Commentary

Purple Reigns - At Least For An Upcoming 365 Days

Pantone has announced that the “complex and contemplative” Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future” is its color of the year for 2018. If you’re charting this at home, that’s Pantone 18-3838 on the spectrum.

Citing musical artists such Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix — all of whom “brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of Western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality” — Pantone says Ultra Violet “symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”

The designation “would have delighted Prince,” writes Lisa Boone for the Los Angeles Times. “The choice is not too surprising, given that Pantone and the late pop star’s estate designated ‘Love Symbol #2’ as his official color in August. The distinctive purple, inspired by Prince’s custom Yamaha purple piano, was designed to be a part of Prince’s tour before he died in April 2016,” she continues.

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The Baltimore Sun, on the other hand, thinks Ultra Violet “sure looks like the Ravens purple” — the couleur de guerre its beloved NFL team wears into battle every Sunday (or Thursday or Monday or Saturday). And even if the team fades in the playoffs next month, “at the very least, Ravens fans will be on trend with their gear and accessories.”

Okay, but what about the rest of us who don’t have a purple-garbed bunch of linemen and halfbacks in the game? Those of us for whom the “regal blue-toned shade of purple seems a bit intimidating to wear in everyday life”? 

Well, “working ultra-violet into your wardrobe is easier than it seems,” People’s Kami Phillips tells us. And “whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fashionista,” you can check out how you “can rock the 2018 Color of the Year with confidence and ease” with selections ranging from belted velvet leggings to ankle boots.

Ultra Violet’s origins in creative circles date back further than the rockin’ ’60s, by the way. 

It “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said by way of explanation. “It is found in the cosmos (think of all those swirling purple nebulae!), the wellness movement (amethyst crystals!) and was a favorite color of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who,” Eiseman informs the New York Times’s Vanessa Friedman, “used to wear a purple cape when he was trying to be creative. Ditto Wagner, who liked to surround himself with purple when he was composing.”

Eisemen also tells us that “each color of the year encompasses something about fashion, decorating and design trends while also reflecting ‘what's needed in our world today,’” NPR’s Camila Domonoske writes.

“Last year's color of the year was a ‘life-affirming’ shade of green. The year before was a pairing of rose quartz and serene blue that was seen as anti-stress while also nodding toward gender fluidity, Pantone said,” she continues.

“The color wasn't chosen because it's regal, though it resembles a majestic shade. It was chosen to evoke a counterculture flair, a grab for originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking, Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman tells the Associated Press’s Leanne Italie.

“We are living in complex times,” Pressman said. "We're seeing the fear of going forward and how people are reacting to that fear."

“Pressman wasn't keen on talking politics,” Italie writes. “The color, she said, playing out in home design, industrial spaces and products, fashion, art and food, reflects the idea of living not inside the box or outside the box but with no box at all. Specifically, she called the color ‘that complexity, that marriage, between the passionate red violets and the strong indigo purples.’”

If a barrage of provocative tweetstorms, untoward behaviors and rising taxes on your middle-class income has got you feeling anxious and unhinged, however, contemplate these pearls from the Pantone press release: 

“Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.”

Sat nam.

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