“BACK TO THE FUTURE”

When a trend becomes a timeless look. Or not.

Let’s start with a story. Coke and Pepsi have been at each other’s throats since forever, finding tricksy and bitingly sarcastic ways to off each other in the eyes of their soda quaffing target market. Pepsi pulled off a “Back to the Future”-type ad where teens of the future are rummaging around an archaeological dig with a teacher, unearthing strange, long lost objects from the last century. One kid pulls out an electric guitar. “What’s this, Prof?” “Why that’s a strange old instrument that was played with the fingers and caused many gyrations of the hips”. The future kids all chortle. How bizarre, they think. Someone else finds an old pair of sneakers, and the prof explains what they were. Another kid finds a skateboard, which is also explained to them.

And then… drum roll… a kid pulls out an old, murky coke bottle. “What is this, professor?” The prof looks at it from every angle, hums and haws, mystified. Eventually, he says…”I have NO idea”. End of ad up comes the Pepsi slogan – “the choice of a new generation” – and everyone gets the joke. Pepsi will last. Coke will be forgotten. Nice, try Pepsi.

You get fads. You get trends. And then you get the trends that hang around for years and years, and shift paradigms to become looks. Among the myriad fashion ideas that all had their five minutes of fame, Animal Print arrived. And then it stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Along with the Trench Coat (which was born in 1956), it is now one of the cornerstones of all good wardrobes. (What? No trench? No animal print? Shame on you. Rectify the sitch immediately, friend.)

Coco Chanel, arguably the greatest style guru of all time had this to say:

“Fashion changes. Style endures.”

Homeware fashions and trends are no different. Some ideas trend, but last a season. Like Ultra Violet, whose garish screech lasted for a short while only (and we are still giving thanks for her quick exit).  Others keep trending. Keep coming back. Patchwork tiles, for example. And mosaics, which keep on reinventing themselves. Both looks had their origins in ancient history, popped back on the horizon in the 19th century, and then again in the mid-20th century. Lo and behold, they’re reimagined, absolutely gorgeous, and back for good. Centro Viena really owns the decorative patchwork look, while Global Stone has taken mosaics to the next level.

XXL tiles.

Large format tiles – also called slabs – have been around for at least a decade. About two years ago, they became popular, and for jolly good reason. XXL tiles offer the extraordinary opportunity to rock two aesthetics at the same time: the austere architectural vibe, and the look of luxurious elegance: both timeless styles. I mean, what could be more elegant than a sweep of glamorously veined marble across a floor or wall. The real thing will cost an arm and a leg … and crack and damage over time, but our huge range of marble-finish porcelain tiles will put on the ritz far more affordable, and offer an easy-to-maintain and long-lasting surface.

All our larger format tiles make the most of any space, large or small, and offer rectified edges, which results in minimal grout lines and an almost seamless finish. Go big and glam with long and slender Barkwood, marble-ous, delicately veined Marvel Pro Grey Fleury or Calacatta Extra, magnificent stone-look Klif, Super-textural Spazio with its unique flecked finish, earthspirational Ritual with authentic clay tones, or the muscular, mighty 1200x1200 cement-look Baltimore in a wide range of finishes (including slip-resistant), sizes and tones. Oh, and for big industrial minimalism, go with Steeltech. Our XXL list is endless, so you are bound to find the perfect finish to translate the trend into your living space.

The Victorian bathroom.

“To live like royalty”. Yes, well, dream on… in a Victorian bathroom. Aah, the yearning for a bygone era of swishing skirts, beribboned parasols, horse-drawn carriages and upper-class English Heritage. Thanks, Downton Abbey, for bringing back the past.

The ultra-feminine Victorian trend is here to stay. Decorative, stately, opulent, the look really comes to life in the bathroom. Our sigh-worthy Victoria and Albert baths are The Last Word in reimagined retro upper-class tubs. Take their Pembroke bath, for example: named after the birthplace of an ancient English monarch. It truly evokes that regal elegance we love to love when we watch British monarchy on TV. Then finish off your Vogue-Torian bathroom with our beautifully crafted Heritage accessory range, guaranteed for a lifetime of right royal style.

The checkerboard look. Black and White forever.

The monochrome look has always had a seat on The Popularity Bus, but over the past couple of years, the black and white checkerboard has made an even bigger comeback. In bathrooms, kitchens or entrance halls, the black and white look will always be with us, rather like The Little Black Dress. Dress it up with glamorous contemporary décor finishes… or down, with Provençal shabby chic, or anything and everything in between, including the opulent Victorian look.

Add timeless elegance to a kitchen backsplash or smarten up your pool area with Global Stone’s large black hexagonal with white inset mosaics. A classic kitchen cries out for a black and white floor, and our Silk Anthracite and Silk Blanco pair up like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to turn your floor into a contemporary classic masterpiece. Then there’s decorative Pavimento Bulgary, for a dynamic, decorative patchwork spin on the monochrome trend.

Then, of course, you can embrace your dark side and break up the monochrome with contrasting black elements in an all-white room. Oh… where to start with the list of black beauties. How about a Cotto Thantara Black Counter Top basin, or a deeply delicious black and white Victoria and Albert Terrassa double-ended freestanding bath, or glintingly black Hexagon Enviro Glass mini mosaics. Then, you could add divine little dabs of matt black to your white bathroom with our velvety black Dominus Omega Black accessories. In the kitchen, add drama with a chrome and black rubber Move Sink Mixer from Nobili.

Winding your way through the myriad trends out there can put the untrained trend hunter into a bit of a froth. Fret not, friend. Come into your nearest Italtile, arm yourself with a delish @craftcoffeesa signature blend cappuccino, and have a talk with one of our interior design qualified sales advisers.

In the end, here’s the best advice: fantasize about a fashion fad by all means, but the wise stylist will invest in a look that’s there for the long term and add fashionable, seasonal touches to refresh it every now and then.

Live beautifully!

Ciao.