Just got home late last night from Paris and my three week whirlwind design trade show tour. To say it was the trip of a lifetime would be an understatement. I had an absolute blast with a great group of designers and workroom professionals who really reminded me why I do what I do.
The first day I ran into technical difficulty when I tried to use my hair dryer with my electric current converter which I have used many times before. I plugged it in and my dryer started smoking, sparking and then blew itself out. FRIED like a chicken! Needless to say the converter was well cooked to so I had to get another one from the hotel. It didn't accommodate a three prong plug so using my laptop was out of the question! No blogging for moi! I never did find another three prong adapter so please excuse my lack of posts while I was away. I will make up for that now!
Beth Hodges and Sue Sifakus at the Potterton Books booth Heimtextile - along with a shameless plug for my booksHeimtextile in Frankfurt was amazing and absolutely huge. I live in a city that puts on some large conventions and this place dwarfed anything I've seen in the US. It was eleven halls packed full of textile based product in every type, variety, material, construction, design, imaginable. The creativity and innovation is just fantastic. It took us almost fifteen or twenty minutes just to walk through the halls to the press center everyday from our hotel. I have never walked so much in my life! The overall impression of this show is in the professionalism and quality of the show, the vendors, and the convention space. It was absolutely first rate and showed an amazing range that just is not available in the US. I was also struck as I always am when in Europe with the way the people dress. Style rules the day and the men look fantastic in their fine suits ( boy how I wish we would bring back the suit here!) and women were dressed to the nines all in fantastic boots and furs. Black was the new black and I was glad that it was all I grought because anything light or colorful would have stood out. It is such a shame that we have lost the concept of dressing for success here in the US.
Here is our Germany group having cocktails with Dick Gentry and his lovely wife from Wesco Fabrics. Dick had recently broken his leg skiing with his young grandson and it was quite ironic that we were meeting in a very badly decorated bar that was covered in fake snow ( cut up quilt batting) with an even faker miniature mountain on the wall. There was also a small igloo in the corner and our tables we're meant to represent snow or ice. Stunning!
The train ride from Frankfurt to Germany was absolutely beautiful. We traveled along the Rhine river which is dotted with castles and fortifications. It was snowy and cold but still a treat for the eyes. I love traveling by train in Europe because around every turn there is something amazing to see.
Cologne was fantastic and it was a tiny bit warmer than in Frankfurt and not snowing. We walked for miles every day in and out of the shows.
Here are our fearless leaders Susan Schultz and Deb Barrett planning our route back to the hotel after a long long day of walking the city streets viewing showrooms and vendors. This type of planning usually called for a nice glass of beer or wine and a snack at a local bar!
This was my usual view in Cologne. Me bringing up the rear of the trudging line as we searched for whatever gallery or showroom we were hunting for. It was great fun and even better exercise.
The Maison et Objet show was a 40 minute train ride out of Paris but worth every minute. Here I am at the entrance to one of the halls. The place was huge and seemed to cover miles of ground.
There were long lines for everything but our group was lucky enough to have VIP status
(Thanks to Deb & Susan!) so we had access to the private VIP lounge called Le Club. It was lovely and they served free drinks including champagne in the afternoon and snacks. We enjoyed Mimosas every afternoon. It was exhausting but devine!
I organizerd a few bloggers who were attending the show to meet up one night and we had a blast. Maryanne from Beadboard Up Country and Melanie from Cabinet de Curiosities we're so much fun and absolutely delightful. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
We also had a great opportunity arranged by Deb & Susan to meet with the staff from Maison et Objet to discuss the differences in US and French design market and got a private tour of the trend vignettes. They were incredibly hospitable to us all and provided us with complete access to the show including press credentials which allowed us to take pictures on the show floor which is expressly forbiddden to anyone without credentials. I'll be showing you many of the photos over the next few weeks.
Of course the highlight for all of us was this adorable Laduree sales cart. Here is my buddy Octive Healey buying macaroons after a long day of walking the floor. This was the one of the most popular places at the show. There was always a long line.
Another shamless plug - Octive and I showing off my books at the book store at Maison. I think the booksellers thought I was crazy taking pictures with books!
We had the great pleasure of meeting with Susan Hornbeak Ortiz, owner and designer of Shine Home one of my favorite furniture lines and her new social media representative Leslie Carothers. They were one of a handful of American vendors showing there and there booth was gorgeous.
Now that I'm home you'd think that my trade show adventure would be over but that is not the case. I have to get over to the Las Vegas World Market winter show which is running this weeek along with the Surfaces Show. I'm going to meet Juan Montoya tonight att he LVWMC , one of my design idols at a reception in his honor. Can't wait!!!!
Pictures of some great stuff from the trip next post - stay tuned......