Livingetc lifestyle journalist, Neil McLennan, presented his Christmas 2017 trend forecast at Home & Gift, Harrogate after previewing the festive plans of leading British retailers including John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and others.
Introducing his “crystal ball predictions”, Neil went onto admit that “the secret is there are no such thing as trends and consumers essentially want the same thing each Christmas”, meaning the job of retailers and merchandisers is to give them an up to date twist and new ideas to spice up
“There are no wrong answers”, he added, lest independents fear they might have bought the wrong products or somehow missed the mark.
His interior décor tips included a glamorous update on pure white he dubbed ‘From Russia with Love’, or ‘St Petersburg white nights’, which brought ornate embellishments and accents of super trendy ‘millennial pink’ and baby blue. Or you might “add wings and fur and
call it Narnia!” for a “sophisticated and achievable” look to inspire your customers.
The festive staples of gold and metallic can be brought in line with 2017 trends with a sumptuous Art Deco, Great Gatsby-style interpretation – dubbed ‘The Midas Touch’ by Neil – which extends to brushed brash cutlery, or rose gold and copper decorative highlights.
Another festive must have is the now not-so-humble Advent Calendar, which over the past few years has morphed into a beautiful gift item in its own right, pioneered by luxury brands such as Fortnum & Mason, which presents some fabulous calendars filled with tea, chocolate or other goodies.
The most traditional trend is more of an evergreen perennial, based on Christmas favourite The Nutcracker and the Germanic folklore of timeless fairytales. This failsafe theme can be revamped with a Midsummer Night’s Dream style interpretation featuring magical woodland animals and “masses and masses of greenery” that brings the forest indoors.
Balmoral brings a strong heritage look featuring wood, tartan, plaid, pinecones and tweed. Especially with red and white candy stripes and a luxury wooden toy box feel. Here is where the ubiquitous stag heads come into play.
Much more unusual is the eclectic and exotic ‘Kitsch Colour trend inspired by the colourful crafts of traditional Mexico pinatas and India culture. Peacocks and other exotic birds and beasts come strongly into play here and jewel colours predominate. Here is where Cacti survive the summer and adorn your winter wonderland!
Branching out from décor, “grown-up edibles”, which translate as ‘with alcohol’ are good garden centre options, including cocktail-flavoured jellies and flavoured bubbles alongside unusual vegetable-based cakes and puddings of the like offered by Blackberry Cottage.
The ongoing consumer appetite for crafting is also suitable for garden centre customers, with gin-making kits, personalised stockings, bespoke baubles and crafted decs adding up to a customer-friendly ‘I made it myself’ trend that makes for attractive merchandising.
On the gift side he predicts that anything related to robots and artificial intelligence is going to be huge, with John Lewis already devoting a lot of space to this massively building trend. Tech-related products in general will fit the bill, including “smart operated anything” and mobile device accessories.
In the fashion field he instructed us to “forget the Christmas jumper because this is the year of the festive suit!” Our hearts tremble and we wonder if the planes to Bikini atoll are already full!
Last but not least, most of you won’t need Neil’s prompting to “take it outdoors” with all-weather wreaths, outdoor Christmas trees and festive garden lighting that ensures Christmas is an all-round house and garden occasion.