Guess what? — fashion is no longer the sole predictor of style, splashing its color preferences all over the home decor world! Our big style trends are now being driven by — believe it or not — politics!

New products and designs shown recently in the big home shows have hinted at this kind of shift… and trend expert/marketing strategist Kim Barrington, editor of Trendcites, confirms it.

To begin with, she points to the recent use of more somber color palettes for fashion as one example of how the trends are now being driven by politics, both international and at home.

“This darkness of color, these deep blues, dark purples, dark greys, are really reflecting how we all feel right now about things going on around the world,” she says, citing the devastation of recent natural disasters around the world, global warming, “life in a post-9/11 world,” and seemingly endless conflict in the Middle East. “The world view can be seen as sad and weighty, why not dress accordingly?”

So the question is — how is this “world view” making itself felt in style trends, beyond a bent toward more subdued colours?

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Barrington points to the use of sustainable materials in packaging, cleaning products, cosmetics, interior design and fashion.

Even the color story is not all negative, by any means — notice the popularity of many hues of the color green, and the trend analysts predict, the emerging popularity of blue, “reflecting the colors of our fresh water lakes and favorite ocean views as an outcome of the push for doing things to save our planet.”

Watch for more earth tones and natural materials, too, I’d say. We’re likely to be seeing less of the hard urban edge in furniture, and more of gently rounded organic lines — and we’re already starting to see more of the upholstered furniture that’s 1950s substantial or low-slung to anchor an interior.

Designers agree that there’s continuing growth of interest in handmade and one-of-a-kind objects and art, in eco-friendly, fairly traded or locally produced products, and in interior decoration that draw on outdoor themes for its inspiration.

And, as the world grows ever more uncertain, too, I think it’s safe to say that the “nesting” trend will continue to grow, and with it a preference for entertaining at home… which invariably goes hand-in-hand with the launch of new and amusing gadgetry, of which Nintendo’s Wii is likely just this season’s notable forerunner.

So, what do you see in the cards for 2007?

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