The home and gift industry has become adept at creating vibrant, trend-making products based on various fauna and flora. Pineapples and flamingos have been ubiquitous at shows and contemporary gift stores for practically forever, whilst toucans and other tropical creatures have been holding the fort since the Rio Olympic games.
As the scorching British summer keeps getting hotter a new troupe of furry friends –whimsical-looking alpacas and llamas – have taken centre stage. This cute, whimsical trend has possibly been inspired by a rapid expansion of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo’s, licensing programme and a spectacular exhibition celebrating the her life at the V&A.
The Frida fever produced a noteworthy display at Spring Fair earlier this year, where Talking Tables made a spectacular, show-stopping feature out of their new Frida Kahlo licensed table and party-ware. Surface-pattern designer, Jan Constantine, has also produced a lovely line in Frida-licensed cushions that’s worth investigating and sits very well alongside her recent tropical collections.
A visit to the equally sweltering Frankfurt, home of kick-starter summer show, Tendence, confirmed that llamas and alpacas are having a major moment in the sun, whilst the Harrogate Home & Gift exhibition told us that the woolly South American favourites are here for at least another season or three.
As Brits get increasingly used to be permanently boiling hot, the taste for piñata-style accessories can only get stronger, particularly as it dovetails neatly with the unabating passion for cacti, both real and in home, gift design and fashion design. Perhaps specialty food and drink producers need to start investigating tequila-tinged treats at the earliest opportunity.
Anything with a chilli-hot Mexican vibe is on trend but there’s something about those cute-llama faces that has plenty of mileage for home accessories, plush, stationery, wall-art and any kind of surface design.
The trend has also been fuelled by the growing preponderance amongst good-life pursuing British small-holders for keeping alpacas and llamas, with the former being especially prized for their luxurious wool.
At Harrogate we discovered a charming independent company called Temporary Measure, which based most of its products around its own home-bred alpacas. Product categories range from story books, cards and jigsaws to hand knitted plush, slippers and hot water bottle covers made of super-soft baby alpaca yarn.
Images from top to bottom: Temporary Measure, Society6, Jan Constantine, Tendence, Talking Tables, Temporary Measure, Zaka Europe.