Fri, Dec 06, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Orchid is growing on us: It is the ‘it color’ of next year


Orchid is growing on us: A version of the purple hue is Pantone Inc’s color of the year for next year.

It follows this year’s pick of emerald green.

Officially known as “Radiant Orchid,” the tropical shade is a color-wheel contrast to green, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, but it is not the red that would have been a more obvious choice.

“It’s a little different, it’s a little off the beaten path, and it’s not a primary color,” she explains. “It’s an invitation to innovation. The purple family offers [an] opportunity to do creative things.”

And, she said, that is what pop culture wants right now.

“People associate purple with creativity and originality — and those are very valued today. We see words like that being used to describe technologies and products that are seen as innovative and with an approach you haven’t tried before,” Eiseman said.

Pantone sets color standards for commercial use by design industries.

Eiseman expects people will take to it quickly because it is a flattering color for many skin tones and complementary neutral colors, but it will also look like something people have not seen in a while. That should work in an economy that’s uncertain: not totally up, not fully down.

“This is an opportunity to look at what you’ve already got in your closet and add to it. It will feel like the right amount of change,” Eiseman added.

The runways and red carpet have already had a few orchid moments, and Eiseman says it is a color that the US’ first lady, Michelle Obama, often wears. Even menswear has seen hints of it, with Salvatore Ferragamo and Ermengildo Zegna incorporating it into ties and trims.

Pantone’s pick for color of the year will, in theory, have a strong presence in fashion, beauty, home design and consumer products.

“It’s very relevant for spring, but I think even going into next fall it can be very pretty,” said Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director of upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue.

“In ready-to-wear, it mixes with other tones like chocolate browns, and burgundy or Bordeaux makes for a deeper, richer tonal story,” she said.

Eiseman said the sign of success in her world is when she sees a color on a coffeemaker.

One in orchid is already in the works.

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