Trend House Update
by Nicki Gondell

What's In Store for Holiday Giftwrap and Ribbon Trends (December, 2003)

Key trends for holiday giftwrap and ribbon designs range from the very contemporary to the exotic look of the casbah. The key design stories that we see dominating the holiday scene can be titled colorful living, wild thing, celestial season, swept away, and the casbah.

Very Contemporary
This trend captures the fresh and colorful spirit that typified '50s optimism at the dawning of the post-WWII consumer culture. Art, architecture, fashion and interior design reflected a forward-looking, style: confident, life-affirming and optimistic. There were so many new materials and concepts coming to the market, and so many choices that many dubbed the situation a "delightful confusion".

Colorful Living
One of the fundamental principles of Contemporary design is to create interesting color contrasts rather than coordinates. The psychology of color plays an important role in design and color that was said to make one feel years younger. The color palette includes comforting earth tones, calming mid-tones and enlivening brights.

Practical and Playful
Practical and playful biomorphic shapes were a key inspiration for designers: ants, swans, butterflies and eggs provided classic references.

Fun and Flirty
Preceding the '60s youthquake, pretty city wardrobes were unabashedly feminine, and ladylike dressing was a status symbol.

Recolored Classics
Today we apply these principles to product design to give a fresh twist to classics.

Flat pre-pop floral porcelain patterns are key with an emphasis on overlapping circles, spheres and orbs.

Polka dots and stripes are randomly mixed and playfully colored in unexpected contrasts.

Decorative Laminates
Linoleum and Formica patterns provide a wealth of inspiration.

Curvilinear shapes and colors are inspired by Venetian glass and decorative home furnishings.

Highly Graphic
New geometrics in vivid color contrasts create visual impact.

Cut-outs and saw tooth patterns result in beautiful tension with empty space.

Boldly painted earthenware in a variety of silhouettes give stripes a new landscape and add an artisinal note to any environment.

Wild Thing
The pulse of the jungle is the backdrop for the power and imagination of primitive rituals and celebrations, channeled for modern life.

Hot Flashes
Hot brights and neons give nature's palette an exciting jolt of energy.

Signs and Symbols
Masks, totems and amulets tell stories of ancient worlds and peoples.

Primitive Beauty
Tribal markings and ornamentation are their own secret language.

Super saturated colors, intricate patterns and exotic beadwork create frenzy.

Techno Tribal
Ancient languages are revived with new technologies.

Petals and Pods
Prints and patterns are influenced by jungle vegetation; organic shapes, veiny leaves and striated stems.

Raffia and Jute
Lush vegetation turns into beautiful, weaveable materials; raffia, jute and sisal are dried, dyed and woven into beautiful patterns.

Tropical Splendor
Tropical birds, flora and fauna are the inspiration for wild and colorful trims.

Celestial Season
A beautiful and magical white-on-white winterscape; a peaceful landscape blanketed in snow, where frosty surfaces are gently illuminated by starry winter skies and holiday lights.

Icy and Magical
The color palette is cool and ethereal with an emphasis on frozen and fractured blues and purples, worked back with black ice and diamonds.

Sleek and Wet
Surfaces are sleek and wet, glistening with melted snow and winter rain.

Frosted and Illuminated
Frosty, crackled finishes gleam to create translucent aurora borealis effects.

Glistening Crystals
Ice crystals shimmer and shine with a lunar glow.

Etched Patterns
Transparent and opaque techniques create tone-on-tone effects like intricate patterns on etched glass or hand-drawn designs on frosty windowpanes.

Snowy Softness
Snowy drifts create mountains of softness.

Snowflake Origami
Simple cut-outs and perforations use positive/negative space to create interesting patterns.

Jeweled baubles like beaded snowflakes, glass barrel beads, crystal prisms and mirrored balls reflect and refract light to create a festive environment on any scale.

Glacial Glamour
Ice princesses and drama queens hold court in a frozen kingdom.

Ethereal angels bedecked in snowy feathers bring a message of peace and goodwill to all.

Swept Away
A romantic tale of love on a secluded island; shipwrecked, star-crossed lovers frolic in the sand against a backdrop of blue water and open skies.

A sun-bleached desert island color palette based around soft mineral tones of coral and turquoise, worked back with sandy neutrals and bleached seashell pastels.

Washed Ashore
Washed ashore onto a beautiful and unspoiled island paradise; fending for oneself in nature, appreciating salvaged items, rope and rigging.

Materials are weathered and tangled, and put together in an artfully disheveled way.

Natural Beauty
Treasures from the sea are strung together in salty tonalities for highly personalized ornamentation.

Shells and Sand
Opalescent crushed shells, abalone and sea glass create a glittering montage.

Pebbles and Minerals
The natural ripples and waves of pebbles and minerals inspire curvilinear patterns.

Bikini and Sarong Prints
Sun bleached and faded bikini and sarong prints sit beautifully against dried wood surfaces.

Rough and Refined
Sandy starfish and freshwater pearls dance along the water's edge creating a stunning mix of texture.

Aquatic Effects
Reflective, aquatic surfaces give the illusion of depth, and patterns are wavy and distorted as if viewed underwater.

Underwater Wonder
Inspiration comes from under the sea: marine life, plants, coral, algae, seaweed and sponge.

Pirates Booty
What a thrill to discover the rough-cut gems and sea-hammered metal of a buried treasure washed ashore!

A mythical journey to a beautiful and seductive land, where opulent palaces adorned with elaborate ornamentation overflow with enticing flavors and fragrances, and exotic bazaars are bursting with color and texture.

Two important levels of color; first the warm, rich palette inspired by the mix of aromatic spices and intense flavors, both hot and sweet.

And also, a range of perfumed saturated brights to work alongside nature's neutrals and in combination with the spice tones.

Haagen Dazs' new ice cream flavors reflect our desire to experiment with unexpected taste sensations; chocolate mixes with chiles, caramel mixes with cumin.

Exotic Mixes
Surfaces and textiles are rich and decorative.

Morocco Rococo
Patterns are inspired by Moorish architecture: wooden screens, latticework, moucharabieh, tile work, aubussons and tapestries.

Glazed Tiles
Ancient florals and geometric patterns are revisited in rich glazed finishes.

Magic Carpets
Magnificent carpets and tapestries are gathered from exotic bazaars.

Ikats and Kilims
Intricately woven ikats and kilims are recolored in surprising combinations.

Arabesques and Filigrees
Aged and hammered surfaces form ornate and sophisticated backdrops.

Veiled Layers
Beautiful gauzy layers conceal and reveal.

Four Trends Drive Well-Dressed Revelers to Celebrate the Holidays (November, 2003)

The well-dressed reveler will have plenty to celebrate this holiday season. Holiday '03 is looking to be very festive indeed! Party-goers and gift-givers alike will delight in colorful, graphic and embellished outlook thanks to the influence of several powerful megatrends: escapism, nostalgia and multi-culturalism.

Glam. Desperately seeking shoulderpads? Given the glum economic/political forecast and general angst in the zeitgeist, it's no wonder we're longing for a moment of 80's style hedonism. An optimistic swirl of jewel tones, rhinestones and batwings is heading our way. Prepare to put a little flash in your dance!

Mod. It's a mod mod mod mod world! The Carnaby cult continues with geometric everything and lots of bold color, contrasts and cut-outs. This retro, space-age story has a hint of humor and a distinctly English accent.

The Tough. Motorcycle chic roars into fashion with a new pack of biker leather and heavy metal. Studs, chains, zippers and padding form a protective rock-coon.

Folkloric. The artistry of the past is celebrated in a collaborative mosaic of east-meets-west, ancient-meets-modern colors, patterns and styles. Kimono, let's go!

Post-Bubble Marketing and Design (November, 2003)

The Cultural Clime

If we look at the current consumer climate, we note quite a bit of angst in the zeitgeist: rampant unemployment, a collapsing middle class, extended work weeks, a shrinking dollar, mounting debt and bankruptcies, and a swirl of media hype, propaganda and lies. Is it any wonder we're not spending like we used to? So what can we, retailers, manufacturers, designers and marketers do to help? What do consumers want?

1. Truth: hype-free zones, regaining trust, good corporate citizenship 2. Meaning: emotional intelligence, quintessential design, artistic expression 3. Health: individual (obesity, smoking), planetary (conservation, sustainability) 4. Value: "masstige" (prestige design at mass prices) 5. Design solutions: simplicity, convenience, universal design 6. Escape: humor, whimsy, nostalgia.

The Carlin International Trend Forecast for Fall 2004/05 (October, 2003)

This season we present four key trends:

  • Scenario: A sensual story of seduction and refined luxury;

  • Perceptions: A graphic story of functional urban wear blended with the retro-furturistic shapes;

  • Vertigo: A colorful story of body-conscious fashion in a time of artificial beauty and the relentless pursuit of youth;

  • Coaching: A dynamic story of sport performance and rugged workwear, mixing personal training with team spiritedness.

Fashion, art and architecture are increasingly influencing each other. In order to best understand emerging fashion trends, it is often helpful to look at the influence of important movements, past and present, in art, architecture, music and technology and why they are relevant to us today. Therefore, at the start of each fashion trend, we will show a few of the key influences that helped to shape each story.

And now we begin …

1. Scenario

Our first story is an ode to seduction, inspired by “singles culture” -- research suggests that the number of single men and women worldwide will continue to grow. The success of speed dating and internet dating is testament to the desire to meet and connect. Seduction becomes a game for both men and women to play.

Like an old Hollywood studio shot, we seek to “set the stage” in order to show themselves in the best possible light. Current cinema, photography and fashion are inspired by the poster art of the British realist Jack Vittriano, the elegant attitudes of Henry Clarke’s models in the 1950’s, and the sophisticated environment of the highly narrative paintings of Edward Hopper, one of the inspirations behind Todd Haynes’ recent film, “Far From Heaven”.

This 1940’s sensibility is voluptuous, yet refined. Glamour is discreet, and not vulgar.

Materials are sensual and calming.

Charming and glamorous femme fatales flirt with dashing ladies’ men

2. Perceptions

This next trend is about perception and perspective. We are asked to change our perspective, look at things in a new way, from a different angle. The trend is influenced by the art movement Expressionism, in which the intention is not to reproduce a subject accurately, but instead to portray it in such a way as to express the inner state of the artist. Other influences are the emotionally-charged styles of Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism. This influence can now be seen in contemporary graphics, poetry and art.

Contemporary artists and designers play with new proportions and volumes, a central theme in fashion today. For example, the huge and imposing works of the sculptor Louise Bourgeois use wood, paper, metal, latex, cloth, marble, and other materials to create abstract pieces.

Works by the artist Chuck Close help us to see that distance creates clarity; close-range pixelized squares come clearly into focus once you walk away.

Early computers and retro-tech graphics inspire quirky prints and patterns.

Playing with letters and words creates new symbols. The graphics art pioneer John Maeda explores the connection between computer programming and aesthetic design, and the poet Apollinaire arranges words to create an image illustrating the poem.

Don’t stop at the first impression; let the picture fully develop, and appreciate all the shades of grey as it does …

3. Vertigo

Longing for a freer time, full of creative energy and imagination, we fondly remember the graphic expression and color explosion of the 1980’s.

The media at the time conveyed new images of powerful females at the emergence of “body culture”.

Our current desire for the pursuit of youth and firmness has led to a boom in cosmetic surgery. Glossy perfection straight out of the magazines is the standard.

Contemporary artists like Matthew Barney and Jeff Koons play on the idea of transformation and artificial reality by creating worlds of mythical and dreamlike realism.

Extreme lights, sound, images and color create vertigo.

4. Coaching

This last story is inspired by the increasing popularity of coaches and personal trainers in all aspects of life. Originally stemming from sport, coaching now extends into a wide range of activities including cultural coaches who arrange gallery tours according to consumer tastes and creative coaches who help teams of researchers find new solutions. This trend mixes aspects of competitive sport, authentic workwear, rustic folklore and techno updates.

The mixing of individualism and team spirit influences fashion designers to explore the idea of hybrid creativity and cross-branding: Comme de Garcon sells reworked Levis with double tags, and Future Labor Union unites American designers at Klurk with Japanese designers at Lift Co.

The sense of collaboration is seen across all fields of design. We are experiencing a time when technology and ecology come together.

The story is full of dynamic energy; and a team spirit.

New design and entertainment innovations mix elements of animation, film and music, a perfect example is the ever more sophisticated and interactive video game.

All About the "Alpha Betty" (August, 2003)

Can thousands of years of biological programming be turned upside down by 50 years of social change? Seems so. Age-old mating rituals dictated the desirability of landing the Alpha Male to insure that the offspring would be strong, and well-provided for. But more and more women are discovering and developing their own alpha qualities, which present new options. As the playing field levels, women become freer to celebrate their strength and their femininity.

Rethinking the Fairy Tale
Today there are so many opportunities for women outside the traditional role of wife and mother. No longer are women dependent on husbands for financial security; men are viewed as partners, not providers.

Women have very serious choices to make. A new book by Salvia Ann Hewlett entitled "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest For Children" asserts that many ambitious young career women are heading for disappointment if they spend their prime child-bearing years establishing careers and hoping to start at family at age 35 or beyond. 42% of high-achieving women in corporate America are childless at age 40, and for women who earn more than $100,000 the figure rises to 49%. While this is a choice for many, for others it becomes a painful, unexpected reality. But slowing down to start a family means you may never catch up.

Having it All
Women are realizing that the dream of having it all, career, family and social life, may be but a dream after all. Multi-tasking, pressed for time and pulled in many directions, the answer to having "it all" or at least "most of it" lies in efficient multi-tasking.

Making the Dough
Women are now primary breadwinners, as well as the bread bakers. Studies show that in dual-income families where both partners work outside the home, women are the primary household managers and primary caretakers of children.

Spending the Dough
By 2010 women are expected to control $1 trillion, or 60 percent of the country's wealth (Gallup/Businessweek poll). According to a recent Nielsen report, women have responsibility for 75 percent of family finances and 80 percent of purchasing decisions.

What does this all mean? Women are flexible. Women's flexible approach is influencing design.

Nurturing/rounder products
One popular design theory asserts that when there is fear, uncertainty and doubt in the world, products get rounder. This was certainly true in the post WWII '50s when curvilinear shapes were everywhere from furniture to fashion. In today's volatile political climate, we are seeing a definite softening of edges and a move towards more comforting, amorphic forms. These voluptuous forms are reminiscent of Botero's celebration of femininity.

Softening the News
Alpha Betty's great influence on the marketplace can be seen across many products categories previously considered "male" - beer, SUV's and technology. At the recent CES show in Las Vegas, JVC rolled out a line of car stereos designed for women, marketing the blue and green radios exclusively in women's magazines and through a deal with cosmetic brand Urban Decay, which will sell nail polish in the same green and blue.

Solo Sisters
"Never-marrieds" are one of the fastest-growing growing groups in America, according to the US Census Bureau. Singles constitute more than 40 percent of the adult population; 10 percent of all adults will never marry. Accordingly the solo woman's market, defined as never-married women ages 25 to 44, will approach $200 billion by 2006. Singles often lean on a tight-knit "family" of friends who do everything form helping paint each other's apartments to taking vacations together -- even raising children together.

Seeking Contentment
In this time of rapid change, women will continue to seek contentment and fulfillment - finding balance - and ultimately find the perfect balance.

Striving for a balanced life, characterized by emotional, physical, spiritual and financial well-being. No longer are femininity and strength mutually exclusive. Embracing the new opportunities and challenges that confront her, Alpha Betty is finding a way to "have it all."

Design Elements
The feminization of design brings rounded shapes and softer colors. Materials have surface interest and tactility to help create an emotional connection: powdery, brushed, sueded and shimmering surfaces. New synthetic materials like shape-memory alloys create a sense of familiarity and comfort. Lightweight technology is important for handbag transporting. Pale diffused colors are inspired by the continuous rebirth of nature, and used in subtle tonalities. Ross Lovegrove's water bottle is a beautiful example of the feminization of design with its soft, sensual organic forms that provide an emotionally seductive appeal.

Trend House ( was founded by Nicki Gondell in 1999 as an international marketing and design consulting firm specializing in the forecasting of trends for the fashion, home interiors and consumer products markets. Trend information is available in published and custom formats. Trend House has partnerships with several of Europe's leading trend forecasting publishers, including Carlin International and Zes Studio, to provide color, design and merchandising direction. Trend House clients include Avon Products, Bath and Body Works, The Coca-Cola Company, Estee Lauder, Fisher-Price, Jockey, Kenneth Cole, Kimberley-Clark, Lancôme, Liz Claiborne, Lowes Home Improvement Centers, MTV/Nickelodeon, Nautica, Nike, Palm Pilot, Sony, Sears, Target, Timberland, Timex and Victoria's Secret.

Contact Visibility Public Relations for additional information.

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