Like your throw. And where there are colors, there are fewer neon colors and more softer tones. Above all, I think we want complexity — something to focus the eye away from what else is going on in the world, but also because it reminds us of something pleasant from our past. I found the single leaf pillows interesting with the other elements, but not alone. I think they worked because of the pleasing shape, their simplicity, and familiarity with shapes from the fifties. And the contrast of light against dark — like your favorite jeans and favorite white tee shirt. I also noted that some of the C&B designs in the store now are like ones I purchased five years ago — both in color and design. But balance that with the bright yellow suits for spring? Does that mean more bright yellow inside? Note that the bright yellow was new and different, almost shocking, but it was just one color. Not two. And something that would be easy to add to a wardrobe in just one scarf or just one top. Inexpensive. For the holiday I would like to see something new that would go with something old — mixed metals? — maybe a pillow with ornaments from the 50’s in warm and cool metallics including rose gold. Maybe tear drop or round ornaments. Shapes that are alike and different like the soldiers but on a fabric that is soft and creamy and a bit luxurious. Those pretty greens (towards blue and towards yellow) and reds (towards rust brown and towards red/orange). Anything that reminds us of the outside while we are inside; climate change and unpredictable weather keeps us on edge and cancelling plans to be outdoors when we choose — or maybe it’s just because it will snow 8 inches tonight, and my daffodils may freeze (bright yellow — I planted dozens in January). So, I am on trend and did not know it — I wanted lots and lots of bright yellow in my yard this spring. But I also want to wear my sweater, too. In black, navy and cream. Think stained glass, quilt patterns, familiar shapes and colors. Le Creuset pots and pans.
Apart from this, I am trying to focus on the gender neutral palette for young children. Think I will go with Kate Spade New York. White, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink. And a little black. Opposite of what I just wrote above. But maybe not — these shapes and colors are a little retro — simple, recognizable colors and patterns.
you are one with the universe and your rivers flow with the tides. Your inspiration will come and your creative spirit will dance as we will in the vernal equinox. The dark weaving with gold threads is exquisite.