There’s an understanding that high fashion runway shows dictate the hot colors for the season — but where do designers choose those colors in the first place? You can be sure they aren’t picked out of thin air.
One such source of inspiration is Pantone’s Color of the Year — and you might be wondering how it’s chosen.
Pantone announced at the beginning of December that Radiant Orchid is the color of the year for 2014. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society,” according to a press release.
Twice a year Pantone, best know for its Pantone Matching System, invites a group of colorists that work with their own country’s national color groups, and consultants from companies ranging from Airbus to Zara, to discuss what color will dominate in the next year. The participants pitch color concepts to the group, interwoven with theoretical narratives to explain their choices. For instance, 2013’s color, Emerald, “served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity.”
The meetings’ results publish in Pantone View, a publication purchased by companies across the consumer landscape. Readers range from fashion designers to supermarket chains to the floral industry.
So how much stock should we take in Pantone’s announcement of the next year’s hottest color — considering the company sells color?
Color consultant Leatrice Eiseman told Slate in April 2012 that Pantone’s color forecasting effort suffers from two misconceptions. “The first is that there is some kind of ‘evil cabal’ that ‘schemes to get the colors out there.’ The second is ‘let’s just throw a dart and wherever it lands is what’s going to be the hot color for next year.'”
Pantone has chosen a color of the year since 2000 — the first was Cerulean Blue. Remember Miranda Priestly’s speech about Cerulean in Devil Wear’s Prada?
Color of the Year increased visibility with a Sephora partnership with Pantone in 2012 (that year the color was Tangerine Tango). The Sephora + Pantone Universe collection features high pigment products in the new It color each year, allowing consumers to jump on the trend as quickly as possible. Other brands are already following suit for 2014, from Thomas Pink to Old Navy to Keurig (yes, Keurig).
“Colors and trends on the runway are now seen simultaneously by consumers and the trade,” Kevin Carrigan, global creative director at Calvin Klein, told Slate. “As a result, they are adopted much faster on all levels.”
What do you think? Will you coordinate Radiant Orchid into your style in 2014?
Photo: Sephora’s The Glossy.