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ATLANTA-The little black dress never goes completely out of style, and the same could be said for the black rugs seen at this month's Atlanta International Area Rug Market.

Black was seen as a strong accent in contemporary rugs and in other urban-themed collections. And black fields on traditional Persians gave an old look a new feel. While it has always been a staple color, market introductions proved that black rugs are having their moment.

The market also looked rosy with a spectrum of strong reds fading to coral and subdued shades of brick to complement more muted looks. Lighter color palettes continued to brighten showrooms as well.

Another trend, the palm trees and British Colonial images of the West Indies captured by Shaw Rugs' Tommy Bahama Collection, spread to other showrooms. Also, texture was a noticeable theme and its variations endless: shag, carved, natural fibers or leather-trimmed.

But black was the overriding trend in Atlanta.

"Black is very important," said Jonathan Witt, marketing director for Sphinx, a division of Oriental Weavers. Black is a dominant color in Sphinx's Pinnacle Collection, which showcased nearly 20 new styles at the Atlanta market. Sphinx is also adding black colorways to all of its other collections, Witt said.

Sphinx's sister division, Oriental Weavers of America, is using more black in Southwest designs, as well as in traditional and geometric patterns. "We put black in almost every [style]," said Yasmine Khamis, research and development director for Oriental Weavers. "It works nicely with leather furniture and chocolate colors."

Grand Parterre, Nourison's new broadloom collection made of 100 percent New Zealand wool, included several striking patterns in black.

For the city folks, and the suburban wannabes, numerous suppliers brought out contemporary collections with black accents to give an urban feel. Several of these collections were named after Manhattan fixtures, like Loft by Karastan, Metro by Sphinx and Midtown by 828 International Trading Co.

Varying shades of red are making a strong showing as well, ranging from soft coral and terra-cotta to deep merlot. "We've been watching all of our red rugs climb," Witt said.

The Rug Market's tufted wool introductions included a red rose pattern on a white background, as well as a floral pattern in coral. "A lot of our customers are saying that corals are popular," said Tara Mills, company director of sales.

Rust and terra-cotta colorways can be found in Nourison's new Tamira collection of hand-knotted wool rugs. "The response to these vintage colorations has been very positive," said Ed Vairo, director of creative marketing for Nourison.

Harounian Rugs International's Majestic Collection featured 11 new styles, including rust and burgundy colorways. The collection is hand-knotted in India of Indian and Australian wool, and retails for $4,600 for a 9-by-12.

Red, black and other strong colors such as royal blue and dark pink were used in AMS Imports' rugs and tapestries, designed by Maximo Laura and handwoven of alpaca in Peru. The rugs are available in a heavyweight weave that retails for $4,000, as well as in a lightweight weave, which has a suggested retail price of $460 for a 4-by-6.

Pastels and ivories gave traditional and contemporary rugs a soft look. Momeni showed the Chinois collection of hand-tufted floral designs in light colorways, as well as a hand-knotted line of wool and silk rugs in white and ivory.

Light colors play an important role in Claire Murray's designs. Inspired by its Carmel, Calif., store location, Claire Murray introduced its Carmel Cottage Runner with a morning glory and dragonfly border. The importer also introduced two floral patterns to coordinate with its bedding line.

Costikyan Carpets used a light color palette in some of its new styles from the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, inspired by the architect's Japanese collection.

Trade Am's new Anthropology Collection is available in several cheery and bright colorways: sunlight, seashore, gumdrop and orchid. This is a coordinating line that includes a cotton chindi rug, a hosiery knit chindi rug, a sisal rug with a plaid border, a silk and cotton throw, a pillow and placemats. Created for the dorm-room shopper's budget, the cotton chindi retails at $15 for a 4-by-6, and the knit chindi and sisal rug retail for $40 in the same size.

Tropical motifs, such as palm trees and elephants, appeared in several showrooms. Naturally, Shaw Rugs' new Tommy Bahama Collection delivered an exotic flavor with West Indies-inspired patterns.

And Colonial Voyage from Mohawk Homes' Velvet Impression collection featured a sisal pattern field and a wide border with palm trees, British Queen stamps and postmarks, for that far-from-home feel. Velvet Impression is machine-made of polypropylene and retails from $249 to $299 for a 5-by-8.

Rug suppliers continue to focus on texture. Hellenic introduced its Shaggy Shag Leather collection. Handwoven in India, a 6-by-9 retails for $299 and is available in six colorways.

Feizy's new Moroccan Winds Collection features a thick shaggy pile, available in both wool and cotton chenille, and in 100 percent wool. The rugs are handmade in Turkey and retail at $800 for a 5-by-8.
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Author:Honores, Crystal; White, Jennifer
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jul 30, 2001

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