Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fabric trends for Summer/Spring 2011

It’s been an absolute delight researching the new fabric trends for the start of 2011. The colours are ‘yummy’, eyecatching and happy: and this is exactly the feeling they are trying to evoke.

The main thrust of the design aesthetic behind the new (Northern Hemisphere) Spring and the (Southern Hemisphere) Summer 2011 fashion and interior design fabric collections is still escapism from the drudgery of the global financial recession. We’re still looking for images, prints and colours that remind us of the happier times gone by.

For children’s fabrics, the key is providing them with ‘safe harbour’ from the outside world – so much like the second half of 2010, you’ll see more timeless, old fashioned, joyful colours and prints of animals like birds, dragonflies and butterflies, or old fashioned bicycles, unicycles, hot air balloons or trucks for boys.

However, it’s not just more of the same in fabrics – we’re looking at a fresh new palette of colours to brighten our days.


Pantone, the world’s foremost colour forecasting expert, has declared “Honeysuckle pink” the colour of the New Year in 2011. Turquoise, which was the 2010 colour of the year, is still in the ‘top 10’ palette for 2011, (see top of this post), which Pantone compiles from from all the designers' runway shows at New York Fashion Week in September each year (including our own Rebecca Taylor) . For 2011 the top palette includes minty greens (called peapod), teals, blues, purples, beeswax yellows, oranges and corals, paired with the basics of chocolate, russet, silver and oyster grey.

On the street, for us everyday mums, the new fashion trends translate to breezy kaftans and maxi dresses with flowing designs, paired with our everyday basics of khaki and brown seperates. You can particularly see these colour trends in the Country Road, Karen Walker and Max’s new collections I’ve gathered up and pasted here. Pantone’s comment was that designers have been mindful of consumers’ need for practicality and have offered options to “extend and embellish” our current wardrobes (hurrah!).

At the Dulux Colour Forecast Roadshow last week in Auckland, their global experts presented their paint colour forecast for 2011-2012, and mirrored the same colour trends for our homes. Absolutely fabulous New Zealand interior designer Sarah Kerr described them as luscious ‘heirloom colours’, noting in particular greens, smoky ink blues and purples coming through, paired with furniture in distressed finishes and a range of textured, natural upholstery materals. To show you what they both mean, check out these interior images from the latest US High Point Market report.

In children’s rooms, the most popular colour for both boys and girls is still blue, whether pale, turquoise or duck egg - or every blue tone in between.


Prints dominate new fabric collections this season. As Dulux’s colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr noted, “minimalism is so out”. The key trends are:

1) Traditional and vintage prints – our desire to reconnect with the past and with wholesome, authentic experiences continues, bringing us more vintage, damask, tapestry, baroque and now also lace-inspired designs. Karen Walker’s range (pictured) showcases this trend in particular. A new point of difference in this group of styles is a new geometric edge, credited to the phenomenon of the TV show Mad Men – there's a 70s, retro, ‘mad world’ nostalgia creeping in.

2) Exotic, Eastern adventures – often described as the ‘tribal’ trend, designers are looking towards travel and adventure in exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey for inspiration in pattern. Pantone says it is to “satisfy consumers' need to escape everyday challenges with intriguing color combinations that transport them to foreign lands.”

(NB: I’ve noticed an exciting mix of these two trends: tribal influences blurring traditional damask with the introduction of ‘ikat’ motifs – see the Country Road examples pictured further up here. )

3) Parisienne chic – bringing the nautical stripes and military focus of our recent winter forward into the new season, this trend of old style French influences focus on pinstripes, reds, blacks and whites, and also bring us “Heraldic symbols, fleur de lies, and quarterfoils fit for a castle on the Seine”, High Point says.

4) Botanicals – there’s a strong return to plant imagery, classical florals, water and bird imagery, mostly drawn by hand, so that they become less fussy images than in the past and more artistic. As well as owls, peacocks and birds in antique cages, butterflies, dragonflies, insects and fish come through strongly.

5) Old fashioned vehicles and play toys – timeless treasures and fairy tales continue to dominate prints for children or family rooms, and several speakers at the Dulux Roadshow pointed out the Union Jack image used particularly for little boys.


Our huge commitment to 100% cotton fabrics – both in terms of quality and the environment, continues. However leading designers are also including cotton/linen and hemp combinations (see Yardage Design for my favourite examples). In yarns, there’s a growing interest in crochet and Japanese amigurami patterns (see this cool post on lil magoolie ); while beautiful patterns in oil cloth are now being imported, for easy-wipe surfaces (see my column here). A sneak mention at a trend for next winter: flock geometrics, velvet and velveteen!!!


While I still adore Amy Butler and Heather Bailey’s textile designs, I’ve widened my heart to the whimsical fairy tale imagery of Heather Ross, the gentle sophisticated botanical and French designs of Patricia Bravo, and the stroppy vintage/boho delight of colours coming through from the amazing Anna Maria Horner. The amazing Japanese textile manufacturers such as Kokka and Echino particularly showcase the trend in prints for vehicles, old fashioned cameras and radio cassettes for kids too.

Check them all out and watch this space for how these designers have influenced my new lily pad pram liners Summer 2011 collection, launching at my retailers from mid December!


  1. These colours are so beautiful, I can't wait to see them on the new lily pads!

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