Rustic remains, but prepare for change
Customer trends are hard to predict. Who would have thought that long wooden farm tables would become popular among the bridal set? Or that the burlap look would become the linen of choice?
“Trends are becoming less about just what’s on top of the table and more about what is under and around the table,” says Douglas Crowe, CERP, chief operating officer, Event Equipment Sales, Hodgkins, Ill.
“We have found corporate events and social events are trending in two very different directions. Corporate events are focused on custom branding and technology through LED lighting. Corporations are utilizing all surfaces to project light or images to convey the theme of the event. A clean, minimalistic white floor offers a raw pallette that best picks up the bright, dynamic light generated by LEDs,” Crowe says.
Meanwhile, he says, “social events are trending in a much different direction. Vintage is very popular from coast to coast. Rustic designs and muted colors are still the craze. Social events are pushing us to design new products that create a ‘vintage’ look. We recently introduced a new version of portable dance floor named ‘smoked oak’ to complement the vintage theme with a darker, more distressed finish.”
For A-1 Tablecloth Co., South Hackensack, N.J., one of these trends has been table runners. “Runners have become increasingly popular,” says Oren Fox, A-1 Tablecloth Co.’s president. “As a result, we have added eight additional fabrics to our rental program including faux burlap. They measure 12 in. by 108 in. and come with pointed ends.”
Perry Glickman, sales manager, Ultimate Textile, Paterson, N.J., agrees. “Our Havana faux burlap remains popular. Available in natural or white, the two shades of faux burlap are often paired together to create a clean contrast between the natural rustic shade and fresh linen-like look of white,” Glickman says. He adds that for some customers, having an all-natural event is essential. “For those demanding the real thing, 100 percent jute burlap is also available,” he says.
For Premiere Party Central/Premiere Tents & Events, Austin, Texas, trends include “mismatched china, crystal glassware and neutral tones, including gray, taupe and ivory. In our market, vintage and modage (modern vintage) continue to be strong,” says Delores Crum, CERP, president.
“Texas-themed table tops are always in fashion here, particularly with out-of-town brides or brides with a number of out-of-town guests. Succulents, Mason jars, burlap and faux burlap, often mixed with lace or ‘calico’ style prints,” Crum says.
Another element of décor that goes along with rustic is monochromatic figures, says Robert Hughes, CERP, director of special events, All Occasions Event Rental, Cincinnati. “This includes white owls and white pumpkins. The rustic/farm/vintage look remains strong for social events. Milk glass, hobnail votives and centerpiece containers fit well with this look,” he says.
This summer, classic patterns made a comeback, not only in fashion, but heavy in the décor arena. “Patterns, such as Chevron, are growing in popularity. Specifically in the navy color,” Fox says. Mary Kerr, vice president, operations, Tablecloth Co., Paterson, N.J., agrees. “Geometric patterns, like chevron and chain link, are becoming very popular.”
“Geometrics remain strong in linens — overlays, runners, napkins — and décor,” says Joanne Kelly, CERP, event consultant, All Occasions Event Rental, Cincinnati. “Dots will come on strong in 2014.”
At the same time, glitz and glamour, with a throwback to the 1920s, also has come to light, thanks in part to the 2013 movie, “The Great Gatsby.” “Gatsby was huge in spring and summer, but not quite as strong now,” Crum says. Still, Crum predicts rental stores may want the following items for holiday parties: midnight black glassware and gold flatware. Also, “linens that say glitz and glamour, and elegant china,” she says.
Hughes of All Occasions says they are seeing the Gatsby effect for weddings and adult social events, “and graffiti glam for the younger crowd,” he adds.
As customers begin to plan holiday events, also consider keeping traditional prints on hand. “Prints such as Santa and Jingle, as well as our Christmas Plaid will be must-have fabrics,” Fox says. In addition, “for these events, metallic accents are still in demand,” Kerr says.
Also, says Elizabeth Wilson, CERP, president, All Occasions Event Rental, Cincinnati, “invest in red and or green stemware and mix it with older inventory for an updated look. Small individual dishes and unique glasses for cocktail parties can be used for unusual serving options. Colored glassware is an easy way to dress up a table with little effort.”
Pantone® already has released its Spring Fashion Report for 2014. Spring’s colors include a Hemlock green, a bright Cayenne red, a Radiant Orchid, Celosia Orange, a Dazzling Blue and a Freesia golden yellow.
Currently, Glickman says, “solid colors, particularly those of the blue and green shades are popular. These include emerald green, teal, cobalt blue and lagoon. For 2014, fashion cues indicate royal, lilac, sand, light blue and soft shades of orange and red trending.
It seems these shades in the form of textured fabric will prove popular.”
Hughes of All Occasions says he sees more pattern and texture in linens, as well as large scale floral prints and bright colors, and more unique rental pieces. “Rental companies need to stretch and look into customizing and building their own props/tables for their market. The rustic look will remain strong in weddings, hopefully a step up from hay bales and Mason jars,” he says.
“Cobalt should be huge in 2014, although we never really saw that much preference for emerald this year or tangerine last year,” Crum adds.
“I keep thinking colored glassware will catch on, and I expect the gold and silver rimmed, along with the etched and cut crystal, to be strong. Shaped plates aren’t nearly as popular as they were, and I don’t expect that they’ll resurface in the coming year. I think the mismatched look will continue, and that coordinating or contrasting salad plates will continue to be used on white china,” she says.