May 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
We are still sorting through our 1,271 images gathered at and around Salone del Mobile in Milan last month. It is a huge furnishings show held annually at Fiera, a complex containing more than 20 adjoining football field-size halls. In addition, the Brera design district in the heart of Milan and a host of locations around the city mount fabulous exhibits.
There is a lot of walking and schlepping around involved, so naturally, the first and most important consideration for attendance at the show is the selection of shoes we will wear! We have learned to opt for comfort because of the 15,000 steps as recorded on my assistant Melissa’s Fit Bit.
It can be slow going navigating through the thousands of people attending the show from all over the world.
We are always looking for evidence of Pantone’s Color of the Year, and this year’s color, Greenery, was in evidence—many show participants got the memo, not only in product, but also in design of exhibit spaces.
We saw many variations on the shade that captured the essence of the color family.
We begin our walking and photographing in the Satellite, the area where new designers show what prove to be very innovative usages of technology, materials, and, of course, color. There is a fresh sense of fun and adventure coming from students and budding entrepreneurs. Here are some favorites that caught our eye.
After the Satellite, we walk through each hall taking photos that we feel show interesting and intriguing products and settings. We are especially en pointe for new presentations of color and color combinations. Here is a taste of what we saw.
It’s always a thrill to return to Milan for this fabulous show.
Ciao for now!
April 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
The International Home and Housewares show is one of our favorite destinations every March. This show is not just about potato peelers, that is for sure. There are some fabulous new products presented every year, from kitchen appliances (including glamorous espresso makers), to tabletop, (both elegant and casual), to wellness products, and hundreds of other items.
It is held at McCormick Place in Chicago, one of my favorite venues for its beautifully staged ballroom decorated with plants or floral arrangements and special lighting to reflect the Pantone color of the year. This year it was decorated with plants, most appropriate to “Greenery.” There were many of my color friends in the audience, some of whom have not missed a show since I first started to speak there 19 years ago!
Bridget Frizee of Kehoe Design in Chicago, Lee Eiseman, Melissa Bolt
Melissa Bolt, my associate, went with me. I am forever grateful for the design and imagery she puts together, including the arrangement of the colors that show the origin and direction of the eight color palettes for home that I presented for 2018. Large boards showing the forecasted palettes are also mounted in the Lakeside area of McCormick, each one complete with coordinating products in display cases.
We enjoy looking at some of the displays for new products that are also mounted at the show. This year one of the winners was Nicole Norris, a college student who designed a new ironing board. We certainly do see that as a winning idea!
On the first day for my keynote, I was introduced by Perry Reynolds, Vice President of Marketing and Trade Development, my good buddy, who is retiring and his cheery personality will be sorely missed. On the second day, I was introduced by Vicky Matranga, another delightful friend, who is Design Programs Coordinator for IHA where she manages the Student Design Competition and the Housewares Design Awards, coordinates displays, and organizes the DesignTheater and design-related events for the annual show. Vicky is also a collector of housewares items with an attic full of the products that grandma would have thought very high tech in her day (such as waffle irons and steam irons and Waring Blendors (yes, it is spelled with an “o”— a bit of a branding technique in those days.)
Many of you asked where my necklace came from. I recently discovered a local (Seattle) jewelry artist named Melanie Brauner for Verso www.versojewelry.com. What a talent!
February 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is the third and final installment on my trip to Asia. The first two stops were in Seoul and then to Shanghai, and the following images were taken on my last stop in Tokyo.
When my presentation was finished in Tokyo, my friend and colleague, Maryann Wong from Hong Kong, and I made our way over a bridge to the Shinjuku area to visit Takashimaya, as it had always been one of my favorite stores when they had branches in Los Angeles and New York.
Interestingly, the area around the square in Tokyo was called Times Square—a very different Times Square than the New York location!
Pictures of flower arrangements on display in front of a department store.
The colors and designs of various flower displays caught my eye immediately as they were so artfully done.
When we went into the store, we saw some equally colorful displays. I am always drawn to the housewares department. (As you may know, I speak at the International Housewares Show every year.) These tea cozies caught my eye–they certainly could fit into a palette inspired by Pantone’s color of the year—Greenery!
What truly interested me was the fabric department. It reminded me of the time when there were fabric departments in our stores. Japanese women still enjoy sewing, and these images of traditional kimonos were part of the inspirational display. All of the fabrics were available for sale.
Displays also showed the usage of fabric on handbags and zoris, the traditional sandal. Color coordination is very important in Japanese design.
The furniture department displayed a chair that I could have happily purchased, but the shipping costs are a bit high (and it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase!) Interestingly, the fabric on this chair is right on-trend, not only in its fabulous color story and combination, but in the use of the triangles in the patterning, as well.
The final evening in Tokyo, our hosts took us to yet another fantastic restaurant, one that specializes in blowfish, so that every part of the meal, including appetizer, salad, soup, and main course (although not dessert), featured some sort of blowfish prepared in a different way.
As you might know, blowfish is a delicacy, but certain parts of the fish can be toxic, so they must be handled with care. Obviously, the restaurants are very cautious and they employ specially trained people who know what part to eat (or not). They certainly don’t want to lose their clientele!
As weird as it might sound to eat one specific food prepared in different ways—it was absolutely fabulous. All the prep was done at the table, fascinating to watch and then finally, to eat. It was a fitting end to a truly memorable trip.
January 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is the second installment in reporting on my recent trip to Asia. The first stop was in Seoul, South Korea, and from there I went to Shanghai, China. It was my second visit to this vast city of more than 14 million people. The view from my 25th floor hotel room revealed many tall buildings,
but interestingly on this visit I noticed that “pocket parks” were popping up—a good thing for adding some oxygen to an environment where the smog reminded me of my early days in Los Angeles (now largely contained.)
Everyone told me that, with my interest in design, the Peace Hotel was a worthy place to visit, and it really was. It is filled with art deco references from the 20s–on the ceilings,
in the bas-reliefs on the walls,
and in every place the eye landed. There was a reminder of the time period when ladies always dressed glamorously, often changing three times in one day!
The hotel remains a perfect place for shooting films of that period and the lobby contains some of the original posters, including for Empire of the Sun and Shanghai Triad.
It was also a nightspot for dancing, dinner, and an evening of jazz.
As I looked around, I did recognize some of the architectural features I have seen of those period films. There was a more recent picture taken on the hotel stairway for Elle Magazine of a very svelte Amanda Seyfried in a gorgeous red gown, very appropriate to the setting.
I did have the opportunity to go to a street market that was filled with tiny boutique-like shops. It is always great fun to shop for treasures in these far-way places. But I have to say what I enjoyed most was seeing the displays of clothes for kids as they were fashionable, grown-up, and colorful. Special occasion clothing for kids is very important in Asia.
I did another trend presentation in Shanghai and it was another enjoyable experience. It is always fun for me to meet so many “creatives” from other parts of the world and representing a vast variety of color-related industries. The press is always well-represented, and in this audience, among many other press people, there was a team from the Chinese edition of Elle Décor. They were an enthusiastic group and very interested in the use of color.
Food is an ongoing feast in Asia and for me, a “pescatarian,” always something to look forward to as there are lots of delectable and healthy choices. More about that in my next installment….
December 26, 2016 § 1 Comment
After the release of the Pantone Color the Year (Greenery 15-0343, should you not know), I went to Asia to make the announcement in that part of the world. It was a terrific trip and, as always, people there are excited to learn about the new color as well as upcoming trends. The presentation that I do embraces international color and design trends, some of which come from Asia.
The first stop was Seoul, Korea, where I had a lovely arrangement of flowers awaiting me in my room. The floral arrangements are always so special and every year that I speak in Seoul (this is my sixth trip) the newest arrangement is more dramatic and unusual than the one that preceded it.
This year the flowers were arranged in a gift box. The box itself was decorated with a simple spray and a colorful ribbon and when the lid is opened, the arrangement appears. Beautiful and brilliant!!
I visited the offices of the Noroo Pantone Color Institute, where I participated in a videotaping.
I was then taken to a lovely lunch, on to a rehearsal, and, that evening, went to a very western-themed restaurant that played the golden oldies in the background featuring Sinatra and Nat King Cole!
On the day of the color event, I did some interviews with the press and then was whisked away to a building designed by Zaha Hadid, the renowned architect who sadly passed away earlier this year. As with all of her work, it is quite a dramatic and futuristic structure.
Staff from both Noroo, the company based in South Korea that specializes in paints and finishes, as well as some my colleagues from Pantone, took some pictures with me prior to the seminar.
Here are a few of the images in the talk that demonstrate a portion of the upcoming trends in color and design. My favorite is the rug that starts out as a wall hanging and then drips down to the floor!
Immediately after the presentation, there was a Q&A period with a few of the other presenters. As always, the questions were thoughtful, especially about the rationale for the Color of the Year.
That evening we had the usual after-event feast featuring delicious Korean dishes, and then the next day we departed for Shanghai. As you can guess, there is no shortage of fabulous food, and I’ll show you some of the food preparation in the next blog post.
December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
Ever since attending his first museum collection in New York, I have always been a big fan of Yves St. Laurent. I have found his work to be incredibly imaginative, skillfully designed and colorful. When my associate, Melissa Bolt, told me that a collection of his work was being shown at the Seattle Art Museum, we decided it was a “must-see” and it was!
The newsletter published by SAM, as the museum is affectionately called, said that the St. Laurent collection “filled the gallery with elegance.” The collection is called: The Perfection of Style and described as following “the revolutionary concepts of this fashion icon whose designs shifted perceptions of gender and class.”
On display were his paper dolls modeling his early fashion designs. These morphed into his sketches shown with original fabric samples of the110 garments, featured along with accessories, each of them so contemporary looking (and in such good condition) that they could be worn on the fashion runways today.
After we saw the collection, I was inspired to look for a book called simply “Yves St. Laurent” that I had purchased at the Met in NY and found it in my collection. Some of the clothing that was in the book was featured in the show, so we had the chance to revisit them.
Diana Vreeland, the flamboyant lover of red who was the special consultant to the Costume Institute at the Met, wrote an introduction to the book, stating that St. Laurent was “followed across the oceans of the world by women who look young, live young and are young, no matter what their age. That works for me!!
The collection will be at SAM until January 17. 2017.
October 9, 2016 § 2 Comments
My associate and fellow color enthusiast, Melissa Bolt, and I had the pleasure of attending the fabulous home furnishing show, Maison&Objet, in Paris last month.
That city with all its design influences hosts a show that is a feast for the eyes.
There are eight stadium-sized halls, all inter-connected and filled with everything from housewares, textiles, furniture, and tabletop, to lighting, carpeting, giftware, and home accessories.
There is an area we especially look forward to visiting called Atelier that offers the most original and colorful wares, including wearable art and jewelry. Another area that we love is a special section devoted to young artists and artisans, many of whom are just starting in business. It is more than trés jolie.
Of course, being in Paris also means eating great food, visiting interesting areas of the city, conversing with the people, and we manage to squeeze in a bit of shopping!
We decided to share some of the two thousand images that Melissa takes during the show and on the streets of this amazing city that ultimately can influence the forecasts that we develop for Pantone. There are many other factors and trade shows that can influence trend forecasts, however, what we see in Paris is a major and treasured source of information and inspiration
September 25, 2016 § Leave a comment
I had such fun researching (as well as discovering) more of Florine Stettheimer’s work that I wanted to share more of it. Interestingly, the Portland, Maine Museum of Art just completed a show of her work in tandem with three other female artists of Florine’s same time period who used color in intriguing combinations. The best known artist, who was also a personal friend to Florine, was Georgia O”Keefe, a name familiar to those who are color lovers.
O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York examines the art and careers of four pioneering artists and their contributions to American modernism in parallel for the first time. Through this exhibition, the PMA invites visitors to explore works by some of the most significant modernists in American art history: Georgia O’Keeffe, Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Florine Stettheimer, and Helen Torr.
September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
When I was researching color indicators and trends for one of my books, Pantone: The 20th Century in Color, I came across the work of an artist named Florine Stettheimer. Color was certainly one of her strengths and passions, as depicted in most of her paintings.
In the chapter titled Modern Pleasures, Florine was highlighted as painting “exhuberant, idiosyncratic depictions of events real and imaginary and that they “radiated pure color.” In the words of her biographer, Parker Tyler: “She was not one for mixing color; what came straight out of the tube seemed to her quite good enough.”
Her canvases depicted the life that Florine lived and understood best, that of New York City from 1916 until the time of her death in 1944. Her studio was located, appropriately enough, in the Beaux Arts Building overlooking Bryant Park. A single lady, she held many salons in her home for modern artists and writers such as Marchel Duchamp, Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O’Keefe. Having lived and studied in Europe for a time, she was also influenced by early-modernist art forms and colors coming out of Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Expressionism.
Her same colorful sense of whimsy was especially prevalent in the 1920’s, not only in art but also prevalent in fashion, fabrics, and ceramics.
Florine Stettheimer’s work can be found in several museum collections housed in Manhattan, notably MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum, while Columbia University owns the largest collection, which is housed in the Avery Library.
July 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
On my way back from London where I was attending color-forecasting meetings, I enjoyed several days in New York where I delivered a seminar at the National Stationery Show. The Big Apple is always full of interesting things to do and see and, on that particular weekend, I noted that a film was being shown at Lincoln Center that I had read about. The subject was David Hockney, the English-born artist, and the film is simply titled: “Hockney”.
Hockney has always fascinated me. He arrived in Los Angeles at about the same time I did—in the golden Beach Boys days when the surf was always up and so was the mood of L.A. It was a magical place, filled with sunshine and energy. It was a Technicolor city spread out between orange groves, mountains, and the ever-presence of the blue Pacific,but if sea-and- sand was not readily available, there were the ubiquitous swimming pools.
Hockney managed to capture the feel and look of the area through his many paintings,especially those of swimming pools. He was so enamored of the California lifestyle– “It’s got all the energy of the United States but with the Mediterranean thrown in,” says David Hockney of Southern California in the new feature-length documentary Hockney—and its pools, that he painted a mural on the bottom of the pool at the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood—the scene of many parties and photo shoots.
The film I saw at the Lincoln Center was a delight, showing much of Hockney’s wide array of talents. The director of the film, Randall Wright, stated that his mission was to show a “strong sense of place from two very different landscapes– the vast bright spaces of California and the moody hills of East Yorkshire. The creative push and pull of these absolute opposite environments energizes David’s constant search for answers, both creative and personal.“ He also pointed out that “digital cinema is now brilliant for reproducing painting. The color accuracy and the image resolution is breathtaking.
David’s paintings look stunning on the big screen.”
Indeed they do, and should you have a chance to view this engaging story of an artist and his life and work, it is well worth the time. To whet your appetite, watch the YouTube trailer for the film.