Creative trends in event linens—for any budget.
Trends in event linens usually flow from the fashion runway, but budgets in a slow economy are driving event planners to make creative choices with tablecloths, napkins and chair decor.
Barbara Ellis, marketing manager for Chicago, Ill.-based BBJ Linen, says that event planners are trying to get the million-dollar look without the million-dollar price tag. “Texture is the current biggest trend,” Ellis says. “Our Bengaline line gives you beautiful color along with texture. The fabric has some depth as opposed to a flat fabric. It’s a texture that can grab lighting.”
Other strategies for a rich look include layering a basic fabric with a runner in a fabulous color or pattern or using a single, beautifully patterned cloth in place of a cloth/overlay combination, she says.
Heading into the fall and winter seasons, the bright, trendy colors of summer—turquoise, hot oranges, hot pinks—will give way to grounded, earthy tones such as merlot, loden and burnt orange.
“Within our bengaline line, our Purple Smoke Bengaline, which is a grayish purple, works very well with the greens. It’s very complementary in the world of color,” Ellis says.
A-1 Tablecloth Co., South Hackensack, N.J., added three new damask fabrics in 2010: Chopin, a bold damask scroll pattern available in polyester; Beethoven, a traditional, sophisticated damask; and Kaleidoscope, a modern damask with intertwining bubbles that create a kaleidoscope effect.
Oren Fox, A-1 manager, says that two-tone has been the rage. In terms of specific colors, chocolate, Tiffany blue and sage continue to be popular, along with black/white and black/silver combinations, he says.
Spandex USA of Costa Mesa, Calif., specializes in a stretch-to-fit cover that provides a nontraditional look for tablescapes. President Bernie Gaps says that the covers are especially well suited for tented events because they stretch to the bottom of the table, with table legs secured into the pockets hidden on the inside of the fabric.
“Even in the highest winds, these stay securely in place, whereas ‘flowing’ linens have a tendency to fly in the wind, often knocking over glasses and centerpieces,” he says.
Gaps says his product may be too extreme for some events, but for some event planners, stretch fabrics are a way to bring something new to their market. Like traditional linen companies, Spandex USA follows the fashion color trends, this year adding a moss green, a primary orange and a jewelry blue that is lighter than turquoise and goes well with the popular chocolate brown.
Green—as in environmentally friendly—is a linen trend that is here to stay. In the case of Spandex USA products, the fabric doesn’t require the level of care—ironing, storage, packaging and shipping materials—as that of other fabrics, Gaps says. Both BBJ and A-1 have incorporated sustainable practices into their operations, and BBJ offers a Botela fabric line made of 100-percent recycled plastic bottles that are ground into thread. The fabric comes in two colors—white and natural, both of which pair nicely with environmentally themed events. “Available in rounds and napkins, it is a basic patterned polyester, but from the feel of it and the texture of it, you would never know it’s made from bottles,” Ellis says.