Plenty of the latest fabric, wallpaper, rug and drapery hardware designs were on display last week in Hartford, when DesignSourceCT hosted a show of new collections from 30 lines.
The question among the local designers who attended, though, was whether their clients would bite.
Watertown. "It's hard to get them out of their comfort level," she said. "I feel like a psychiatrist … I tell them, 'This isn't going to hurt!' "
Valentina Guenther, an interior designer from Durham, said she particularly liked the crinkled sheers from Romo, including one style in white with fuchsia. "It really is lovely," she said. "I just wish people in Durham were more into this look."
Helen Richardson, of Helen Richardson Interiors in Cheshire, praised the new wallpapers from Thibaut, a fresh collection strong on happy colors such as lavender, hot pink and orange, a "Glitter Grass" metallic grasscloth and designs embossed with cork and a damask pattern on gold leaf paper.
"Thibaut is always fresh and has a little edge to it, and that's what New England needs," Richardson said.
Newer themes recurring in several of the collections included crewel embroidery, ikat prints, geometrics and florals that look rain-washed.
Joseph DeChiaro, a sales representative with Romo Fabrics & Wallcoverings, said blues continue to dominate the color palette in central Connecticut, along with wasabi green. As for the enduring appeal of blue and green together, he said, "the closer you get to water, the more it sells."
Yet he said he recently has had a lot of requests for the color combination of red and gray. And Terry Murphy, a representative with Masland Rug Collection, said purple and gray are strong color trends.
A highlight of the show was Oscar de la Renta's new home fabrics for Lee Jofa, many of them styled with haute couture dressmaker details. The collection includes brilliant satins teamed with large-scale Jacobean prints, bold crewel-embroidered florals, silks interspersed with bands of colored velvet stripes, a Deco print in regal garnet and purple, and lively zigzags of grosgrain ribbons. A geometric embroidery called "Abyssinia" includes hand-stitched French knots.
The challenging economy has not gone unnoticed by the manufacturers.
"We're not afraid to use the word 'value,' " said Rick Reyes, representative with Stout Fabrics.
Mike Pietraszek, a sales representative with Duralee Fabrics, which produces luxury, mid-level and lower-end lines, said being diverse in this economy is key: "It's been a little bit of a trade-down market, more bread and butter."
For example, a few years ago Duralee offered a silk embroidered with pussywillows. The same pussywillow embroidery now is also available on a sturdier cotton ground.
For further details and additional photos from this show, go to CT DIGS at http://www.courant.com/ctdigs.