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tropical table Photo by Colson Griffith Photography
Bright Event Rentals offers this tropical-vibe design.

Event Design Forecast: 2019 To Rev Up the Retro

The ’70s and ’80s will still be going strong in 2019, but event designers will broaden how they look at "retro."

STAYIN’ ALIVE The retro styles of the ’70s and ’80s will remain popular in event design, but next year, event creatives will be digging even deeper into the past for inspiration. This forecast will appear in the Winter 2019 issue of Special Events.

“We don’t limit retro vibes to the ’70s and ’80s,” says Michael Zimmerman, director of design and merchandising for Los Angeles-based Bright Event Rentals. “Retro is art nouveau, it’s art deco, it’s minimalist, it’s hippie chic, it’s Hollywood glam—it’s everything.”

The biggest trend Zimmerman sees taking hold for 2019 is a colorful, tropical vibe—think Palm Beach, Ipanema or jungles. “Organic shapes mixed with classic elements will create a real wabi-sabi effect of ‘perfectly imperfect’ design,” he says.

RETRO STAYS RAD In 2019, designers will be inspired by the past in a myriad of ways—from color palettes to patterns. For Kristen Rollins, senior marketing manager, and her team at Woburn, Mass.-based Peak Event Services, retro is influencing textiles.

“I think the retro vibe is going to carry over to 2019, especially during the end-of-winter-into-spring transition,” Rollins says. “Rich velvets and suedes--sometimes reminiscent of your grandmother’s house--will continue to be a popular fabric for linens and lounges, as they provide texture and a pop of color to any look.”

For Shereé Bochenek, creative director for Minnetonka, Minn.-based Apres Event Decor and Tent Rental, retro style is popping up in furniture. The popular mid-century modern trend is the look of choice for her clients, she says.

“Mid-century styling is emerging as the go-to for rental furniture, favoring clean lines, bold colors and a lower profile,” Bochenek says. “Rental seating will be taking this direction as well.”

Stylist Mia Fattrosso and product manager Nichole Hart with Teterboro, N.J.-based Party Rental Ltd. say they can’t help but be inspired by the past—but with a contemporary edge: “We see a trend toward a modern approach to art deco and Hollywood Regency style.”

This modern approach often means a balance of elegance and minimalism. While some event designers are applying this to fresher retro-inspired designs, it’s also changing some long-time trends.

“The ever-present rustic style is evolving into a more refined look with an elegant feel” …

See the full story in the Winter 2019 issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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