Tabletop Vendors Offer Rich Designs in New York
By Allison Zisko
Modern takes on Victorian designs, shades of gray and pewter, and embossed and debossed techniques defined many of the tabletop and gift introductions at the recent New York International Gift Fair.
Examples of these trend-forward, rich and ornamental patterns include Caskata's newest dinnerware collection, its first foray into the five-piece place setting business, with a $250 retail price tag. Leesburg Chains is inspired by horse country and references art deco design motifs; Persian Empire features intricate geometrics and Yorkshire Hedgerow offers a vintage-inspired interpretation of the English countryside. All three patterns are executed in soft black and white.
Juliska's Country Estate, which also recalls the English Countryside in a muted charcoal colorway, has expanded to include more serving pieces as well as holiday-geared ruby red accent pieces featuring winter scenes on the estate. Juliska expanded its pewter-toned ceramic serveware collection with new platters, soup tureens and footed bowls. It also made additions to the linens program it launched last year, expanded its glass barware and vase assortment, and launched a pet bowl line called Berry and Tread, a playful take on its longstanding pattern, Berry and Thread.
Historic Italian stamps served as the design motif for Arte Italica's new Regale dinnerware collection. The pewter stamps, which can be swapped for a monogram, are fixed on white ceramic dinnerware and serveware.
Vietri, which like Arte Italica is based on Italian design, expanded its popular Incanto program to include metallic emblems on white ceramic.
A few tabletop companies--including Mariposa, Caskata and Juliska--introduced or enhanced their high-end jarred candle collections, with retails that range anywhere from $25 to $60 apiece. A number of giftware companies also stepped up their packaging efforts with beautiful giftboxing programs. Yedi Housewares introduced several boxed giftware sets, encompassing its Crush mugs, espresso cups and saucers, and sauce dishes on a ceramic tray.
Netherlands-based Mimex has brought three of its brands--Pip Studio, At Home with Mariele and Miss Blackbirdy--to the U.S., with a warehouse and sales and marketing headquarters in Pella, Iowa. The brands are targeting the specialty store market with dinnerware collections, many of them updated vintage, with complementary textiles such as decorative pillows. Pip Studio, which is sold in 36 countries, offers updated traditional floral looks in soft pinks and blues; At Home with Mariele is a line of earthenware ginghams and plaids in denim blue, cherry red or khaki; Miss Blackbirdy offers highly detailed, updated Victorian looks in black and white.
Rosanna took on the gray trend with Rue du Bac, pairing the geometrically based design with yellow accents; it referenced the 1960s and "Mad Men" appeal with Arabesque, a swirling gold-accented design on aqua, and mixed mid-century Christmas motifs with Victorian accents in its Christmas Cameo collection. Its Petite Plates collection, which presents a singular initial monogram on a miniature round or square plate, was a hit at the show, according to company founder Rosanna Bowles. "People are looking for items," she said. "I think in the down economy, in tabletop, the more item-y you can get, the better."
Bowles was highly satisfied with the show and noticed an improvement over shows held last year at this time. "People are very upbeat. I don't see any dourness or fear," she said. "It's definitely different from the last couple of years. I think people are appreciating design.
"This is not a show for looking, it's a show for doing," the Seattle-based designer said of the New York venue. "New York is the place to feel the pulse of what's happening and I definitely feel a difference from last year."