follow us
Susan Dickenson

California Gift Show highlights

January 22, 2008

Over 1,200 exhibitors from more than 40 countries presented products at the winter California Gift Show in balmy Los Angeles Jan. 18-21. Home accents highlights from the show included the recycled textiles and natural fiber products of Los Angeles-based Chestnuts & Papaya, a company that began in 1996 when its three owners (Aldo Palmieri, Mary Ossanna and Robin Fauser, shown in photo at right) combined their fashion backgrounds and international travel experiences to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for the home. Chestnuts & Papaya also provided the decor for the gift show’s Gold Coast buyers’ lounge. Miniature concrete products by Nobuhiro Sato of Pull+Push Products, Kyoto, Japan (photo at left), were new in the Molla Space collection of Japanese design. Sato’s cottage-shaped incense pots, tiny "abandoned buildings" turned planters, Kiso building foundation ashtrays and footprint ashtrays will change color and feel over time, just as buildings do in real life. Also at Molla Space, Jeff Liu exhibited brightly colored creature banks among his 2-in-1 polypropylene mug trash cans and spoon-shaped Kamui magazine racks, manufactured and sold under the ideaco brand name (photo, left). Also new at the winter show were Lauren Fleischer’s Sweet Meats decorative pillows, complete with butcher paper wrapping (photo, right). An all-new floor presentation space, “The Platform,” provided an open format for live programs including a 90-minute LA Trend Report discussion moderated by Liezel Munez-Gunn, West Coast contributing editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, and five local retailers. The retailers, from L.A. establishments Zipper (home décor), Diane Merrick (women’s apparel), Fred Segal Beauty and Shop Intuition (women’s apparel), addressed a variety of topics including servicing the celebrity customer, the effect of the ongoing writers’ strike on local retailers, selecting inventory for an aging demographic, best sellers and best customers. Offerings from many of the show’s exhibitors were worn, carried, danced with, or used as stage props in “Flaunt,” an interactive product theater staged and choreographed by Danny Teeson from Bravo TV’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl,” and presented several times during the four-day gift show. Colorful cotton gift show bags customized with the CGS logo and made with 100% vegetable and mineral dyes were provided by Handmade Expressions, an Austin, Texas-based sourcing partner for global, fair trade and environmentally products. See you next week in Las Vegas!