Although the majority of my time is spent looking far into the future, a portion of it is always spent at retail looking at what's happening in the here and now. I believe that retail reconnaissance is absolutely vital to the business of trend. It provides a real-world view of how color, shape, style, materials and pattern forecasts that I've given to Members of The Trend Curve's subscriber family, or through trend seminars, are playing out.
I do store checks wherever my travel schedule takes me. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be in Greensboro, Seattle and Los Angeles. Within the past few weeks I visited Atlanta, Chicago and High Point in the US, and Porto and Paris in Europe.
One of the stores I pop into most often in Paris is Merci. This retail gem offers a unique array of furniture, tableware, kitchen products, textiles and stationery items. Their apparel assortment is equally interesting. A quiet lunch in their restaurant/bookstore is divine.
During my most-recent visit, the Merci for Serax campaign greeted visitors as they walked in the door. The 12 pieces formed an à la carte tableware collection called Nouvelle Table. They can be stacked or fitted together, and they have no predetermined purpose. Plates can be used as lids. Cups can hold desserts. Colors (Mastic, Storm, Ochre, Ink Black) can be mixed or used in a monochromatic statement, along with maple accents and metal serving pieces that help to create a trend-right mixed-media table. This approach pushes the ongoing trend toward casual living, personalization and multifunction on the table to the furthest reaches. Nouvelle Table debuted concurrently at the Maison & Objet trade fair.
Also on show was the the Pasta & Pasta kitchen collection, designed by Paola Navone for Serax. Using graphic, black-and-white for a collection dedicated to cooking and serving a basic food like pasta confirms that black-and-white combinations, in so many interpretations, are classics. Pasta & Pasta includes pots, pans, baking dishes, tableware and textiles. It was also featured at Maison & Objet, and was getting rave reviews from buyers while I was in the Serax stand.
There were so many more products worthy of a trend-spotter's attention at Merci. For example, dinnerware appeared in a directional Bordeaux color and whimsy (growing, recommended) took a turn on the furniture floor in clever chairs. Cookbooks were all about natural and vegan lifestyles. Look below for a gallery of images to show you how these trends looked at retail.
If you need more from store checks, don't forget to check outThe Trend Curve's series of retail reconnaissance reports. We know that retail reconnaissance is vital to assortment decision-making, but we also know that very few people can find the time to do it consistently. That’s why we developed Taking Stock of Retail™. This series of reports covers best practices at retail for the key seasonal holidays of the year. In addition to trend topics, we show you the clever products, modern messaging, ingenious packaging, licensing opportunities that stood out in the Americas, Europe and Australia.