By Allison Zisko
NEW YORK–Could the humble apron be making a comeback?
Like those who are championing a return to “slow food,” some people see potential in aprons once again, and there were plenty of style options offered throughout this winter show season. They ranged from the traditional or the retro, like the flour sack versions from Mary Lake-Thompson, to the very current, more masculine Iron Chef assortment from Town & Country.
Town & Country believes aprons will be big this year, according to Judi Alexander, vice president of licensing and marketing. During the recent textiles market, the company featured its Mommy & Me collection of aprons in a variety of prints, with coordinating oven mitts and chef hats. It also showcased the Iron Chef collection, which includes not only aprons, but potholders, mitts and other kitchen textiles, done up in four colorways: black-and-red and black-and-gray combos, along with cobalt and sand. This is a performance-based assortment, complete with silicone grips and D-rings sewn to the aprons for holding a dish towel.
Most kitchen textiles introductions at this season’s shows blend style and performance with a healthy dose of practicality.
Take the Rachael Ray Moppine from WestPoint Home, for example. It is a simple thing: a towel with deep pockets at either end that work like potholders. It is your all-in-one kitchen towel, and has been selling well, according to Nancy Golden, vice president of marketing and brand management. New colors debuted at the textiles market.
The Rachael Ray collection from Town & Country, meanwhile, has become more lifestyle-oriented, according to Alexander, and has expanded considerably with more novelty looks, colors and patterns. There are also new microfiber constructions. The line includes dish towels, placemats, napkins, runners and more.
Town & Country’s KitchenAid-licensed line also stresses functionality and performance, expanding to include flexible, neoprene mitts that are heat-resistant up to 475 degrees.
On the more whimsical, design-oriented side of the business was a complete lineup of novelty kitchen textiles from Town & Country, including its recipe collection (flat woven on one side, terry on the other, with a recipe printed at the top); Implements (images of kitchen tools); and Salt and Pepper (fun, cheeky sayings with accompanying light-hearted prints).
Bardwil blended retro designs with the current environmentally friendly craze in its Dansk-licensed introductions. Designed to complement Urban Picnic, one of the tabletop company’s newest dinnerware collections, the line includes four patterns and four solids that playfully highlight the importance of recycling by using the universal, arrow-based icon.
New kitchen textiles will also be highlighted at the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago this week. Nap Home Décor is introducing Paula Deen linens (woven and embroidered napkins, placemats and runners, among others) to coordinate with newly launched dinnerware from the celebrity chef. And Typhoon is introducing Dotty Linens, a range of aprons, tea towels and oven mitts that coordinates with its mugs and teapots. Made of quilted cotton in two colorways (bright dots and olive dots), they (with exception of the apron) feature a magnet housed within a silicone capsule, enabling them to attach to refrigerators, outdoor grills and the like.