Right at Home: Gift Fair previews decor trends

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A chandelier dripping with vintage silver flatware. An iPhone pouch that looks like a chocolate bar.

From the luxe to the loopy, the New York International Gift Fair, held twice a year, features thousands of booths stocked with the newest furnishings, books, children's goods, jewelry and textiles. Top design studios from around the world share floor space with tiny, up-and-coming gift purveyors looking for their big break.

This is where we see the trends in decorative goods and gifts. A few to watch for:

1. Vintage, with a twist.

From the 19th century through the 1960s, giftware at the show this year evoked the past. "Found" objects were a big theme — gathered in curio cabinets or repurposed. Many booths looked like stylish scavenger hunts. At Knobstoppers, there were antique clay billiard balls made into bottle stoppers. Cake's booth had chandeliers formed with old silverware, and trays and lamps made with antique French seed packets sandwiched between glass.

Retro city postcard candles stood out at Aunt Sadie's, while Velvet Raptor had lovely velvet-clad stationery. Two's Company's Curiosity collection offered nephrology model heads and glass specimen domes.

Laura Zindel's pottery featured inky, illustrated naturalistic imagery. Simrin had linen napery printed with old-style paper restaurant placemats; Anne Taintor's snarky female stereotypes now adorn flasks and shot glasses; 1970's geometric shapes could be seen in Artecnica's new pendant lamps and Jonathan Adler's ceramics.

2. Startle Decor.

Adler's Vices collection of storage containers labeled with pharmaceuticals, odd toiletries and hallucinogenics drew interest. Karlsson showed wall clocks displaying photoprints of animals and textured surfaces like brick and stone. Neo had striking vessels stocking-knit with neoprene "wool."

Imm Living's white ceramic squirrels peeked out of the walls in Aesthetic Movement's chalkboard clad booth. Dominic Wilcox's melted toy soldier bowls were intriguing at Areaware.

French designer Nathalie Lete brought a modern Japonesque flair to paperware and accessories. And John Derian's lamp base printed with vintage snake images was wonderful.

3. One day. But in the meantime...

The industry calls these "aspirational" goods — items that provide a touch of the lives we'd rather be living. Love the notion of an estate in the country? Then watch for the Steeplechase and Butler's Pantry collections from Two's Company, featuring buckled photo frames, equestrian prints, luxe silver and linen bar ware. A chic skyscraper aerie more your style? California's Oly Studio hit a high note with furnishings decked out in zebra print, mohair and mirrored mosaics. There were many silvery, gilded and iridescent accessories throughout the show.

4. Giftware's gamut.

The range of products at the fair can be staggering. Pylones' clever chicken-shaped rubber purses and chocolate-bar iPhone pouches attracted show-goers, as did children's versions of iconic designer's chairs from Australia's Little Nest. One aisle held a heavenly array of charming baby goods, while another was an olfactory wonderland of room and body fragrances. There were desk accessories made from recycled rice bags and bike chains, sleek new cookbooks, holiday ornaments, the latest French kitchenware and hundreds of versions of the flower vase.

Given the number of busy clipboard-laden booth assistants, retailers were doing some big buying. You'll see it all at the mall in the months ahead.

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Sourcebook:

www.twoscompany.com — Steeplechase collection of hooks, tabletop and pillows, $18.50-$310; Curiosity and Butler's Pantry collection of tabletop and napery, $17.50-$200;

www.pylones-usa.com — Henbag, $29; Chocolate bar iPhone case, $15;

www.annetaintor.com - Shot glasses in sets of four, six different sets, 2-ounce glasses, $22; Pocket Flask with lid, 4 ounces, $22;

www.knobstoppers.com - Vintage billiard ball bottle stoppers, $32 each;

www.cakevintage.com - chandeliers made of vintage silver flatware, $650-$2,900; French vintage seed-packet light fixture, $748;

www.littlenest.com - Le Club chair, $425; Play Ball chair, $695; Yolk chair, $585;

www.imm-living.com - Hide and Seek resin squirrel wall art, about $54.
   
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.