Color Us An Enchanting Pinky Purple

by , Dec 5, 2013, 7:56 AM
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Drumroll, please! Official URL for the photo of the digital swatch. And the winner is … Radiant Orchid!

It's one of my favorite moments of the business calendar: the morning after Pantone has announced the hot color of the forthcoming year. I imagine designers everywhere scrambling to remix the dyes in their vats and fashionistas plowing through their parlor-sized closets to figure out what accessories to mix and match. (A hint: Radiant Orchid pairs well with green, blogs Jennifer Heebner on the Jewelers Circular Keystone Online, for a little contrast. It’s also good with lavender or pink for that “tone-on-tone look.”)

Oh, and about that closet. Time to take a brush to it, no? 

Head over to your local Lowe’s, where Radiant Orchid is joining the rest of the Pantone Universe Paint Collection and is available in Valspar Signature, a “high-quality interior paint … that comes in matte, eggshell, satin and semi-gloss finishes and retails for $31.98 to $34.98 per gallon,” according to another PR Newswire release.

“Color amateurs will be interested to know that the shade is exactly 18-3224 on Pantone's color chart, but to everyone else it's an ‘enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones,’ according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute” in Carlstadt, N.J., writes Olivia Bergin in the UK’s Telegraph, signaling the global impact of the announcement.

“Une violine expressive, exotique et attrayante!” raves Cosmopilitan.fr in a subhed.

“A very nice shade of pinky purple,” observes Gizmodo’s Jamie Condliffe. “And, boy, you better get used to seeing it around: when Pantone chooses a color of the year, you can be certain you'll see it in clothes and drapes and mugs and phone cases and who knows what else.”

No doubt you’ve noticed the stark contrast to last year’s emerald. That’s on purpose, of course, although some of us may be excused if we’re surprised by the nuances.

“‘The tropical shade is a color-wheel contrast to green,’ said Eiseman … ‘but it's not the red that would have been a more obvious choice,’” reports the AP’s Samantha Critchell. “It's a little different, it's a little off the beaten path, and it's not a primary color.… It's an invitation to innovation. The purple family offers (an) opportunity to do creative things,” Eiseman explains.

You can get your Pantone Radiant Orchid Color Swatch Card on Amazon Prime for $9.95 (fret not about this morning’s limited supply. More are on the way!). For the latest news, trends, information and conversations about color, options abound. You can connect with Pantone on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the Pantone Blog

And color news does change fast. Wasn’t it just a couple of months ago that Women’s Wear Daily’s Rosemary Feitelberg informed us that Radiant Orchid was running third behind Dazzling Blue and Violet Tulip as Pantone’s “Top Colors for Spring 2014”? Both Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton are fans of Radiant Orchid, we learned, but Dazzling Blue was the “color of choice for Citibank’s bike sharing program for Facebook’s Social Butterfly Blue.” 

More significantly, Feitelberg reported in her lede, “While worldwide economic and political stability still remains out-of-reach for many, designers are using a more balanced color palette to restore some equilibrium.”

Phew. 

And perhaps the best news you’ll read in a long time comes from an interview with Pantone’s Eiseman, who tells the Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley that this is a new era “where people's clothes and even kitchen appliances are no longer matchy-matchy, and radiant orchid can share space on the counter with 2010's turquoise and other shades.” Not only that, she says, but also: “We're far beyond the ’70s when the decree was made that mauve was ‘it.’”

Double phew. I don’t know about you, but that matchy-matchy thing indeed has been a heavy cloud hanging over me since the days of Jimi Hendrix.

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