Revenge travel? Yes, please! We love this buzz-phrase because we can totally relate.
It’s all about being cooped up during COVID. It speaks to people wanting to get away, fly away, like in the lyrics from Lenny Kravitz’ 1998 hit. And almost two years after exploding on the tourism scene, the concept is starting to impact home-furnishings assortments in a meaningful way.
Furniture collections like Wanderlust, designed by Marcel Wanders for Roche Bobois, led the way a few years back. Recently, there has been much more to consider.
Nods to revenge travel emerged in Paris during January’s upscale Paris Deco Off event. They were also apparent at the Maison & Objet trade fair. Yet, to be honest, we didn’t really expect to see this idea at the Kitchen and Bath Show. So, KBIS is where our story must begin.
Our first encounter was at Café Appliances, whose KBIS booths are legendary, bold and fashion forward. One of Café’s two featured sets was called Cabana Couture.
Beachy vibes set the tone. There were playful straw-hat-like chandeliers, cantaloupe-colored shelving and a dramatic, cabana striped tile stove hood. These escape-inspired design elements teamed up with striated apple green cabinets and a palm-y print backsplash. Together they show off the brand’s matte white appliances and brass hardware (one of three collabs with Kohler).
Travel was at the heart of yet another pairing: Victoria +Albert x Conde Nast Traveler by House of Rohl. Rebecca Misner, Conde Nast Traveler’s senior features editor, summed up the sentiment behind the Wanderlust collection: “Travel, like the best soak, is a luxury. It transports you away from the everyday and into a new state of being. It feeds the body and the soul and expands the mind; it is a full sensory experience that manages to be both necessity and deep indulgence.”
This collection is mostly about color, expressed in Victoria + Albert tub exteriors. Each new hue is meant to reflect one of three destinations. Island Time looks to the sage-infused Corsican landscape with whites, greys, rich blues and earth tones; Royal Rituals nods to ancient Luxor, Egypt with jewel tones and softer neutrals; Gateway to Serenity settles on the lush isle of Kyushu, Japan, with purples to greens.
The influences of colors, patterns and textures derived from around the globe is not uncommon in furnishings and textile collections. Five years ago, designer Marcel Wanders’ Globe Trotter series for Roche Bobois channeled legendary inventors and adventurers to evoke worldly treasures to bring home. At Paris Deco Off and Maison & Objet two months ago, travel-as-inspiration was even more apparent.
During Paris Deco Off, Sasha Walckhoff, creative director for Christian Lacroix, tapped into a wide range of locales for his Lacroix Stravaganza of textiles and wallcoverings. To celebrate his 30th anniversary with the brand, Walckhoff looked to southern cultures and landscapes, from Africa to Florida, from the Amazon to Sicily, from Mexico to Rajasthan. All are imagined in a fanciful, extravagant kaleidoscope of colors and shapes in cottons, satins and velvets.
The French furnishings company Pierre Frey invites us into an escape to the Pacific with the Iles Enchantées collection. On the brand’s website, a video that whisks you away—with music cued up to seductive imagery of being rocked by the movement of waves—is the prelude to a sampling of fabrics installed in islandy scenes. Patterns are playful and primitive, tropical (some evoking Gauguin paintings) and graphic. Colors range from neutrals to brights. There also are exciting textures like jacquards with fringe detailing, as well as embroidered appliques. Their Paris Deco Off showroom was the gateway to these exquisite designs.
One of the more colorful furnishings booths at Maison et Objet was populated by the brand vent de bohème, whose tagline translates to “accessories and décor inspired by travel.” Vivid hues and ebullient patterns are depicted in textiles, on deck chairs and pillows as well as serving trays. All of which puts you in a happy place of escape.
Parisian designer Sarah Lavoine looked across the pond for her new limited-edition palette, which debuted at the Right Bank retail shop on Place des Victoires. It’s called Coney Island and it is characterized as (translated) “audacious and fortified.” Key colors, available from March 15, are indigo, described as a companion to Sarah blue (teal), Coney Island yellow, (a soft, buttery cream), kaki (more olive than beige), and nuanced reds, including terra cotta, bois de rose and ecorce (cinnamon).
The dreaming-of-travel idea only seems new. Just one adjective, revenge, makes today’s version sound edgier than anything that has come before. Yet, as the concept builds, it is taking on new importance throughout home products. Why? Because many of us need a change of scenery now more than ever. And we’ll take it any way we can get it, including in our décor.
Travel always will be a muse, one that acknowledges our longings and triggers us to dream on. Cooped up or not.