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THE PICTURE FOR SPRING; FRAMES FEATURING GARDENS AND JEWELS, ALONG WITH VINTAGE LOOKS, ARE POPULAR CHOICES FOR THE SEASON.

NEW YORK-Photo frame retailers and suppliers are gearing up for another season chock-full of choices in fashion.

New trends abound. However, some repeat performers, such as key items in a collection format, garden and jewels, will give a command performance next season with a fresh outlook.

The casual feel continues to march its way into fashion frames for next season, with cleaner lines, a fresh white coat, pretty renderings and a focus on natural wood finishes. Vintage is also back, bringing gold with it, but this time with more subdued renderings and moldings.

A renewed focus goes to the wall, with new twists on collages and alternative photo display items such as ledges.

"Retailers still look to items, to the new and innovative," said Chris Lancey, marketing director for Lawrence Frames. "Frames in the last five years are either a great decorative piece that goes with a consumer's decor or an item piece."

A continuation of key items is a trend, said Cathy Leung, buyer of frames and stationery for J.C. Penney. "More and more vendors are developing key items also with collection frames as those items result in more volume.

"Gold as a finish or color is coming back," Leung said. "And updated vintage is a trend."

Frames with a vintage feel are one focus of the Burnes of Boston Group, said Heidi Heifetz, fashion and design director. Designs have an iridescent sheen, metallic accents or other shimmering embellishments.

Tradition plays a part in new offerings from Umbra, but with an updated twist, said Paul Rowan, the firm's president. "We're looking at a lot of veneers with wood, lacquered frames, leather with a luxury feel and new metals with a lot of texture."

Fashion frames feature cleaner lines for spring, following in furniture's footsteps.

"This is the home decorating story seen in family rooms all across the country: clean, simple and straightforward," said Heifetz. "Woods run the gamut from light natural to medium darks like walnut and maple. Motifs are clean and somewhat contemporary."

Color is also a major influence. "Spring colors are usually lighter, brighter and more saturated than in fall," she added. "But this spring there is a new confidence in combining hues." Whites and brights come on strong -- as do pink, lavender, turquoise and pale yellows.

Mike Wluka, vice president of sales for Malden International, sums up a key trend in his product assortment for spring in one word: "pretty."

"The collection we're introducing should last for years, but more important in retail a minimum of 18 months," he said. "There's a lot of pewter, jewels, mirrors and roses -- all the things that are traditional. When times are tough, people are not looking for funky orange."

"I think the jewel trend will continue to be strong into spring, as will the romantic garden/shabby chic trend," said Martha Carrasco, buyer of frames for Macy's West. "There's also a huge trend toward white and floral in woods."

Gary Lewandowski, senior buyer of frames and stationery for Kohl's, agreed. "Whites are becoming more important in woods," he said.

Melannco has added more white to its spring lineup, said Liz Robertson, product manager. "And garden is still out there in a big way," she said. "We've just added a new twist to it with a trellis theme."

Theme collections are a focus for all this spring.

"We take our fashion into different theme categories because the customer is looking at a total frame story," said Keith Skipton, creative director of Sixtrees. "We've revamped our wood line to look more architectural. The pewter line has also been revamped. In the past, there's been more cutout, intricate shapes. New frames are less fussy yet still have a theme, and are subtle."

Randy Faltesek, vice president of marketing for Intercraft, has tapped two new theme collections for spring: Past Times and Guy's Club. "Past Times focuses on people's hobbies, while Guy's Club offerings are for his room," Fatesek said. Frames include sports and leisure activity motifs on wood with multistep finishing.

The wall has increasingly become the focus of interest for both vendors and retailers. New items include updated single and multi-opening formats, as well as alternative items such as ledges and a new twist to the memory board.

"Wall items are coming on strong," said J.C. Penney's Leung. "Large collages are selling now, and vendors are developing larger and larger collages for both table and wall presentation."

"Wall decor-type product is trending," added Lewandowski of Kohl's. "It's kind of an expansion of frames."

"Wall is one of the hottest categories in frames," said Carrasco of Macy's West. "We've been able to dedicate space to wall frames in select stores, if it's a self-contained system. It's been very successful.

"Because our locations vary so much by stores, it hadn't worked without a self-contained planogram. When planogrammed properly, walls garner higher turns and a higher price point," she said. "There's a limited amount of tabletop space in a home, but look at the amount of wall space. That's why the category is exploding."
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Comment:THE PICTURE FOR SPRING; FRAMES FEATURING GARDENS AND JEWELS, ALONG WITH VINTAGE LOOKS, ARE POPULAR CHOICES FOR THE SEASON.
Author:Kehoe, Ann-Margaret
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 7, 2002
Words:842
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