Who says so? The people at Pantone. Like it or not, we are going to see a lot of purple next year.
Purple, or to be precise Radiant Orchid, is going to colour 2014
Emerald green, the colour of 2013, is so passé. It is about to be replaced by Radiant Orchid, a pinkish purple, say the colour watchers at Pantone.
Don’t scoff. The experts at the Pantone Color Institute in the United States wield enormous influence. Even if purple isn’t your colour, the chances are that you’re going to be surrounded by it in the coming year, on the street, on billboards, in stores, in movies, adverts and maybe even in your home.
Clothes, accessories, shoes, make-up, fashion jewellery, furniture, even cars and household appliances like coffee machines will feature Pantone’s 2014 colour of the year, or shades of it.
To some, this may evoke a disturbing return to the garish 1980s and the Prince anthem Purple Rain. But to Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, 18-3224 Radiant Orchid is nothing less than “absolutely magical”
“It’s a colour that draws you in , it’s a colour that speaks to creativity, so wearing it enhances your feeling of being more creative, being more innovative, and that is so important in today’s life, we’re all looking for that touch of uniqueness.”
Radiant Orchid marks a shift to the opposite end of the colour spectrum from emerald, a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, said Pantone. “An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health,” the company said.
Pantone, owned by the US company Danaher, is a world leader in providing colour matching systems for designers across a wide swathe of consumer products industries, from fashion to car makers. It bases its choice of “colour of the year” on interviews conducted with graphic, industrial, fashion and other designers as well as manufacturers and retailers.
It asks them what colours they plan to use in the coming seasons, and variations of pink and purple have already been in evidence on the New York and Paris modelling events showing 2014 spring fashions. A variety of purple hues was abundant at shows by Prada, Chanel and Dior, which tend to influence other fashion designers.
The company derives its clout from its access to top professionals and the inside knowledge it gains from them – and from widespread reporting of its choice in the fashion media.
“The colour of the year shows we’re facing rosy times,” declared the German edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. “Here’s how to wear the 2014 trend colour,” wrote German women’s magazine Bunte, displaying a photo of the Hollywood actress Amy Adams wearing a purple dress by the designer Prabal Gurung at the New York Film Festival in October.
It’s already trendy. An orchid-coloured Gucci handbag was photographed for a Saks ad, and America’s first lady Michelle Obama is often spotted wearing shades of purple. It’s even being seen in menswear with Ermenegildo Zegna and Salvatore Ferragamo using it on ties and trims.
“At Pantone we travel the world and look for all the clues that are out there, our colour antennae are going all the time, we look for what we think is emerging in markets,” said Ms Eiseman.
From the consumer standpoint, if you know the colour of the year and it’s being put out there in a concept car, in coffee makers and so on, you’re going to be able to see the colour and it’s going to register in your mind so that you’re going to be looking for that colour, you’re going to be more selective.”
Emerald certainly did turn out to be a big colour this year and the red-orange Tangerine Tango was in 2012.
“Women who follow fashion want to be wearing the colour of the moment,” Ken Downing, the fashion director at Neiman Marcus, a chain of US luxury department stores, told The Wall Street Journal. “Truly, pink is the colour.” Violet and purple clothes and accessories were the top sellers at the moment, he added.
However, not everyone is convinced. Milou Ket, a global trend analyst, said she was surprised by the choice of Radiant Orchid.
“I’ve been in the colour business for a long time and this one doesn’t look new to me,” said the Netherlands-based styling and design consultant, whose clients include Avon Cosmetics, L’Oréal, the Swedish fashion chain H&M, Body Shop and Samsung. “I had it in my colour card three or four years ago.
“I may be wrong, they might have statistics we don’t know. Or people may be so insecure that they go back to older colours.”
But Pantone argues that Radiant Orchid has a wide-ranging appeal. For fashion, the company said, the colour’s rosy undertones radiate on the skin, giving a healthy glow when worn by both men and women. One could be forgiven for suspecting that it’s mainly going to appeal to women, though.
For make-up, Pantone, added, it has the advantage of being flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones because it blends both cool and warm undertones.
For interiors, it complements an array of colours including greens, turquoise, teal and light yellows.
Housewares, cosmetics and packaging are already showing up in Radiant Orchid. One US maker will bring out a purple coffee machine in February. It’s a classic self-realising expectation – websites are already speculating that purple MP3 players will soon be selling best.
However, Pantone’s choice is not without rivals.
AkzoNobel, a leading coatings company based in the Netherlands, unveiled Teal as its “colour of the year 2014” at the World Architecture Festival in October.
Teal was chosen by a panel of international colour experts assembled by AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetic Center.
“The top trend color for 2014 perfectly combines the natural harmony of green with the tranquility of blue,” said Akzo. “Deeper and more sophisticated than turquoise, teal has a subdued richness which is often used to describe tropical seas of shimmering bluish green.”
So who should we believe? The next few months will tell.