Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Trend A Four Letter Word?

The word trend is really at risk of being too "trendy" I think. Not when it comes to fashion, we all need to be aware, lest we continue strutting around in the worst offenses ever- also called the 80's. Rather as it relates to the design of interiors. I feel like every time I pick a magazine, lurking around the next page is something telling me "what's hot". Yes, if we are in the business, it's our job to know. But, it's also our job to know trends will come and go and well designed rooms do not need to and should not incorporate all the latest trends.  I know this is hardly a new topic on the blogs and I thought I'd made peace with trends. Turns out I haven't.

Over the weekend I came across an article about houndstooth. Basically, I got my knickers in a bunch over hounthstooth being called "trendy" in this month's  Elle Decor. I happen to like this magazine and have been a longtime subscriber. Nothing trendy on the cover this month. It was an unexpected look of a women's loft office by Bunny Williams and I loved it!

Why is houndstooth a design trend?  It's been around forever. Another thing the Scot's gave us. In fashion, I used to associate it with Geoffrey Beane. Now I think of Chanel. I have a houndstooth skirt that I like, it seems traditional. I'm traditional. Recently, I found a pair of houndstooth shoes that I was madly in love with. The heel was just too high for me. They weren't practical. Besides being traditional, I am practical. Especially when it comes to making purchases for my home or wardrobe. 

My Fairfax ottoman by WSH, covered in brown & cream houndstooth.  Purchased nearly 6 years ago. Does this
mean I was previously un-cool and now I am hip? Please...say it isn't so.

As far as my home, it is highly unlikely anyone will ever going say "your home is so trendy!" Thank god. I think for many, trendy is equated with having style...being stylish.  I like a variety of design elements and styles. I have antiques, retail items along with some modern elements, like glass block lamps. Mostly, I like homes that have things that are reflective of the people who live there and I strive for that in my work. As for houndstooth, I think it's so practical for upholstery, curtains or pillows.  Put it in just about any room, and it works.

When our Golden Retriever was a puppy, she took a little nibble.
 She has no regard whatsoever for trends...imagine that?

Don't get me wrong, I am not at all opposed to the use of  Lucite furniture, garden stools, foo dogs (okay, I am opposed to these only because they remind me of darling Pugs that have gone Cujo) an animal skin rug, antlers, etc...but only when it's reflective of the person's interest and their style.  I am opposed to using them because we read somewhere that we should. In other words, trend alarms are being sounded way too often in my opinion.

One of my favorite tear sheet images. A foyer designed by Nina Griscom. The rug is described as an antique.
Generally, this means a real skin that was from a hunted animal, long before anyone considered it may
cool for decorative reasons. Imagine if the wood console was Lucite and the wood chairs were garden stools?
Would it seem too trendy...would you love it in five years...maybe, maybe not?
I have never purchased a single item ever because I thought it was trendy. I am an emotional buyer. I have to be drawn in by the item. I have to feel like it could live with me for a very long time and I would still find it interesting in 5, 10, or 50 years.  Especially, when it comes to antiques, books, accessories, artwork or collections.

When I was a child I first began a collection of keys. I was fascinated with a diary, clock key as well as the skeleton key to my grandmother's attic. Not only did I think they were pretty, but also mysterious. On one visit I took that attic key home with me- I liked it that much. I also thought by taking it I would be protected  from the scary things that I was convinced were up in the attic! I have been collecting interesting keys ever since. 
The most recent additions to my key collection. The 3 smaller keys given by my son's girlfriend. The 2 large keys
from my husband's travels, found in my stocking. All were among my favorite Christmas gifts this past year.
Yes, they're trendy too. Ridiculous faux keys are being mass produced and can be purchased everywhere. But, I am passionate about them, so the collecting will continue. The same could be said about Ikat. I like it. I just haven't seen a pattern/color that I'm passionate about.  However, I did buy a blue and white Ikat cotton blouse that I love and wore quite a bit last summer. I likely wear it again this summer, Although I am quite sure by then it won't be considered trendy. Perhaps, I will like it even more.

I guess this rambling is really just to express how sick I am of entire rooms that are filled with the items magazines tell us are the latest trends, Worse, when it's passed off as good design. Creative work. Applauded. Granted trend is spelled with five letters, but are we all beginning to say it as much as our other favorite four letter words? Sh*t, I don't know. Maybe I'm crazy? Jaded? Or could it be, you are sick of it too?


  1. Rebecca - FABULOUS on point post!! Agree with absolutely everything you said. A house is not a home unless it is filled with furnishings and accessories that have personal meaning for the owner. Trends (oops I said it) come and go but style is forever and those who don't have it are the ones dependent on trends to make them feel stylish. You, my dear, will never have this problem!!

  2. I have to admit that I'm a trendy Wendy, but not b/c I feel I need to be up to the minute, I just honestly really love a lot of what is considered trendy. I guess I just have the same taste as the massess...:) I like to pick and choose amongst the trends and pull what really, really speaks to me, always trying to be aware of the "what will this look like to me in 10 years question" in the back of my head. I love a post like this, thought provoking and eye candy all at once!

  3. I am so with you on this subject Rebecca I'm so sick of everything being a "trend". I have jackets that are houndstooth that I've had for years since when is that a trend for clothing? When I see the word trend pop up in a magazine I have a tendency to run the opposite direction of whatever they're showing. To be honest when a trend appears everyone uses it and then it takes the specialness from the item. Love this post!

  4. A trend marks a time. I like to expand time and let timeless pieces age, become worn and comfortable. Spend money on things that will become heirlooms. Persimmon not likely to be around as an heirloom. Houndstooth trendy? - great maybe some lucky ones will keep it around and come to learn the specialness of something classic and timeless. Love it in fashion and in interiors. Black and White houndstooth is one of the patterns that goes with anything. Along with good blue and white Oriental Ceramics, leopard, and zebra. To name a few of my lifetime favorites.

  5. I hate it when I like something, work relatively hard to find it and then a couple years later it's all over magazines....and before long you can get it at Kirkland's. And I'm not even a designer, I just like what I like.

    I've been collecting keys since college (fleur de lis, too)...the two symbols of Kappa Kappa Gamma. We have an owl, too, but I leave that to the Chi O's since birds give me the creeps. ;-)

  6. I was having a similar discussion with another blogger recently. I think I love to look at the "trends" and be up on them....but for my own decorating I rarely incorporate them. My home is generally an updated traditional. I saw the Elle Decor spread too and was surprised about this "trend" too. I bought a lovely houndstooth in greige for my son's nursery and this room is going to be anything but trendy....or so I thought!

  7. I usually associate houndstooth with Dior, the eau de toliettes for Dior used to have houndstooth boxes. I also associate it with Australia's premier Dept store David Jones as it is their trademark. it is definitely a classic, and something I would not class as a trend. I also think that trends are for those who need some direction.

  8. We're all on the same page with that word obviously. Wouldn't it be great if our voice made a difference. I guess it can depending on who's listening! Great post!

  9. I completely agree! If you design for trends you will disappoint every time but if you design the space with things you/client love there is more satstifaction and joy. Great post!

  10. So well said and I agree. It's maddening I think, when, at the drop of an issue, some rag declares something timeless, and inherently stylish, a "TREND". Then it's off to the big box boys for mass production, and ultimately, derision from the design blogging community ;)

    I wrote a little something-something about trends and too many of them the other day.

  11. actually you are doubly trendy - houndstooth AND tufted!!!!! take a bow!!!!

    great article.

  12. in my humble opinion....
    hounds-tooth is a 'classique.'
    it has been said
    that once something has been
    in fashion 3 times it has become a classic.
    this hounds-tooth trend is way past the #3 mark.


  13. Amen sister, please come over and visit. You will understand why I appreciate this post so much. Keep up the message. Thanks!

  14. Q, Thank you!

    David, Your right, I completely forgot about the fabulous Dior boxes!

    Joni, Funny, funny and great observation! I was so irked about the houndtooth, I didn't think about tufting being all the rage again too. But then again it doesn't seem like a trend to me since I can't remember a time where I didn't own at least one tufted piece.

  15. Great points! I think as long as you surround yourself with personal, meaningful (to you) pieces in your home, you'll never go wrong! When you see something that you love- regardless of what the magazines say- you win! Your space should always reflect pieces that speak to you, and your home will be a happy, well styled place!

  16. THREE years ago, I
    had the cushions on
    a slip-covered couch
    re-done in hounds-tooth,
    because I was going
    for a R-L vibe and
    it seemed "timeless"
    to me. Isn't it a
    dichotomy when something
    is both timeless and
    trendy at the same time?
    Is it even possible?
    Hmmmmm. Know what you
    mean about the trends in
    decor. Some of it is just
    silly and won't be here
    for the long haul. But,
    maybe some people like
    changing decor like they
    like changing shoes? You
    have to have a big budget
    for that, though...
    xx Suzanne

  17. Those magazines have a lot of pages to fill, and advertisers whose survival depend on the creation and consumption of "trends."

  18. I've always had an aversion to 'trendy trends' and being a completely emotional buyer as yorself, I've alwways shied away from anything screaming of it. It is fun to see what they 'think' is trendy a good chuckle now and again.
    Great topic!
    xo J~

  19. I remember wearing houndstooth clothing in high school so I'm not surprised that it's come back around in fashion. Trendy trends seem to reflect a lack of personality in so much I'm seeing lately in design. I think you're so right that an item should provoke an emotional response.

  20. Take a or two trendy things is OK...but I agree...a room full of them just doesn't "shine" like a room that appears collected over time. Well said without being "bitchy" :)

  21. Great post and I soooo agree on every point. we have been around long enough to know that certain things alway come back around and they are the new kid on the block. I feel that right now we are particularly being swamped with trends and now they all look alike to me. Yawn on most cases. KS


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