Mid Century design has always had its collectors, and always will. I think the fact that huge swaths of real estate in this country are Post War means that there will always be a strong market for things that look good in those environments.
But let's be honest with ourselves...the craze of Mid Century; the insinuation of it into every level of design and commerce, into every level of society, probably spells its doom. Three years ago, no one over 30 was familiar with the term "Mid Century." Today, elderly folks are using all the right key terms to accurately attribute their furniture on Craigslist. Or innacurately. Suddenly everything is Mid Century. The awful table made out of a wagon wheel. The "French Provincial" girl's bedroom set.
We are visually saturated with these images, and the eye grows weary. Rather than finding the lines fresh and stimulating, they will begin to seem a little old. Common. When every mop and kitty litter commercial begins to feature homes decorated in vaguely or overtly Mid Century style, it's a good sign that the renaissance of MCM is over. It's been appropriated by the mainstream, and it has become, for the time being, boring.
So what's on the horizon? If we know one thing, it's that trends swing to extremes: once overstuffed and comfy got old, we turned to clean, lean, and modern. So, if the slim, uncomplicated lines of Mid Century seem overplayed, what will the market turn to next? What, exactly, is the antithesis of the 60s?
Interviews as far back as 2006 and 2007 have tastemakers declaring the 80s as The Next Big Thing. "Mark my words," they say, and yet several years later it hasn't truly come to fruition.
At an auction several years ago, a designer, mistaking my friendliness for naivete (happens all the time), decided to share with me her trade secrets. Pointing to a Mid Century chair she said, "Whatever you do, don't buy that stuff. It's on its way out. Florals and Modern Country are making a comeback."
One thing we do know is that we won't, currently, find the Next Big Thing all that attractive. Maybe right now we even find it repulsive. That's because it hasn't been overexposed yet, and retailers haven't adapted it to make it more approachable.
So, maybe Kelly Wearstler's weird mauve lacquered 80s hotel furniture is just a frontrunner for the styles we will all be dying for in a few years. Maybe we love to hate her because we don't (yet) understand her. Maybe the visual equivalent of elevator music really is the Next Big Thing.
What's your forecast for the NBT? What trends are you spotting?