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February 04, 2008

Maison & Objet

By Lloyd Princeton

The Maison & Objet show is perhaps the finest example of what the home furnishings industry has to offer to the world. What’s significant is not so much the exceptional product that is displayed as much as the entire environment that is created by the attendees from around the world. In a word, they have style! Design professionals mingle with retailers and wholesalers while perusing the miles of displays which include the most au currant furniture, accessories, and most importantly, textiles! All mixed with the old guard selections that are as relevant today as they were when first created. The attention to detail is what reminds me of why I love this industry so much and why Paris is the pairfait setting for this remarkable show. If you really want to be invigorated, attend the next show September 5-9!

Mixed among the regular displays were tremendous pavilions by some of the most respected names in the industry from Walter Steiger and Fendi Casa to London-based Chase Irwin and the ever trend-setting Designers Guild and Roma. New to the show is Michael Devine with his yummy fabrics! The show was attended by many clients and friends including the impeccable designersPhilip Gorrivan and Thomas Burak.

The highlight of the entire show was an evening party hosted by Baker, Knapp & Tubbs and Pierre Frey at the Palace of Versailles. It was truly a magical evening complete with 17th century muscians in costume and the royal apartments lit with light that was consistent with that which was seen in Louis 14th time. Champagne flowed and hors d' oeuvre trays danced among the many industry luminaries including Rachel Kohler, Laura Kirar andRichard Frazier, Jacques Garcia, James Druckman, and two of my favorites, Frank Lyon and James Caughman from Baker.Helen Fifield from the Chelsea Design Centre brought her lovely daughter and they enjoyed the company of the Baker showroom manager Andrew Smith. Two showroom powerhouses, the immutableMyra Hines (Hines & Company) and Greg McIntyre (Shears & Window) mingled with each other while our friends (Kate Kelly Smith, Steven Drucker, and Newell Turner) from House Beautiful gathered notes for their upcoming issue, no doubt. The eponymous tastemaker Harry Hinsonwas seen holding court and of course, the evening would not have been complete without Katherine Scully from Architectural Digest. Seen strolling down Fauborg St. Germaine were George Maserand Doug Kinzley of Kneedler Fauchere. I know there were more people, but alas, the champagne was flowing!

This leads to my final thought. It seems like everyone has been talking about luxury and that it is the market to focus on for true high-end designers. Unfortunately, as with many good things, an overuse of the word has caused it’s meaning to be diluted. Getting a frappucino from Starbucks can be a luxury to some people. With this in mind, it’s time in expand our vocabulary and find a new word of choice. How about sublime? According to one of the Webster’s definitions, it means “ the greatest or supreme degree”. Consumers seek designers to create one-of-kind environments, to personalize their services, and to evoke an emotional response. So, let’s give “sublime” a chance or find a better word that we, the design industry, can make the new word of choice, setting the trend, not following it!

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