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DDB Spring Market recap: WSJ's Deborah Needleman keynote
May 17, 2012

Deborah Needleman, editor-in-chief of WSJ Magazine, kicked off the Decoration & Design Building's Spring Market yesterday, and its theme of internationalism. She addressed key trends as seen in the worlds of food, fashion, photography, and of course interiors -- united by high luxury merged with imperfections, as seen in her new book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home. "For us at the magazine, trends are a distillation of a mood, something that just feels right for now. We're always looking for who's taking a risk, in any field."

Her keynote speech touched on three areas:
1) Fashion photography- as a celebration of culture and craftsmanship. Needleman highlighted a story in WSJ on couture as modeled by Stella Tenant. "She's a strong model with aristocratic blood but we photographed her in a blank, quite sterile environment. It creates a tension--she's not in a rich environment. It's not rich on rich on rich." She pointed to an image of a living room at Chatsworth (pictured above), with its fluffy rug and slipcovered chairs - not what's expected in a grand English country home. With the example of a pub story in the English countryside, decorated by Robert Kime, Needleman explained, "It's all about lightening up luxurious decorating, making it feel homey and casual. Like ticking stripes, which are humble and tone down a nice piece of furniture, or antique and vintage fabrics, particularly those from other cultures- using them signals that you're literally letting people in." Examples: using "ethnic" fabrics on lampshades, something she calls "charming" and piling on "loads of pillows and even leaving supplies, like a coat rack, out, which gives a sign of life."

Fabric lampshades by Robert Kime
2) Food - with movements like farm to table, gastropubs, and hyper specialization (The Meatball Shop on Manhattan's Lower East Side) and even local and organic ingredients, "the restaurants are creating a sense of place, story-telling and underscoring simplicity." As seen in a slide of Yves Saint-Laurent's home in Tangiers with one light chintz pattern covering all chairs, in a simple white room. Try dragging your fancy stuff outside. 
3) Fashion- "It's easier to see trends in fashion, since the shows are condensed into four weeks. In decoration we don't refresh that often. There's something so frivolous about this blouse paired with tapered, clean pants (below left), like Pauline de Rothschild's living room (below right), with its cooky furniture arrangement and no art. It's a virginal innocence combined with a richness--something so wrong it's right."

According to Needleman, "This moment is about how we really live. It's about lifting the spirit of whatever inspires you and figuring out how to apply it to your work, your home."  
 

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