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Youthful looks in home furnishings were strong at fall markets, spawning new collections from manufacturers that had not addressed the category before and expanded lines from those that had.

At High Point's International Home Furnishings Market, a separate space in the new Showplace was devoted to the youth market, with plans to expand and add freestanding walls. During New York's Home Textiles Market, many vendors devoted large sections of their showrooms to the category. This time around, styles were growing up a bit.

Whether they were strictly juvenile or focused on teens and young adults, most incorporated sophisticated design with fun and whimsy, practicality and long-lasting appeal with a youthful flair.

Retailers shopping both venues were not disappointed in the results.

"We were able to find some things in High Point that we didn't see in Dallas. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise," said Gary Wiggs, W.S. Badcock's buyer for juvenile furniture. Wiggs said he would probably be placing orders for Picadilly Circus, a feminine, Ginger Spice collection from Pilliod; multicolored bunk beds from Powell; and a baseball theme collection from Delma Arredo, an Italian company.

Among first-timers to the category, Lady B. Goode, a lighting manufacturer in Winston-Salem, N.C., launched the Baby B. Goode line of furniture, window valances, lighting fixtures and shades at High Point. Using fabrics from Toile de Jouy to neoclassical illustrations from 1940s children's literature, the pieces were sophisticated in style but Lilliputian in scale. "I saw no reason why children's rooms should have to look like they [the children] were being raised in a cartoon," said the company's chief executive officer, Brenda Hutchins.

Furniture buyers agreed. Russell Blocker, president of Blocker's Furniture in Ocala, Fla., said he was looking for a rustic collection of juvenile bed furniture. Tom DeCorte, vice president of merchandising at Art Van Furniture, chose the new LaneKids line, designed with functionality and storage options that allow pieces to grow up with children. "Their case goods collection was great," said DeCorte.

"Palliser had a new white youth group that had space on the mirror and the headboard where the kids could put pictures," said Lance Popkin, owner of Furniture Fair in Greenville, S.C.

In rugs, designer Susan Sargent's looks won plaudits at both Einstein Moomjy and Carpet One. "I am in love with Susan Sargent's look. It can be sophisticated juvenile or contemporary country," said Sandy Bone, vice president of hard surfaces and area rugs at Carpet One. Both Bone and Pat Shaw, carpet and rug merchant for Expo Design Center, liked Capel's line as well. Braids, flatweaves such as Beach Blocks and hand-tufted styles such as Shoreline were mentioned as great for kids as well as casual living. "Capel has brought bright colors and fun to the rugs without being cutesy," said Shaw.

Cutesy was definitely out in textiles as well, with manufacturers bringing adult themes down to scale. California Kids introduced a printed Susan Sargent design, and its Zoo Bee bed, with block-shaped animals in a washed palette, would appeal to teens and young adults.

"Everywhere we went we saw teen bedding, but we thought Hollander Home Fashions did a good job," said Bobbi Stepp, buyer for juvenile bed and bath at Sears. "Lollipops and Roses and Chainstitch Floral had new colorations geared toward the older younger customer." Other best-sellers at Hollander were Todd Parr's Silly City, sports collections that included mascot pillows, and nostalgic colorways in Raggedy Ann and Andy collections.

Nostalgic designs were also leading sales at Eastern Accents and The Rug Market, which launched new juvenile collections in High Point. Western and '60s styles were popular in the fully accessorized lines, which included window treatments, rugs and decorative pillows at The Rug Market and ottomans, decorative and floor pillows, and wall hangings at Eastern Accents.

Lifestyle looks with a broad appeal were also popular with a number of buyers, who voted for bright colors and new takes on both trendy and traditional themes.

Jerry Balest, vice president and creative director of Federated Merchandising Group, especially liked Tommy Hilfiger's Lafayette Square collection. "Many adults will buy it because of the '60s influence. It's very fresh and vibrant. It really speaks to a modern aesthetic," he said.

"Fieldcrest's Provisions line was good," said Mike Rollando, bedding buyer at The Provisions line included high-tech fabrics, Hawaiian prints and sportswear details. "They [Fieldcrest] had some other lifestyle lines, but I liked Provisions the best."

Rollando also liked CHF Industries' collection, which received kudos from others. "CHF has a lock on Gen Y. They do a great job, and their collection is much better than anyone else's," he said.

Mike Serinaldi, bedding and window buyer for ShopKo's Pamida division, also praised the line, as well as Dan River's Y-er.* collection, which included ethnic prints and funky designs. Serinaldi also liked knit bedding in bright prints that sell well to both Gen X and Gen Y buyers, and improved constructions in tapestry, fleece and high-pile throws. "American Weavers [Mohawk Rug & Textiles] had a great throw collection called Wild Wings. They've turned the corner with that category," he said.

In lamps and lighting, novelty styles such as lava and water lamps were on the list for the lamp buyer for a national chain. "Novelty is still really hot," he said. Holmes Lighting updated its aqua lamp with a pyramid shape. Catalina Lighting added new colored glass, lava and spinning lamps. And Tensor Corp. updated its back-to-school offerings with metallic colors and beehive heads. Baby B. Goode's collection included table and floor lamps scaled to a child's height, as well as shades covered in fabrics that matched or complemented upholstered furniture.


Furniture for the Young at Heart is functional, multidimensional and often based on adult styles and collections.

Rugs range from whimsical, shaped designs to overall motifs that repeat patterns in bedding and decorative accessories.

Textiles incorporate apparel fabrics and details, often in retro, ethnic and sports-related designs. Nostalgic prints and colorways are popular.

Lighting takes a novel approach, with funky shapes, shades and interactive details, such as bubbles, water and lava.
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Author:Musselman, Faye
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Nov 6, 2000

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