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Lighting Commentary

Residential Lighting Trend Influencers

Fashion has always been one of the four factors I’ve used to determine the direction of residential lighting trends. Admittedly, it is relegated to tertiary importance. Architecture, Related Home Furnishings (furniture, accessories and appliances) and Socioeconomic Direction are of course, much more relevant. It has however signaled direction, reflection, outlook, color and a score of other subtle guideposts that I have considered.

Balenciaga – Fall 2022 New York

Over the last few years, I have struggled to find the signs that fashion of the past provided. Even major houses such as Balenciaga and Givenchy now show elements of “streetwear” as haute couture. When designers do attempt creativity, it often arrives in an undefined and unable to relate exaggeration. (The pictured Balenciaga’s black-rubber suiting for example.) Few clues can be unearthed as to how that will provide influence to the home, unless the owner has some predetermined kink! Perhaps the faceless tech takeover of our lives is, in reverse, impacting fashion?

The most recent (Fall 2022) New York fashion week was by all accounts, a snooze-fest. Sure, the black rubber suit was fun, but little else was of interest or value (to me.) More paper thin dresses, exaggerated headwear/footwear and lots of casual. We could argue that the casual trend has resulted in homes and home décor that is equally relaxed, but that gets us only so far. “Street” has not resulted in ramshackle homes in deference to the torn, frayed and undersized/oversized jeans that continually show up on the runway.

Do I Switch to Only Three Factors in My Formulation of Upcoming Trends?

While many (most?) of us can never imagine ourselves pulling off haute couture, fashion of the past provided at least a modicum of connection to the real world. Now fashion has been usurped by an elite that does not connect to the collective “us.” The gap between couture and homeowners widens with each Milan season.

Neither my wife or I are trained in art, we have however spent a lot of time studying and viewing creative art. My wife commented on a recent show at MOCA Cleveland, “This art is created for other artists. Unless conversant in the minutia of contemporary art, most people will have a limited ability to appreciate and understand the pieces.” It is easy to see her point. Art, like fashion is more difficult to comprehend, especially as it becomes more conceptual. We live in a real world. Homes are not conceptual, or are they?

Frank Gehry and his patron, Peter B Lewis spent ten years and millions of dollars conceiving a home for businessman Lewis that was ultimately never built. In a conversational lecture I attended with the two, both expressed satisfaction with the project. Both “got what they wanted” from the exercise. For most people, a multi-million dollar, unbuilt home is not the end result expected when commissioning an architect. For the rarified few, conceptual can be enough.

Has fashion moved to a point of exclusion so advanced that it cannot be relative or of influence to products that will be used in homes and residences? The Met Gala and its ilk is of value to so few people I feel we are very close to that point.

So What Do I Do?

There are some overriding threads gleaned from recent fashion that do provide a glimpse from which I might draw some thoughts.

  • There are some post-streetwear rejections peeking for daylight. Is it possible that we might elevate our fashion game and dress-up again? It happened before. The Disco Era followed the Hippie Era and women turned to frilly dresses and men donned suits, albeit leisure, again.
  • There is a more fluid nature to color and patterns. Floral prints are used on menswear and herringbone suiting fabrics are showing up in dresses and blouses.
  • Clothes are simply becoming more and more asexual. With larger percentages of young people identifying as non-binary, options beyond non-sexual jeans make sense.

Could these mean we will see more formal homes in the future? Will there be more experimentation with color? Is there life after beige neutrals? Does a non-binary population relate to more flex spaces in a residence?

In short, I don’t know…yet. For the foreseeable future, I’ll continue to read about the assorted seasonal collections, watch the runway recaps on YouTube and file the photos I see for the next season in my mind’s hard drive. With enough information over an extended period of time, the relevance will become clearer and clearer…hopefully.

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