In advance of the upcoming Paris Market circuit, GDG virtually sat down with Patti Carpenter, Global Trend Ambassador for Maison & Objet and Principal of carpenter + company. The design forecaster is constantly looking toward the future for the latest macro trends.

Patti is persistently plugged-in with a ‘Marvel-comic-like antennae’ on high alert. In a typical workday, Patti said she is “reading a lot. Listening to webinars and podcasts, attending art shows and trade events, and constantly monitoring social media and international/political movements and exchanging with other colleagues in the industry who track trends.”

Patti is informed by the surrounding world and by experiences in international development, tracking trends and their causes firsthand and then funneling them into the directions that have lasting appeal.

“I began as an apparel designer on 7th avenue and worked for over two decades,” Patti said, who has worked within Oscar de la Renta, Timberland and finally Ralph Lauren, among many others. “We would begin every season with a theme, color palette and textiles and then design the garments. Home Décor works in the same way with color swatches and mood boards,” she added.

The consumer mindset was constantly shifting in new ways as technology and new consumer demands became the norm. As they shifted, Patti noticed a lack of color services that approached color and trend for the home in the same way that she did for fashion.

Considering herself a translator of concepts, Patti is skilled at helping brands understand and adapt international trends to their markets. She previously acted as a fashion VP and liaison, explaining the role of a quintessential black handbag for the American woman to a prominent international brand. Now, Patti uses that same interpreter expertise to bridge the gap between design styles.

“Because I came from fashion, my unique place was identifying trends and applying the ones I saw on the horizon for fashion, into the home as well. However, once fashion led the way, and that has changed drastically over the past 10 years due to how quickly information moves around the world,” Patti said.

Patti’s worldly approach to color allows her varied perspectives for palette predictions. For example, her reaction to Pantone’s Color of the Year Ultra Violet goes beyond a blind purple passion.

“Purple tends to be a color that Europe has no problems with, but in the States we don’t tend to resonate with purple in the same way. However it is the color of collaboration, coming together, visionary thinking and a place for the meeting of the minds,” Patti said.

The current political climate has made its way into color, noting Hillary Clinton’s purple suit in her 2016 concession speech. This significant symbolism of red and blue combining together, was not worn by chance says Patti. It’s a complex color for complex times.

She believes we will see a whole lot of purple in suede, velvet and plush fabrics as we seek comfort during these uncertain times.

GDG Quick Tip: Pair purples with taupe and coral, dusty blue-greens and warm whites for a fresh approach.

However, Patti sees our unconscious social conversation with color shifting to positivity. For many years the world went dark in reaction to our anxieties and black (literally), tapping into occult TV shows featuring tons of Vampires – Sorry Trueblood and Twilight. Now, the world is choosing bold and confident colors.

“We don’t see color happening in a vacuum, it is absolutely tied to shifts and movements in the world. Benjamin Moore’s beautiful Caliente, a rich ripe red, brings warmth and channels back to Climate Change. Other complex colors such as Sherwin-Williams’ teal shade, Oceanside, resonate in response to our focus on our ocean waters and clean water concerns.

Overall, the human population is talking – through color – about constrained time, the rise of mindfulness and taking care of ourselves, and indulging in emerging conveniences. We believe that time is shrinking due to political and ecological tensions. Color is our dialogue.

Lastly, Patti predicts a return to master craftsmanship in the New Year; a reawakening of the globally handmade and that connection to the person who makes it. There are new techniques in recycled glassmaking showing in Cairo, and Metal Smiths popping up in Brooklyn. 2018 is a time of rediscovery, confident color whether soft or saturated and lush, tactile textures!