Trend Watch: Chesterfields, Union Jacks & Cool Britannia

Trend Watch: Chesterfields, Union Jacks & Cool Britannia

Sarah Coffey
Apr 6, 2011

With the Royal Wedding, the Beatles on iTunes, and the 2012 Olympics on the horizon, London is basking in the spotlight. 'Cool Britannia' — an old term used to describe the fashionable culture of contemporary London — is back. UK and American furniture companies are jumping onto the (double-decker) trend bus, and we saw lots of examples at the recent High Point spring market.

  • HALO: Available only to the trade, UK company HALO has been making handcrafted furniture inspired by English heritage since 1976. Their High Point showroom was full of Union Jack upholstery and leather club chairs — all styled with inventive twists like a bowler hat chandelier and a staircase-turned-library.
  • Lillian August: With four stores throughout the Northeast and one in LA, their products are available to the trade and retail customers alike. Their showroom included a dark blue den (painted in Sherwin Williams Loyal Blue) with equestrian photographs.
  • BoBo Intriguing Objects: This to-the-trade showroom focuses mainly on imports from France, Belgium, and Argentina, but their vintage finds included English-style tufted sofas and the occasional silver crown.
  • Mr. Brown by Julian Chichester: UK company Julian Chichester debuted its new, more affordable Mr. Brown collection at High Point. They bill the style as "English informality for a modern life." Products are available to the trade.
  • Oly Studio: While Berkeley-based Oly Studio was much lighter and brighter than most of the English-style showrooms, they had one old-school library roomset with dark gray walls and upholstered dining chairs. Oly products can be purchased by retail and trade customers alike.
  • Thomasville: Even mid-range American wholesale furniture companies like Thomasville were dabbling in Old English style. Their showroom included an upholstered bench covered in a neutral Union Jack pattern.
  • Althorp by Theodore Alexander: Luxury period furniture manufacturer Theodore Alexander is offering its trade clients a collection of reproductions from the Spencer family's Althorp Estate, one of the most famous homes of the English aristocracy.

Located in North Carolina and held twice each year in April and October, High Point Market is "the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world." The market includes 180 buildings, 10 million square feet of showspace, and over 2,000 exhibitors who exhibit to designers, buyers, press, and industry representatives.

Photos: Sarah Coffey

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