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Second Atlanta market features opulent looks, artisan handiwork.


ATLANTA -- Opulent top-of-bed collections, artisan techniques and sophisticated children's bedding were common themes among the exhibitors at the second edition of the Atlanta International Fine Linen & Home Textiles Market at AmericasMart here earlier this month.

Small but growing, the market drew an audience of mostly interior designers and boutique and gift-shop buyers, who shopped the temporary exhibitors, as well as the two floors of permanent textiles exhibitors. Overall, temporary exhibitors were happy with the traffic at the show, and were pleased with the prospect of a dedicated trade show geared specifically toward the home textiles industry.

"There is a lot more traffic this time," compared with last year's show, said Maureen Delaney, co-owner of Velvet Couture. "I think this is going to be a huge show. When people look for bedding, they'll know this will be the source."

Velvet Couture, which started out as a resource for children's bedding, is launching nine lines this spring. Two of these were on view at the textiles market, including Bordeaux, which predominantly features red and gold chenille damask, and Covington, which is based on spice colors. The product lines include bedspreads, duvets, bedskirts and decorative pillows.

Isabella Collection, a 2-year-old company, was a first-time exhibitor at the market, but had beginner's luck as winner of the 2008 Beautiful Bedding Competition sponsored by AmericasMart.

The top-of-the-bed company's tagline, "old-world elegance redefined," was evidenced by collections like Auralia, which features a palette of chocolate, gold and terra cotta in a floral medallion print with button-tufted accents; and Madison, which is a floral print in teal and butter yellow, with decorative touches like Swarovski crystal embellishments and tassels. The winning bedding collection was Giselle, made of an iridescent blue ground with a velvet chocolate leaf applique pattern and a ruffled bedskirt.

Meanwhile, Patricia Spratt for the Home, which specializes in table linens and other decorative accessories, showcased linens in indoor-outdoor fabrics, as well as hot colors and motifs like trellis prints--damask trimmed with fringe along the edges of the patterns--and shades of teal and teak.

"People go crazy for it," said Patricia Spratt, the company's owner, referring to the indoor-outdoor collection. She said that the latest incarnations of indoor-outdoor fabrics have a softer hand and a more "indoor" look, and that they soften even further with use and repeated washings. "It's replaced vinyl and has a nicer, more upscale look," she added.

Even children's bedding got the upscale treatment at the market--lines by Doodlefish were decidedly sophisticated. "We're not doing children's fabrics, but fabrics that are appropriate for children," said Christine Senkiewicz, Doodlefish's owner and designer. One of the hottest collections was Amor, a black and white medallion pattern complemented with pink pinstriped trim. Another collection, Sweet Dreams, featured a crewel leaf pattern in chocolate brown with pink trim. Ballerina Butterfly combined pink with edgier colors, like orange and lime green, in coordinating patterns of stripes and polka dots.

At the other end of the spectrum, a number of exhibitors were showcasing products made in India and other developing countries, utilizing those origins' artisans and craftspeople.

Decorative pillows, rugs and fabrics from Judy Ross Textiles, for instance, are hand-embroidered in India using very traditional, old-world methods to execute modern designs like geometric flowers, leaf prints and other patterns. It was the company's first-ever show in Atlanta.

Judy Ross, owner and designer, said that retailers and designers were particularly interested in spice colors--like reds, oranges and coral hues--as well as brightened earth tones. She said one of her newest lines incorporated metallic threads like gold and silver with navy, a color story that takes its cues from the world of ready-to-wear.

India was also the source of hand-blocked textiles from Kerry Cassill and Mahogany. Kerry Cassill manufactures a different print group each month, which is fashioned into quilts, pillowcases, table linens and even apparel. Mahogany works with 100 percent cotton prints and jacquards, which are made in India with block printing and hand-looming techniques. The company markets table and bed linens.

Ranjan Sethi, president of Mahogany, said she's seen retail interest in brown and blue color combinations, and her company recently added a similar brown and green color scheme for an alternate choice. She's also seen interest in preppy plaids and black-and-white patterns. Finally, the company has recently introduced a line of pillows heavily embellished with such real gemstones as turquoise, garnets, peridots and agate.

Like Judy Ross Textiles, it was Mahogany's first time exhibiting in Atlanta, or anywhere in the South. "We've been fairly busy at this show," Sethi said. "We'll be back next year."
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Title Annotation:textiles
Author:Harlan, Jessica Goldbogen
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Apr 7, 2008
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