Deck the halls with European trends

August 05, 2009
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Imagine five floors filled with stylish baubles, fresh florals, lots of sparkle, blinking lights, distinctive new containers, lavishly decorated trees and aisle after aisle of displays and booths. This is the scene that played out at the 2009 Christmasworld – The World of Event Decoration trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. The annual event takes place at Messe Frankfurt, the city’s renowned trade show venue and attracts more than 950 exhibitors from 38 countries. I was invited the attend the show at the beginning of January and spent three days with my camera in one hand snapping away and a notebook in the other, detailing the hot, and soon to be hot, European Christmas trends.

One major element to the trade show is the Christmasworld Trend Show, an area of the show that pinpoints the colours, patterns and designs that make up the four major trends for next season’s party goods and Christmas decorations. The show also offers trade visitors ideas on how to showcase these four style directions by erecting four showrooms to house themed window displays, table setups and in-store decorations.

Style agency bora.herke put together the 2009 trend philosophy under the overarching theme of “Express Your Dreams.” The four decorating trends announced at the show are “Airy,” “Sweet,” “Comfort” and “Obsession” and can be used to suit occasions thoughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of what each theme means and the materials and colours that fit the theme.


This trend evokes the idea of a fairy-tale world that’s both ethereal and earthy. The colours that make up this trend’s palette are pure white along with creamy textures and pastels that feature lightness as well as an iridescence, or a transparency. The movement of water like air bubbles, condensation, or even frozen objects and quartz, inspires the decorations for Airy. Sculptural elements like vases are often the centre of attention in this theme.

Materials: The materials are romantic and flowing like lace, organza, silk, tulle and chiffon but can also be sculptural like marble, glazed porcelain, mother of pearl and crystal. Finishes are usually high-gloss but can be used in both matte and dry or as a powdery, chalky look.

Designs: The designs are minimalist, with few graphic elements and are inspired by light and shadow effects. Blooms are gentle and pastel.


Vivid fresh colours like bright, ocean-coloured blues, magenta pinks and lime green make up the Sweet palette, along with vanilla and slate grey, which act as a neutrals. The theme is modern and girly with a little bit of kitsch. Accessories are candy-coloured, sugary, fresh and playfully shaped. Floral patterns are popular in this theme. The goal is to take everyday objects and decorate them in a fancy way to stun people. White-blossomed flowers add a contrast to the bright colours; garden flowers and orchids are also popular.

Materials: Sweet materials are mainly artificial and include plastic, paint, rubber, painted surfaces as well as gently coloured glass, satin ribbons, sequins, eyelet patterns and tulle. The finishes appear to be sugar-coated, candied and glazed.

Designs: Playful motifs like polka dots, stripes and ringlets accompany watercolours and painted flowers.


Comfort is true to its name and centres on the idea of feeling relaxed, well rested and homey. The colours are cool- and warm-toned and contrasting – bright red, black, dark grey, cool grey and a burnt orange make up the palette. The look is polished, functional, sophisticated and conceptual and is about designing, not decorating. Modern style mixes with traditional elements to create this look.

Materials: This palette favours comfortable materials like lamb’s wool, leather, suede, fine and coarse knits, as well as natural elements such as natural stone, untreated or polished wood, glass, engravings and beeswax. The finishes can anything from polished to brushed, metallic, chrome or aluminum.

Designs: Designs in the Comfort grouping are geometric, stone and wood grains, graphic structures and Norwegian patterns.


Rich, purple tones contrast with luxurious gold, metallic hues and black to create the Obsession theme. It’s all about decorations and details and this is demonstrated through shiny, high-gloss objects, smooth lines, high quality materials and elegant shapes and designs. Obsession mixes elements of both the past and present without appearing nostalgic or old-fashioned. The result is a theme that’s perfect for an elaborate nighttime party or a stylish family celebration.

Materials: This theme features hard materials like crystal, coloured glass, gemstones, bronze and gold, marble and mahogany wood. Soft fabrics like silk, satin, taffeta, velvet, embroidery, embossed,  leather and fur all complement the rigid finishes.

Designs: Patterns that fall under Obsession are art deco designs, paisleys, floral motifs like chrysanthemums and roses, decorative stripes and waves, as well as animal-like designs inspired by parrots, peacocks, dragonflies and butterflies.

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