Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Reads: Trends That Are "So Over"

All photos by Raeanne Giovanni-Inoue for The New York Times

There's an interesting piece in today's New York Times on the big decorating trends of 2007 that are due for demise -- at least according to prominent designers like David Netto and Celerie Kemble, tastemaking editors like Domino's Deborah Needleman and Metropolitan Home's Donna Warner, and the doyenne of design bloggers herself, design*sponge's Grace Bonney.

One of the most intriguing reasons given for certain trends playing themselves out is the so-called "democratization of design." With the proliferation of companies such as CB2, West Elm, and even Design Within Reach interpreting high-end modern design for the masses -- and so many design bloggers out there writing about them -- these designs are destined to lose their exclusive cache.

Though the statement comes off sounding pretty snooty (I mean, if just anyone can be savvy to -- and possibly even afford -- things like baroque mirrors and geometric rugs, then of course those things are no longer desirable), the author does have a point. When we all see the same thing over and over again, of course we're bound to grow weary of it -- no matter how fresh the concept may have seemed at first. Even good ideas, like eco-friendly products, eventually inspire design fatigue when everyone jumps on the bandwagon, writer Penelope Green asserts.

Among the decorating fads on their way out?


David Hicks-influenced design (that means you, Jonathan Adler)


Cowhide rugs

Flatscreens over the fireplace

Ironic takes on "Hunting Lodge Chic"

Over-the-top Baroque Modern and Hollywood Regency style

"Green" products like bamboo sheets

Check out Ms. Green's article right here -- then tell me what you think: Do all of these trends deserve to be relegated to the design dustbin? Are design blogs and the burgeoning interest in design among the hoi polloi (that would be me and you, people) causing trends to cycle in and out ever faster?

Post a comment and let me know.


deerseason87 said...

I think that if anything, the "democratization of design" would prolong trends, because instead of being limited to an elite group, they are now available to the masses. Which means that ordinary people who would like to put some antlers up in their living room but cannot afford the designer version, will spot the discounted version a year later and be thrilled to hang it. I think another result will be a greater demand for good design, and personal style, which ideally would eradicate "trends" alltogether! Have you seen the Curiosity Shoppe interview in "San Francisco" magazine this month? If more and more people insist on well-designed products, our options will only increase.

erinn said...

I feel so strongly that it should all be about personal taste. We should surround ourselves with things that you we love whether they are current or last years trend or a timeless classic. I encourage all my clients to do the same. RE: antlers...My husband hunts, so we have had antlers in our home since I met him in 2000 and will always have them. My challenge is to keep our house looking fresh and modern WITH the antlers. I truly enjoy keeping up with the latest trends but am slow to adopt them until I am sure that it's something I will want long term. I also agree with deerseason87. Why should we be so snooty about it, that if it's something the mainstream likes it's now dead? Good design is just a way of life in the Scandinavian countries. I hope that at some point the US could be like that and not so elitist.

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Pigtown*Design said...

Great Minds! I did a post on the exact same thing...

alissa said...

I havent read the article yet, so maybe it discusses it farther-but I'm surprised to see the "green" products as a trend. Its actually disappointing-you would hope products like that wouldnt be a trend but become a staple. But like I said, I need to read the article!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, the only place that these things are REALLY played out is in the magazines. I know no one who has incorporated any of these trends. Ordinary individuals find one inspiration that speaks to them and they go with it. Yeah, the uber riche can afford to follow each and every trend, and they can get tired of seeing "their" living room decor in the magazines. But I think the average Joe decorator picks one or two of these fads and incorporates them into their normal, everyday style; punching it up with some kick, trendy inspiration. Just because the media jumps on and proliferates one original idea until it is suffocatingly oppressive does not mean it isn't a good idea; there just isn't enough original thinking in publishing apparently.

Unknown said...

I read that article, and found it just more typical Times navel-gazing. These writers love to see trends, love to predict them, see them arrive, and gleefully tell them not to let the door hit their antler chandelier on the way out.

Still, they're right about some things. I think antlers and "lodge chic" are done. However, how many people actually put them in their homes? Not many. The "done" is that you won't be seeing them in design magazines or blogs anymore. I think people will still buy bamboo (and other "green") home products as long as they're functional and not significantly more expensive than the more standard types. I have to say I love my bamboo cutting board and "wooden" spoons for cooking. And then in five years it will be a story again about how bamboo has made such inroads into American homes.

Juliette said...

well the coral motif came and went, and it was mass produced too and is still purchased. even though we're not loaded I still appreciate seeing new things and not one particular thing appearing everywhere. I've had it with the bird motif, the antler motif, the baroque motif, lucite chairs, and ABOVE ALL: the mid-century modern thing. Honestly, the houses that are all MCM are just as bad as the all Pottery Barn houses: boring.

I really want to see more emphasis on how to mix it all together without looking too hodge-podgy.

Trends are fun for accent, and design mags/blogs should be showing articles on a trend "overdone in a whole house" b/c it gives the audience ideas on how to use a little trend in a different way than their neighbor might do so. BUT they also have a responsibility to the audience to report what's new, and I think they've been slacking on that front.

I just say down with homogenization and please, show us what's new and tell us how to mix it with other classic pieces we have. Quit catering to the mass producers and the dollar and focus more on the guts of design.

Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating said...

This topic always makes me a bit defensive. There's nothing I hate more than having uppity, high-and-mighty designers telling me what I should and shouldn't like. If I like something, I'm gonna use it...regardless of the "trends". And I'm in Texas, where I can assure you that cowhide rugs and items made with antlers will NEVER be out of style.

i suwannee said...

i'm guilty of at least three - and i have no intentions of getting rid of any of them next year. except for the suzani. cat peed on it = dunzo. and i hope "green" products become less of a trend, and more of a norm. i think its important that high end designers have embraced the idea - b/c that's what make things desirable -- them being percieved as luxurious.


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