Fashion trends: From the catwalk to your living room

Ever wonder where furniture fashion trends come from? Maybe from the mind of some fashion guru in an Armani suit sitting on top of a mountain contemplating next year's designs? Not really. How about from the people who actually design our sofas, chairs, and so on? No again. They actually start, where logic tells you they would, on catwalks all over the world.

Over the years, the Paris catwalks have pretty much dictated the latest fashions. Every spring vibrant hues and creative styles flounce down the runway, and the best designs are picked up and sold in the most prestigious boutiques. Many of the new dresses, shoes and accessories can immediately be seen on the most popular, famous and infamous people around the globe. And those same colors, patterns and designs are picked up by the news media and designers, universally promoted and displayed, creating a popular appeal that results in them turning up in the most unlikely places. Like on your new sectional or sofa.

Where do the creators of that sectional get their inspiration? From the catwalks, through Pantone, one of the world's leading authorities on color, who every year polls fashion designers from around the world for their choices on the newest and latest colors. Including (and most importantly) the designers preparing fashions for the Paris shows. They collect all the thoughts and opinions, organize them, and release their Fashion Color Report, announcing the "in" colors for the year.

Within weeks of Pantone releasing this year's Report, Sherwin Williams, Behr, Benjamin Moore and other paintmakers were hyping Radiant Orchid, their newest shade and Pantone's 2014 color of the year. And very soon after that, fashion conscious stores were complementing Radiant Orchid with Cayenne, Aurora Red, Misted Yellow, Celosia Orange, Cognac, Cobalt Blue and Placid Blue (to name just a few) in their showrooms. On the walls, in new upholstery designs and patterns, accent furniture, throw pillows and much more.

Because with the instant information available on the internet, and today's innovative manufacturing processes, it no longer takes years for the "in" colors to translate to furniture - or to reach your living room. Almost as soon as the first Prada stiletto heel hits the runway, you can start planning your interior design colors, using Pantone's website. Start with the wallpaper or paint, then choose your furniture colors to compliment that look. Your choices are practically unlimited, but don't feel lost. Many of the larger furniture stores, like Mathis Brothers, have a covey of talented interior designers to help you along the way.

Surprisingly, it doesn't have to be nearly as expensive as you might think. Jonathan Louis, for example, is always in the forefront in contemporary fashion colors and design. Take a look and you'll find they have a wide variety of sofas, chairs and sectionals in the latest "in" colors. What's great about Jonathan Louis, though, is their custom order policy. Change the color on just about any of their designs to the ones that are right for you, and there's no extra "up" charge. You pay the same price as you would for their "readymades."

Although the showroom floor in a large furniture store is certainly a great place to start, with more than a hundred sofas to see and sit on, you can find literally thousands more options if the store has a Design Center. There you can sit down with a designer and look through patterns, colors and textures from name brands like Broyhill, Century, Henredon and Marge Carson, to find the exact style that fits your taste and lifestyle, and create it yourself! And that service is usually free.

The miracle of modern communications has shrunk the time it takes for the latest fashions to move from the Paris catwalk to your living room from years to weeks. Especially with fashion conscious stores, whose buyers and designers make it their goal to bring you the latest fashions, taste and styles. And who can fill their stores with the highest quality furniture at the lowest possible prices, backed by the company's reputation and buying power.

Just remember, the whole process pretty much starts with models flouncing down the Paris catwalks. So the next time you walk into a store like Mathis Brothers Furniture with your brand new Louis Vuitton purse and see a recliner in the same leather and color, don't go into shock. It's just progress, and you're in style.



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