Special Events
SHAPES SHIFTING

SHAPES SHIFTING

IN event decor, staying on top of trends is simply part of the business. Read on to discover what shapes, colors and styles are hip this season and seasons to come.

FAB FABRICS

Cara Albero, sales manager of Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Cloth Connection, describes her specialty linen company as “high-end couture mixed with the ever-changing colors of Mother Nature.” According to Albero, Cloth Connection typically takes “the ‘in’ color of the season on the fashion runway for our solid line; then to add depth and texture, we drape an overlay, some with lavish patterns and others with a hint of sparkle.” She says fabric preferences change with the seasons: “In the fall, crinkled taffetas and crushed shimmers complement the trees,” while heavy velvets and lamés headline the winter, and vine organdies, sheers and laces set the tone for spring. Albero favors her company's crushed linen line, which has “a multitonal look to it, reflecting gold and silver pigments” and especially likes the orange-gold crushed shimmer linen, which creates both “a great prismatic effect” and “a very soft and airy quality.”

Executive vice president Mike Kramer of Paterson, N.J.-based Tablecloth Co. calls the current attitude toward linen “extreme makeover time for table coverings.” He agrees with Albero on the popularity of fancy linen. “There is a strong uptrend in opulent ornamentation that is shiny, glittery and metallic,” he says. “Savvy partygoers expect to dine on linens that catch the light and reflect it back with dazzling effect. Look for surface embellishments like embroidery, iridescence, furbelows and high-luster finishes.” Kramer notes designers don't stop at mixing fabrics for chairs anymore; now they do what he calls “chair-cover styling.” This shows up in Tablecloth Co.'s shirred Kaneback chair cover, which he says has “ruffles everywhere, suggesting both elegant refinement and lighthearted fun.”

But fabrics can be high-tech and hardworking too. According to account executive Deborah Sperry of New York-based Rose Brand, digital imaging and printing on fabric “creates instant environments, corporate branding and personal messages.”

LINEN GOES GREEN

Linen is also going green — not in color but in environmental consciousness. “Sustainability is a major trend in design worldwide,” Sperry says. “In the past many of the fabrics that were used in the event industry were considered a one-use item. Now we are seeing these fabrics reused, helping the bottom line for many production companies as well as the environment.” She adds that the sustainability trend has moved beyond fabrics to other aspects of events: “Bamboo is being seen in many items as it is a renewable source and can be recycled in a cradle-to-cradle philosophy.”

Owner and CEO Debbi Somers of Somers Furniture in Las Vegas, which manufactures custom furniture, says that damage prevention is a goal with her company's lounge and pool furniture, which is “‘dance-proof,’ so spike heels won't damage the upholstery.” And outdoor furniture is “made with marine leatherette to guard against heat and fading,” she notes.

Manager Oren Fox of A-1 Tablecloth Co. in South Hackensack, N.J., suggests using fabric in unusual places. He says covering jack stands and garbage cans in his company's spandex covers gives “a unique look to otherwise unpleasant items.”

SIT 'N LOUNGE

Orlando, Fla.-based Unique Option's director of sales Kristie Blunck notes furniture not only “serves a dual purpose of functional seating and decor” but also cites a new attitude toward it. “Take Starbucks,” she says. “You can order your coffee completely customized to your desired taste. This is the same with events.” Some new Unique Option products Blunck likes includes the classy, neutral-toned Van Counter stool and birch gathering table. She also favors her company's cube cocktail table with red nesting benches, which “nest completely underneath the table and can be pulled out to be used as seating.” Her predictions for what will be hot include colored glass, such as Unique Option's interchangeable bar, cafe, coffee and end tables with red, black and clear glass and different-colored bases.

Dave Flory, director of sales and marketing with Las Vegas-based Cort Event Furnishings, says bar stools and tables are particularly popular since they provide “a more informal setting that's conducive to networking.” He highlights Cort's ice chairs and bar stools, “made out of clear plastic in a diamond pattern to give the illusion of ice.” He also likes modular sofas, ottomans and banquettes because they can be configured to fit any space.

Sperry cites changeable environments as a hot trend as well. “Movable fabric walls and ceilings, projection screens that double as decor surfaces and hanging sculptural forms that double as chandeliers are some of the things that are changing the concept of space for an event,” she says.

Vice president of Inglewood, Calif.-based Chameleon Chairs, Barbara Starler says design inspiration can come from something as simple as “bringing the outdoors inside” to the more complicated undertaking of mimicking “architectural design — for example, a beautiful building can inspire the silhouette of a chair.” She is particularly a fan of her company's “Simply X chair with its sleek silhouette now available in luxe chrome.” But, she adds, “I will always appreciate the Chloe chair with its chic, luxurious style that blends fashion with comfort.” The Chloe chair is covered in fitted fabric with a shirred chair back and includes an optional skirt.

NEUTRAL ZONE

Flory predicts furniture colors will move toward neutrals and soft tones to provide “a blank canvas” for colorful accent pieces, floral and colored lighting to change the look. In addition, he says, “Blue as an accent color is strong,” and “white and chrome used together is still ‘white hot.’” He notes Cort's Tranquility sofa and chair in a very pale green pair particularly well with white and chrome.

Fox asserts, “Brown is the new black.” And Kramer agrees: “Starbucks has become an accepted fixture on the American landscape — millions of coffee-drinkers have promoted brown as their ideal color accompaniment. {So,} brown has joined black, white and ivory in the pantheon of basic colors.”

And for adding a little pop to the neutral palate, Chameleon Chairs' vice president of development Teri Rudin says, “We're seeing toppers, covers, skirts and cushions that boast shades of orange, yellow and pink — from the softest tones to the very bold.” Additional trendy colors include, according to Kramer, hot pink, hazel and mustard.

FLORAL NOTES

No tabletop is complete without that last flourish. Els Teunissen, president of Floral Productions in Des Moines, Iowa, and consultant designer for the Flower Council of Holland, sees white flowers with romantic red, pink and purple floral, such as calla lilies, roses and hippeastrum, as popular looks right now, especially when combined with unusual foliage or with ribbons tied around the flower stems. For spring she predicts, “White is the central color and soft pastels to go with it,” with an emphasis on bulb flowers such as tulips in various shapes and hyacinths in all colors. She suggests adding branches, twigs, rocks and pebbles for adding a “strong organic touch.”


RESOURCES

A-1 Tablecloth Co., 800/727-8987; Chameleon Chairs, 310/677-2500; Cloth Connection, 845/426-3500; Cort Event Furnishings, 888/CORT-YES; Floral Productions, 515/285-8331; Rose Brand, 800/223-1624, ext. 138; Somers Furniture, 702/837-1717; Tablecloth Co., 800/227-5251; Unique Option, 800/254-5280

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