Saturday, August 25, 2012


On Day 3, we had a renewed enthusiasm because we finished up our orders and confirmed others before leaving the Piers for good, to head over to the largest building of all, the Jacob Javitz Center. While the Javitz Center is the largest venue for the NYIGF, it's the least important to our stores. Vendors who specialize in our areas of interest are few and far between in this mammoth center, but we're looking for those Vendors that have never shown here before, those that are unique and different than anything we've seen before.

We found a line made in Vietnam (not China! yeah) of hand carved wooden vases and vessels. Textures were carved, fluted, or rendered silky smooth. Finishes include Espresso stain, natural Mango wood, and Matt White paint. The matt white was yet another take on the "Gesso" finish written about in the Day 2 report.

Photos, above: Hand carved vessels in different textures and Gesso- style finishes

We like these lap blankets from a South American importer. Made from super soft, luxurious Alpaca, from Peru. Alpaca is precious and usually rather expensive, but this Vendor had great prices, so we bought into the line.

Photo, above: Alpaca throws (lap blankets)

The next two photos, below represent a number of trends, all in one showroom. There was a beautiful polished Rosewood inlay table, juxtaposed with a Console Table covered in linen finished with a gesso- style finish. Then a chest lacquered to death in a new blue, not that blue, but fresh just the same.

Photos, above: Three trends are represented: Wood inlay tops (shown here in Rosewood), a Gesso finish (shown over a linen covered Console), and a lacquered chest in a new blue finish.

Next off to the famed Pillow (and now bed linens) designers, Dransfiled & Ross. Of course being designers who make throw pillows, they show colors that are very inclusive of not only the trendiest colors, but those that are less so, as well.

Photo above: A heavily textured pillow that is virtually made with the same construction as a rug. Rich materials, and elegant color combinations make for a unique, but expensive pillow.

Photo, above: Animal patterns remain strong, actually maybe even stronger than last year. A fresh take on a leopard print, in taupe, fog (grey), and blue on pale grey linen.

Photo, above: Luxe fabrics were well represented. This fabric, in the style of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollack (Jan. 28, 1912 - Aug. 11, 1956.

Photos, below: Pollack at work painting on the floor, and a few of his splatter and drip paintings that could have influenced the pillow, above

Photo, below: Another color story: Grey tones with lavender, shown below in cut velvet (top left), printed on linen (top right) and embroidered (center).

One of the most exciting finds was the vendor Emporium Home, which was very much the style and feel of the famed designer, the late Tony Duquette (b. June, 11, 1914 - d. Sept. 9, 1999). The designer of this line is Ashley Childers, based in Little Rock.  When we met her at the show it was immediately clear that she was pure Southern lady, with a great eye, and ever so sophisticated.

Photo above: Tony Duquette is certainly the king of "Maximalism" (I did not coin that term)! Photos of Duqueetes home, Dawnridge Estate. Living room at left, and a table top collection in the Sunroom. Notice the Parrots headpiece, rendered in gold. We have two of Duquettes three books at Cabana Home: TONY DUQUETTE, and MORE IS MORE.

I told Ashley that her work reminded of Duquette and she admitted that he was a huge inspiration to her, and said she was honored to hear that. I told her we had toured Duquettes Dawnridge Estate, which is now owned by his protege Hutton Wilkinson, and let her know that there are ways to get in to see it, and I would do what I could to get her in the next time she's in LA.

Photo, below: Blown glass Table Lamps in a cool coral, and another in vibrant green. Bronze finished brass detailing.

Photo, below: An Emporium Home mirror that embodies the the style of the late Designer, Tony Duquette.

Photo, below: Another Duquette inspiration is found in this round side table, with beveled mirror top on hammered brass frame, set with cut rock crystals.

Continuing in the vein of exotic, here is a great Dining room Side Chair, shown below, upholstered in a Zebra patterned flat weave rug. The cream and beige of this pattern make this a benign but acceptable tonality for sophisticated dining. Arm Chair also available 

Over the last couple of years we saw parchment covered books, free of titles and authors names, these were simply an aesthetic overture to the literary. A fresh take on the concept was made by this Chicagoland vendor made from wood, also unadorned with any printed lettering. These books seem to parody their more elegant parchment covered cousins.
What is parchment you ask?
Parchment is a very thin layer of hide, often calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin. Its' most common use was as a material for writing on for documents, notes, pages of a book, etc... It is different than leather in that parchment is limed, not tanned. Also, finer quality parchment is called Vellum. 

Shown, below: Carved wood "books" in natural and gesso-style painted finish.

Photo, below: Detail of wood carved "books"

I would say "the find" of the show was the manufacturer of these woven leather goods. This Italian company
is the maker of the woven leathers for the lovely Bottega Veneta leather line, and their softer than soft lambskin leathers.

Photo, above: The color range includes all of the above, plus any custom color you specify

Photo below: This Springs Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Tote, in the new blue, $2,800.

Shown, below: Felling flush: We can upholstery your furniture in the custom woven lambskin leather.

Shown, below: A Throw in finely woven lambskin, with leather fringe, backed with Loro Piana cashmere.

Shown, below: Move over Burberry! The classic English design house known for its ubiquitous plaid can be rendered in woven leather, or any other pattern you specify.

Shown, below: The woven lambskin is available in exactly the same pattern as the Bottega Veneta leather products, in any color you choose.

So, that brings us to the omnipresent use of Shagreen (pronounced sha- grin), of late most often made from the skin of the Sting Ray.
However, the tone on tone colors of grey this Shagreen, trimmed in natural wood finish, gives an elegant presence to this ever popular material, shown, below.

Photos, below: 
A round convex mirror framed with free form plaster edges, in a gesso-like finish

Photo, below: Detail of Mirror edge and gesso-like finish.

More bone, photo below, this time in a pattern that appears to be "woven" bone.

The Moroccan influence in the market place is more than just bone ladened furniture and accessories.
Shown, below, a gold leaf finish mirror.

From a source known for their exquisite print quality, showed new work influenced by the famed former Bauhaus artist, Josef Albers, best known as an abstract painter and theorist, and especially for his Homage to the Square series.

Photo, below: A new print references the work of Josef Albers.

Photos, below: The real Homage to the Square, works by Joseph Albers.

Photo, above: Homage to the Square 1966, by Josef Albers
Photo, below: Homage to the Square 1965, by Josef Albers

Not as thrilling as art but infinitely more practical for most, are these throws (lap blankets) colored in new tones of sea blue, with the addition of a fresh stripe of blue/green. We liked the fresh take on a traditional houndstooth pattern, shown below, far left.

Shown, below: Navy and white. We saw only a few people showing this tried and true combination. While it always looks fresh and crisp, this is not a trend, but wonderfully fresh and sophisticated.

More Lucite!
Shown, below: A Lucite framed Barstool with oversized polished nickel hardware, upholstered with a hair-on-hide seat.

More "new Blue"!
Shown, below: Glass, blown in America not Murano! How about that! Because it isn't an import, these lamps were a terrific price.

Finally, for the unusual: A new take on "fish sticks".
Shown, below: Fish on sticks!

An unusual globe!
Shown below: A globe with a chalk board finish, allows your cartologist to create their own land masses and country's as they please.

Worst in Show (show below): Undoubtedly the worst hair color at the show. Definitely not a trend! Note the Chanel suit on this attendee.

Worst in Show: These custom chairs are the end all! Preserve your rear end in high density plastic. If you don't like your derriere, choose someone else's or the basic form, shown below.

Worst in Show: I mean really, how can the shows promoters justify adding this vendor to the mix? Really? Dogs with glasses? Really?

Worst in Show: Okay, this is pretty bad, but its so kitsch that I almost like it! But not in my house! Also available in white, black or turquoise.

Whew, what a day, so glad you could join me. Please join me again for the 2012 NYIGF: Day 4.

Goodnight! Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The second day at a Trade Show can sometimes be lackluster. The excitement of the travel to get there, the anticipation of the first day of the show, the hope of discovery of that special item or line, all of it together almost give me butterflies. 
However by the second day, especially towards the end of it, the feet are aching, the head is spinning, and sometimes throbbing. Decisions over the last two days have to be number in the multi-thousands-- ahh...look at that, or OMG! look at that. Those words can mean Eureka!, or as easily mean egads!

While we have to keep an open mind, it sometimes becomes difficult as you pass by vendor spaces by the hundreds, sometimes almost feeling sorry for many of them for having to represent such strange products. We trudge on in the hopes of landing the big one! I consider a trade show successful if we find two or three good lines. Now considering the number of lines here, almost 100 thousand according to the shows promoters, finding a wonderful new line is like finding a needle in a haystack. The buildings are huge, so our feet are killing us, our shoulders are aching from carrying all of the product info that is thrust upon us by hopeful vendors.  

So, why do we do it? I think it’s the thrill of the hunt! There is real satisfaction of finding that unique product that really excites, and the hope that it will thrill our customers in the same way. 

Okay, enough about the process, let’s see the goods. Similar to yesterday’s report on the color, Celine Blue (aka Yves Klein Blue), the color was very present in the products being offered. We saw it on lacquered boxes, art, accessories, and on furniture.

Trend Alert No. 2:
In addition to the "new Blue", we spotted another trend that is being shown by many of the better vendors. The tend is a finish referred to as Gesso, defined as: A white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these. 

Typically, gesso is used as substrate or base for paint and other materials to be applied over it. However, what we're seeing is what looks like raw gesso, it appears like there is no other finish or product added on top of it. It looks just like the paint on a whitewashed house in Greece, bright white, raw and pure. 

Of course there is a sealer on it so it doesn't come off on your hands or clothing, but it looks as if it would be chalky to the touch.

Photo above: A gesso finished African stool, made for indoor use
Photo below: A "gesso look" finish on a stool, made for outdoor use

Photos, below:
A new cabinet finished in a gesso finish. From Mr. Brown for London, England based design house Julian Chichester

Photo below: Resin boxes with textured finished resembling gesso. hardware is faux Matt Gold finish. The mat metal finishes were also prevalent in the marketplace. From Fait by The Artist Lab

Photo below: Another cabinet by Mr. Brown for Julian Chichester features ridge cut doors finished in a gesso finish.

Another important category that was represented by many, but none of them could match the quality of the pieces featured in the next four photos.

Photo below: Buffalo Bone box in Diamond pattern

Mirror, below: A mirror framed in Bone by Made Goods.

Photo below: An unusual table with a detailed edge design. Beautifully executed in Bone

Another material we saw used fairly extensively was Tibetan lambs hair. We saw the fluffy stuf on everything from Rugs, Throws, Chairs and Benches.

Photos below-
Left: A tie-dyed throw in multi-colors
Right: Dyed into several colors including "Celine Blue", shown at bottom of stack.

Fur is big, like it or not. We saw faux furs by the ton, some really fine furs, and some that were not so fine. Lesser furs were like Rabbit were printed to resemble their finer relatives.

Photo below: Spotted Jaguar printed on Rabbit.  

Lucite was also well represented. Used mostly as legs to Benches and Chairs, in addition to lamp bases and pedestals.

Photo below: A bench in tufted linen with a Lucite "X" base.  

Photo below: A bench with Lucite legs, and an interesting woven hemp textile covering the seat.

Photo below: The Etruscan Bench
What is an Etruscan Bench? According to Google, the most original contribution of the Etruscan's to furniture was in their use of Bronze. This bench is made of cast brass to emulate bronze (the poor man’s alternative!).
Okay, so the look of this benches material is right on, but what about the style?

I would consider the style to be Klismos style, and further research states that the Etruscan's used the look of this style chair, but it didn't say they designed it. 
So, back to Google where I found that the Klismos Chair was first depicted in Greek history in the mid- 5th Century BC. 
Then, I Googled the Etruscan Period (once source said doesn't exist) and found that it was between 800-500 BC. So, this piece is appropriately named!

Whew, now aren't you glad I'm in the furniture business so you don't have to do this?!
Or, is this more info than you wanted to know? Don;t answer that! 

Let's move on! 

Photo below:
Not an Etruscan Chair! The chair below is a new take on an old design, but modified (greatly), and made into a folding chair rendered in high-density plastic. Cheap, durable, offered in fun colors, and easily stored. Very cool for extra seating. 

Photo below: Not so glamorous, but also practical are these new door stops, a nice alternative to the oversold knotted rope ball with handle.  

Back to the cool side, this cabinet is leather covered door panels, trimmed in Bronze finished brass, with dark wood cabinetry. By Julian Chichester. 

A rock crystal lamp base designed and made by fellow Californian Kathryn McCoy, the original supplier of similar rock crystal lamps to the infamous, the late Tony Duquette.


Photo below: 
Designed by an Belgian expat living in American, this Cocktail Table is made from a slab of "live edge" solid reclaimed Walnut wood. Live edge means the natural free form edge as the tree originally grew. The base for this table is a very sophisticated series of wrought iron legs in the style of sculptor Diego Giacometti (yes, brother of Alberto).


Photo below: Now for some fun, is this outdoor Ottoman that is covered in synthetic grass! Know anyone who needs one?

Photo below: Again, in the style of Giacometti is this lamp designed by Made Goods. Available in silver or gold finish.

Photo below: Hand cut and sewn cowhide rug. This collection featured over 30 patterns in natural cowhide colors, as well as an infinite number of dyed color combinations. These rugs will be available at Cabana Home by November 1st.

A poured Bronze table, in a style that I hand't seen before. There's another style that has been floating around for years, still a great table, but no longer fresh. Its great to have an alternative!

The next two pieces, shown below, are from a Furniture Designer based in Maine, whom we met when the first time he ever showed at the New York show. Now, six years later, this original iron sculptor cum designer has added other materials and has created some unique furniture pieces. Below is his very good looking oval Dining Table on an steel base. Available in custom sizes.

A hammered iron Console Table with a wood top that has been embossed with a steel plate, leaving the "diamond plate" pattern imprint on the wood surface. Very clever, and available in custom sizes. 

A new talent, this brightly lacquered electric wall sconce is from designers based in Marthas Vinyard,  actually, Chappaquiddick (yes, that Chappaquiddick!). They also make single Sconces, table top  Candleabras, and table lamps. Several standard colors are available.

Another newby to the New York show is a line of clever Ottomans designed by TRUE BEE design. This recently patented design is called the Crown Ottoman, because the center of the ottoman is a flexible crown, which is removable (like a crown) to reveal storage below. One side of the "Crown" is upholstered for seating, and flip it over and the painted flat wood panel becomes a table top. It is shown in bright whimsical fabrics, but more demure fabrics are likely available to suit more conservative tastes. We wish these gals the best! Good luck!


Okay, enough already! How about some Worst of Show? 

LED lighted trees

'Camo" throw pillows with your choice of appliqued Pheasants or Quail

An upholstered Dining Chair with an outline of the human spine... how appetizing!

And let's don't forget to bring something home for the children: 
For the children's bedroom, a 'Gun' throw pillow.

A chandelier made with canning jars with tin lids, topped with elaborate matt finished brass detailing.


On a fun note, we happened in to a gelato store (okay, we Googled it, too!), and they make custom or "Dream Donuts". On the wall is a diagram that walks you through the steps to create your own donut masterpiece. Very funny, and probably a lot of fun! Shown below: Fruit loops with gelato! 

Photo below: The steps to build your dream donut!

Please join me tomorrow for Day 3 of the New York International Gift Show.

All for now, good night!