Lessons from the Runway Barclay Butera applies ideas from the fashion world to home furnishings As you walk through Market’s hallways, the latest styles, colors, fabrics, forms and finishes swirl around you. At seminars and social events, top designers, leading manufacturers, high-profile style makers and editors share ideas and inspirations. Enthusiasm abounds. Excitement is in the air. How do we bring that sensation home to the end consumer? How can we borrow from the fashion industry to carry that energy going from showroom floor to final purchase? “My sense of fashion has always had a tremendous influence on my interior design aesthetic." How you dress and present yourself to the world speaks volumes about who you are and what you want to project. Likewise, a person’s home is a reflection of their individual style. Making that individual connection is the key to generating the excitement we want. I often have runway photos and print ads from fashion publications in presentations, and I love it when a client proclaims, “Yes! I want my room to look and feel like THAT!” It can be anything from a classic tuxedo to an elegant ball gown or a beachy shot of a family on a yacht, but somehow fashion images can bring everything into focus. “Help your customers connect their personal style to their interiors using images from fashion and lifestyle magazines and websites." Photography can help your customers express what they want their home to be. Perhaps they reflect an all-American style, a clean and contemporary look, or maybe they prefer a more elegant and ornate existence. The point is to start a conversation using something as personal as the clothes on their backs to get them thinking about their homes as a style statement. “Great style is inherently personal and forever evolving." My wardrobe has changed dramatically over the years as it has been influenced by my life experiences, the unique people I have met, and the interesting places I have visited. The fashion industry does an excellent job of teaching consumers that continual change is standard. As seasons and lifestyles change, so should your wardrobe. Letting your closet become hum-drum reflects a stagnant existence. “It’s time to adopt a philosophy of ongoing change for interiors so people expect to continually edit their furnishings as their lives and lifestyles change." Interiors can morph based on new experiences like travel, a new season or new life circumstances. Not only do we need to teach consumers to embrace change, but we need to inspire them with new decorating ideas to adopt. Fashion and furniture are inextricably entwined. From my expanding furniture collection with Highland House, to my diverse line of carpets with Nourison, to the 30-plus bedding collections I show at Eastern Accents, all can be traced back to fashion in one way or another. One year all of my collections were inspired by bespoke gentlemen’s wear from Saville Row, filling my showrooms with gray flannel and pinstripes. “Trends provide a language we can use when talking with consumers." The top trends we see at each Spring and Fall Market ultimately debuted on runways before they hit the showrooms. When we connect interiors to fashion, we show that we are current, we engage the excitement of the now. Those graphic rugs you’re debuting are part of the tribal trend in fashion. The never ending parade of blues – from icy to cobalt to pool – in accessories and upholstery reflect the trending colors in clothing. And those emerging plaid textiles? They launched on the catwalk. Spring brings a sense of freshness, renewal and hope, and I cannot wait for Spring Market to see what’s happening next. This is the feeling we need to instill in our customers, and we can do that with the help of imagery and language that connects our furnishings to the world of fashion. So join us in April when our community gathers to redefine and recreate fashion for the home!