The industry as seen by top designers.
Trends at the Atlanta, Dallas Gift Shows
Trends we'll probably see in our industry.
by Tracia Williams and Lynda Musante (February, 2004)
We recently visited the Atlanta Gift Show and the Dallas Holiday
Expo and found many similarities as well as some surprising
discoveries. The focus on home dec continues and embellishments of
all sorts and styles were abundant.
Both shows had similarities: Holidays were focused on red, white,
and silver. The Snowman was seen more often than Santa. Candy themes
were popular in both shows. Transparency in ornaments, ribbons, and
lights were in many displays.
Naturals had a big presence: twigs, leaves, berries, and feathers
were all over. Home dec was embellished with feathers, marabou,
charms, beaded trims, fringes, wire, and stones; everything was very
dimensional. Common surfaces such as candles, glass bottles, and
lampshades were embellished with beads, charms, or trims. Clothing
and apparel accessories were embellished with feathers, marabou,
shells, beads, fringe, and charms. Charm bracelets seem to be more
popular than ever!
The biggest shock in Atlanta was finding imported Altered
Art. A nice-sized showroom that primarily features primitive country
dec accessories had an entire line of altered art designs created by
a mixed media artist and produced in China. Since altered art/mixed
media is still in its infancy stages in the craft industry, seeing
it already being mass produced was a bit surprising.
Atlanta Gift Show.
Prominent Colors: Orange and warm
colors were very popular decorating colors ... Aqua ... Lilac ...
LOTS of white with everything ... Two-color combinations are still
very strong black/white, pink/orange, red/white, lime/orange,
lime/pink, lime/bright blue ... Silver, nickel, and pewter are far
more popular than brass or gold finishes
Styles: Simple Elegance means clean lines, functional
and fresh in manner, comfortable and practical; this is the
"new" country look ... Retro Chic funky/fun
accessories with a nostalgic feel, with kitschy accessories ... Island
palm trees, banana leaves, monkeys, orchids, parrots, shell
trims and bamboo ... India palm trees, elephants,
paisley, silks materials, beaded trims ... Sophisticated Romance
floral, beaded trims, sheer ribbons, and weathered, whitewash
Trends & Themes: Red Hat Society Red hats on
everything from throws to charm bracelets ... Charms on
everything! from candles to blue jeans, charms were on home dec
items, apparel, greeting cards, and of course jewelry ... Pampering
Your Pet fun and stylish goodies for pets ... Hair
Jewelry glitzy goodies to put in your hair from
butterflies to tiny hearts jewelry pieces on all sorts of
findings for the hair ... Feathers and marabou on home dec
pieces such as pillows and lamp shades, as well as apparel items
such as like jackets and purses! ... Verbiage sayings
and words on EVERYTHING, including jewelry, apparel, pillows, wall
decor, garden stones, purses, throws, and even candles!
More Trends: Purses! Novelty purses with buttons,
sequins, charms, ribbons, and nostalgic images such as Nancy Drew,
Elvis, or pin up girls on them ... Romantic Jewelry such as
chandelier earrings and accessories to match (hair jewelry fell into
this category) ... Outdoor Decor decorating the outdoors
for holiday or everyday seems to still be on the rise, especially
colorful wind chimes and sun catchers ... Candles and candle
accessories are still extremely popular; just when you think there
could not be another way to market a candle you would see 10 new
Motifs: Flip flops, beach balls, umbrellas and other
beach motifs ... Butterflies and dragonflies are still popular ...
Bright red poppies ... Hats, shoes, purses and other
"girlish" motifs ... Vintage images sepia photos or
black-and-white images embellished with rhinestones, enamel work,
buttons, etc. ... Pineapples these were sometimes mixed with
Holidays, Christmas: Whimsical but not "cutesy" ...
Red and white very little green ... Candy themes ... LOTS AND
LOTS of crystal glitter ... Transparent ornaments ... SILVER, not
gold ... Snowmen still seem to be popular much more than Santa
... Lots of berries on vines with minimal greenery ... The color
green seems to be OUT especially deep green.
Holidays, Autumn/Halloween: Whimsical pumpkins and ghosts
not cutesy ... Black cats ... Leaves in pumpkin, harvest gold,
sienna, and olive green ... Accents of copper ... Vines with berries
and twigs especially artificial leaf garlands and bittersweet
vines ... Light and Medium Olive greens mixes with traditional fall
colors ... Nostalgic printed materials on decor especially
vintage Halloween cards or cutout that are transfer to fabric and
sewn to pillows or totes.
Dallas Holiday Expo.
Color: Soft tones peach with coral, lilac ... Antique
gold with rich warm color, not cheap or glitzy ... Silver metals:
Pewter finishes that arent cheap or tacky ... India-influenced
patterns and fabrics lots of citrus orange, paisley,
embroidered, beads ... Two color combinations:
lime/pink, lime/purple, antique gold/burgundy, red/black ...
Multiple color combinations: plum, lime, black & white pink,
lime, taupe, black & antique gold.
Style: Furniture wicker & rattan furniture shown in
casual and elegant settings ... Lots of carved, dark wood with large
mahogany & teak pieces growing in prominence; almost no blonde
wood or pine other than in a whitewashed finish ... Lighting
lots of candles and chandeliers that were either very elegant or fun
& whimsical ... Lampshades trimmed with feathers, beads,
images, wire ... LOTS of pillows comfortable, spa, resort-like
... Mirrors modern, gilt, carved, on walls, tables, and
furniture ... Hanging beaded curtains.
Fabrics: Toile: 2-color combinations: red/white, red/cream,
pink/white, blue/white, blue/cream, and lilac/white ... Old
fashioned fabrics gingham checks, lace, floral prints ... Global
influence Asian, African, and Tuscan motifs.
Tableware: 20s to 50s ceramic dishes, messages on dishware,
Trends & Themes: Sparkle not shiny on ornaments,
table decor, fabrics ... Dripping, elongated, hanging fringe ON
EVERYTHING ... Pearls were on trees, fabrics, and bedding ...
Transparency + shimmer tulle, organza ribbons, and fabrics were
seen in every decorating style, as well as holidays ... Mosaics
not random, but neutral (shades of color) or themed with pink
flowers and green stems ... Aged surfaces chipped, crumbling,
worn, whitewashed and chipped, peeling paint with beige or caramel
Motifs: Wire and wood bird houses white washed or in
pastel colors ... Crosses metal, wood, carved and highly
ornamented ... Repeating Squares with motifs on walls, on
furniture, on fabric, with florals ... Hearts on fabric,
ornaments, pillows, walls, lamps, and clothing ... Quality outdoor
living for patio with many accessories ... Falling water floor
and table fountains, or wall art ... Animals: Polar and brown bears;
horses large bronzes, on tables, floors, book ends; moose.
Motifs/Kids: Hot, citrus-y colors for clothing, accessories,
bedroom furnishings, and toys; personalized or personalize-able ... Boys:
primary colors, trains, fishing ... Girls: pastels or
vibrant secondary colors in purple, aqua, tangerine, lemon yellow
& teal; butterflies, fairies, flop-eared bunnies; message
pillows; pampering: lotions and slippers; girl power messages,
feather boas, tiaras.
More Motifs: Inspirational words: walls, pillows, clothing,
furniture ... Red Hat Society and accessories ... The Beach
as a theme for room decor, clothing, accessories ... Flip flops on
everything ... Pastel yellow, aqua, lilac, pink, tangerine.
Florals/Fruit: Naturals Rocks, wood, and other naturals
were very prominent in day-to-day home decor ... Curly willow,
bamboo canes, sticks in containers ... Gourds, plain and embellished
... Pine cones ... Twigs balls, garlands, coiled tree forms,
swags ... LOTS of vines and moss ... Red berries with twigs,
vines, swags, wreathes, on trees, and chandeliers with pepper
berries or cranberries ... Embossed leaves on furnishings, fabric,
Flowers: Iris, poppies, dahlias ... Moss sometimes lumpy
or smooth ... Stems on display in containers calla lilies,
amaryllis, tulips ... Beets, pomegranates, pears, and red apples
were popular ... Large low arrangements on tables, coffee tables,
sideboards; often dripping over the edges of the surface.
Seasons, Christmas: LOTS OF WHITE! Green trees covered with
so much "snow" you could barely see the green ... White
trees with white accessories ... 1950s metallic trees in citrus
colors ... Lots of red & and white, candy canes, and peppermints
on trees and for decorating tables ... Feathers on trees, and
completely covering table-top trees, especially in white ... Many
naturals mixed with evergreen, sisal, or twig garland ... Lots of
transparent ornaments ... Trees completely covered with ornaments
no bare spaces.
Fall: Lots of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, more happy than
scary ... Black cats and friendly ghosts.
Well be writing about more trends after our HIA trip!
Note: For previous columns written by Lynda and Tracia, click
on the titles in the right-hand column. Any comments or questions?
Any suggestions for topics for future columns? Email Lynda Musante,
Nifty Development Corp. at firstname.lastname@example.org
and Tracia Williams, Tracia & Co., at email@example.com
For more on trends in the gift industry, click on Category
Reports in the left-hand column.