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TOOLS OF THE TRADE: CHAIR FLAIR

Inspired colors and fun fabrics, combined with new accessories, make chair covers an easy and affordable way to add style to every event, experts say.

HIGH STYLE

According to Sujata Mody Kamdar, vice president of sales and marketing for Anaheim, Calif.-based GBS Linens, “It seems more and more customers want the style that chair covers add to a room.” To meet the demand, the company has expanded its line of satin chair covers from a limited palette of colors to include a number of jewel tones. “Our satin chair covers have been a total hit with our customers,” she says, adding that she is also seeing an increased demand for oversize chair covers to fit the larger chairs now in many hotel ballrooms.

Bernie Gaps, owner and president of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Spandex USA, says that his company recently designed chair covers in red and white, blue and white, and yellow and white stripes to accommodate a request from a client in Florida, who wanted covers with an upscale feel. Although his company has used stripes in the past, these color combinations were “brand-new for us, a very high-end beach club look,” Gaps says.

DRESS IT UP

For clients on a budget or just starting out, Aracelis Baez, vice president of marketing and sales for Clifton, N.J.-based Something Different Linen, recommends buying basic chair covers in neutral hues and accessorizing them with bows, sashes and tassel cords, along with the company's “Scuba” form-fitted chair covers, which include a stretch polyester band that can be used as an accent piece.

Marsha Blanke, design director for Paterson, N.J.-based Ultimate Textile, says the new “chair shawl” is designed as an accessory to go over chair covers. The shawl is part of the company's new upscale product line called Ultimate Details, which also includes chair covers and jackets. Available in a number of styles, the polyester shawl “makes a great addition to a basic chair cover,” Blanke says.

HOT HUES

When it comes to color, the cosmetics and fashion industries have influenced a move toward richer tones, says Mitchell Kelldorf, president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Sculptware. “Those earth tone colors — the browns and the olives and the burgundies — have just really taken off.” In response to this, his company has debuted a new line of matte chair covers, which he describes as a suede look “with the same stretch-to-fit characteristics of our product” in shades including martini olive, spicy Dijon and cappuccino.

At Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Cloth Connection, warm tones are also a popular option for the company's lamour satin chair covers, which are available in more than 30 shades. According to owner Barbara Davis, the event coordinator of a 1,500-guest gala recently chose the covers in chocolate, which she describes as “one of the season's most popular colors.”

As for the colors and materials that are hot right now, “It's hard to pinpoint one trend,” Baez says. “I have made chair covers of all styles, colors and fabrics. I thought that a cover made from burlap for a wedding was pretty extreme, [but] that is what makes this industry great — just when you think a style has taken over the industry, it shows you that people's imaginations are limitless.”




RESOURCES

Cloth Connection, 845/426-3500; GBS Linens, 714/778-6448; Sculptware, 888/282-8811; Something Different Linen, 800/422-2180; Spandex USA, 866/772-6339; Ultimate Textile, 800/567-5460

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