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Trend Watch Tuesday: Return to Opulence

Whether the economy is any predictor of fashion and home decor trends is anybody's guess. I always thought that it was. Yet in stores right now I see an overabundance of black and gray women's fashions --  usually the case when the economic mood is glum.

If today's fashions suggest a dire economic outlook, home furnishings trends suggest the opposite. What's trending now is a return to opulence, and what furniture manufacturers will reveal this week as the fall market opens in High Point, North Carolina is just that.

Look at the designs of the industry's top designers. At April's Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York City, the return to opulence was best illustrated by the interior designs of Alexa Hampton and Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Alexa's room featured wallcovering replicating Moroccan Mudejar tiles, a velvet sofa and tufted banquette trimmed with metallic bullion fringe and lambrequin window treatments in blue taffeta with smocked headings.

                                            Photograph by Timothy Bell courtesy of Architectural Digest

Save for the $2 paper lanterns Alexa fashioned into a chandelier, the room defines grandeur.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard furnished his space -- the Grand Entry -- also with luxurious fabrics and finishes. The wallcovering was inspired by marbleized paper. Brass, lacquer and silk velvet augmented the old world flavor of his palette.

                   

                                                      Photograph by Timothy Bell courtesy of Architectural Digest

Silks, velvets, lacquers, bronze and other metallic finishes were overwhelmingly represented at Kips Bay.

Another example of the trend toward opulence is represented in the style shift I'm seeing from Kelly Wearstler. Kelly catapulted the Hollywood Regency style into the mainstream. Typical of this style are mirrored case goods, black and white lacquer finishes and abundant tufting. I saw a decidedly different vibe from Kelly in the apartment she designed for Cameron Diaz featured last year in Elle Decor.

                          

                                                Photo by William Abranowicz courtesy of Elle Decor

The apartment's kitchen features a backsplash, counters and fittings of unlacquered brass; brass trim on green lacquered cabinets; and cerused ebony-stained wood floors.

And how about this bathroom? Antiqued glass tiles, brass hardware and sinks, and a parchment-covered vanity adorn this space.

                           

                                                         Photo by William Abranowicz courtesy of Elle Decor

Indicative of the the return to opulence are furnishings debuting later this week at the 2014 High Point Fall Market. For example, this Westbury Dressing Chest by Kindel Furniture, a revival of a 1939 Dorothy Draper design, features solid brass drawer pulls and gold leaf accents.

                            

Regina Andrew Design is introducing this Sea Fan Chandelier in shiny brass.

                                                     

And Worlds Away is debuting this Braxton media console with rosewood veneer and a gold leaf base.

                        

Charles Spada, the Boston-based designer and antiques dealer, recently answered the question "What’s exciting about the design community right now?" with the following:

“The resurgence of quality furnishings and fabrics, the revival of antiques, and most important,  the end of 1950s motel-lobby-like decorating.”

This statement couldn't be any more prescient.