Trend alert: Mexican Rainbow Christmas

As we made our round of the summer and autumn shows we were also mindful of heading quickly into the all-important trading season for gifts and decorative accessories, which is of course Christmas.

High Street bellwether, John Lewis, has tried to predict how Brits will be decorating their homes for Christmas this year via seven multi-sensory collections with colourways ranging from ruby red through to gold, amber and moonstone hues.
Each of the collections is themed around a specific landscape with its attendant colours, sounds and fragrances. These seven can be combined to create what John Lewis believes will be the biggest trend for Christmas 2018, the rainbow Christmas tree, partly thanks to its particularly Instagram-friendly qualities.

The store’s Christmas buyer, Dan Cooper, says that “Moving through the spectrum of colours on your tree from top to bottom is a sure-fire way to create a showstopping centrepiece”, also encouraging people to be adventurous and experiment with colour.

“We think that the rainbow trend we’ve seen break through this summer is set to filter through to Christmas this year” agrees the Junior Christmas buyer, Scott Bartle, confirming that “The trend originates from social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, where a colourful post means more likes!”

Other eclectic trends will carry through from the spring and summer, including the current passion for Frida Kahlo and beautifully demonstrated in this delicate bauble from Harrods and hand-blown glass figurine ornament by Zinnia Folk Arts.

One of the biggest shows for this sector is Christmasworld in Frankfurt, which took place in January, and their four major trend predictions for the season – created by European forecasting agency, Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano – are worth recalling.

The first of these is Vivid Heritage, which draws on patterns and motifs from folklore, together with handicraft skills and craftsmanship. Inspiration comes from Mexico (there’s Frida again!), Brazil, Scandinavia, Romania, Russia and Poland, with bold and ethnic designs which incorporate foliage or geometrical patterns. Characteristic of this handicraft style are scratching, engraving, etching and grinding techniques, as well as painting, appliqué and embroidery. Mustard, petrol and red are predominant colours.

Eclectic Gathering is a multi-faceted, dynamic and striking with plenty of bold contrasting colours, especially pink, lemon, mandarin and azure combined with delicate rose, black and gold. Extremely diverse design elements are in evidence and inspiration comes from creating something new by putting disparate things together. Collage is the starting point for this extravagant trend. Materials, textures and patterns appear in surprising contexts. There is an imaginative use of motifs and colours extending from delicate blossom and butterflies to exciting, spray colour effects and in-your-face fluorescent neon elements.

Balanced Sobriety is clear and simple, inspired by a purist Japanese aesthetic that achieves its appeal through a consistently calm and harmonious outward effect. The key here is to express the essentials with minimum means and a discreet palette ranging from pure white to rose gold, a shiny but cool grey, deep bordeaux red and black. A limited number of materials is involved and they captivate our attention through the consistency and perfection with which they are used. Think finely worked wood, artistic woven and braided structures, knotting, folding, high-quality natural papers, folded and fan-like shapes.

Splendid History is elaborate, sumptuously decorated and opulent. Designs are decorative, often with a multitude of historical allusions, but embodying an unmistakably contemporary approach. An elegant series of dark, saturated colours provides the sumptuous glow of aventurine, an elegant aquamarine and warm gold. Refined textiles, lace, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, marble, metal-effect surfaces and dark woods predominate with designs brimming with palm fronds, large feathers and exotic leaves.

Another trend we see either on the horizon or already instore is related to lemons, possibly as a creative extension to the long-term gin and tonic craze which seems to have taken permanent hold over the UK. Designer April Raven has created a directional new Sicilian Lemon collection of garden giftware for Briers, whilst Premier Decorations previewed cute lemon-slice LED lights at trade exhibitions this autumn. Candied peel and pot pourri are traditional Christmas favourites so this would appear to have potential for festive decor, perhaps an interesting take on the rainbow theme would be multi-coloured fruit lights or baubles layered on the tree.



In the greetings card arena we’ve been attracted to designs which work hard for the money and deliver more than a simple card, extremely charming though simple cards can be. Spotted at Top Drawer was the wonderful Pop Out Card company, which has a multitude of cute designs covering all occasions and taps the homespun crafting trend without trying to get too complicated – this cute Daschund design hit the spot!

Meanwhile the Queen of Christmas decorations – and many other occasions, besides – is still Gisela Graham, who presented one of the most spectacular stands at Spring Fair earlier this year. Any one of her beautiful creations would be worthy of an inclusion but we thought this Alice in Wonderland set of tree decorations was just the right combination of perfectly classic and every so slightly kitsch.