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Texture triumphs: dec pillows, linens add surface appeal.

Texture was the key word in fabrics for decorative pillows and table linens at the New York Home Textiles Market.

Today's consumers, with their casual lifestyles, continue to create a demand for these tactile fabrics -- including chenille, velvet and piques -- that look fashionable, but are comfortable. Texture gives decorative pillows a soft hand, and table linens a less formal look.

Chenilles and velvets are the front runners for decorative pillows, according to buyers and suppliers. But terry cloth, the market neophyte, was the ubiquitous fabric of the week.

Tina Parker, buyer and merchandiser for Meijer, an 111-store Midwest chain based in Grand Rapids, Mich., said, "I love the sueded fabrics and the antique velvet and anything with textures. My goal is to eliminate the duplication and add some more fashion to my department."

A decorative pillow buyer for a major West Coast retailer noted, "The velvets are enjoying considerable success this fall. The customer is in love with velvet." The buyer added that purple was the hot color for spring.

Diana Beck, vice president of Freedom Furniture Designs, a full-service interior design company based in Dallas, said she liked "chenilles, some of the velvets and the new brights."

Beck also was interested in the market's newest fabric entry. "They're doing some terry cloth pillows that I think are fabulous," she said, adding she especially liked the lime green and aqua.

A buyer from a major East Coast department store said look, texture and durability were the main concerns in decorative pillow fabrics. "I liked the chenilles, tweeds and silks," the buyer said, but added the new terry cloths may not be durable. "Everybody's buying them, and they shed and get dirty very easily."

High on this buyer's list was Ex-Cell Home Fashion's Raymond Waites decorative pillows. "They come in very livable colors, yet they can go a lot of ways," the buyer said, referring to the mostly spicy brown and red colors.

Tapestry pillows are a strong novelty item for Pfaltzgraff retail stores. Nancilee Joines, a buyer for the retail division, said they sell well in the gift sections. "We concentrate on the tapestries and whimsical," she said.

Chenille was the most-placed fabric of the market for Neil Zuber, president of Portofino. "It's the hottest thing today -- regardless of the season," he said.

Terry cloth made a big splash in Decorite's new collection of Nautica decorative pillows. "It's very comfortable, almost a spa effect. It's a familiar fabric and people are comfortable putting it in their homes," said Dee Launder, product development manager.

Evalina Hill, fashion designer for Fashion Pillow, was showcasing a cotton burlap product with a soft touch. "It's the hand that's getting the customer to stop," said she said. Other hot sellers for the company were green and yellow pastels in cotton piques and the company's Persimmon group in spice tones and pastels.

In table linens, both texture and color were important. Buyers said more consumers want fabrics and colors that will work on many occasions. Pastels and brights were printed and woven into such fabrics as slub ducks and jacquards.

Claudia Medecki, a buyer for Gump's, a 20,000-square-foot San Francisco store, liked the collection of table linens at Fallani & Cohn's showroom. "We like a lot of lilacs and yellows. They just seem to work with our direction in general," she said.

Buyers from warmer clients went for more colorful table linens.

Robert St. Aubin, vice president and general merchandise manager for Liberty House, a 27-store Hawaiian department store chain based in Honolulu, outlined his needs for table linens. "I'd say bright-colored yarn-dyes. We need them year-round."

Mitchell Drimmer, of Drimmer Industries Inc., an export buying office, acted as interpreter for his clients from the El Titan mass merchandise store chain in Panama. Drimmer said his clients bought the tablecloths and place mats in Town & Country Living with floral motifs in pastel and citrus colors on polyester-cotton blends --"Stuff that's easy to wash," Drimmer said.

More casual looks in dinnerware also influenced buyers' decisions about table linens. "I'm looking for solids that are more casual as well as some patterns," said a buyer from a Midwest chain.

Gretchen Dale, executive vice president of design and marketing for Bardwil Linens, said her jacquard woven linens in pastel colors were selling. "The colors are right and this cloth can be set casual and dressy as well," she said.

At Tobin Home Fashions, woven grounds with floral prints in pink and purple pastels were prevalent. "It's a way of doing spring and Easter without putting bunnies on it," said president Donald Tobin.
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Title Annotation:products exhibited at New York Home Textiles Market; decorative
Author:King, Eileen M.
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Oct 20, 1997
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