The impact of the global health crisis and social movements of 2020 have given rise to new trends in color and design, but the ways that people are coping with hardships, be it through spirituality, religion or an appreciation for superheroes—both mythical and real—are paving a new path in how the Pantone Color Institute views color directions. This gap between logic and imagination serves as the inspiration for Pantone’s Fall/Winter 21-22 color forecast aptly named Mythos.
Though the past is always present in the firm’s color directions, Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman said the F/W 21-22 forecast is grounded by an inclusive and optimistic attitude towards the future “where we believe new myths and traditions will be created, reflecting humanity and our ability to adapt to new circumstances.”
And whether people are turning to real or mythical sources of strength, color will be used in uplifting ways. “We’re confident in our resilience and hopeful about what the future will bring—and hope is not a myth,” she added.
In a webinar Thursday, Pressman described the institute’s forecast and how it mirrors the collective mood for comfort and nostalgia as well as boldness.
“Some of us might be reminiscing, longing for the ways life used to be,” Pressman said. “A feeling that comes through more nostalgic color and design statements.” Retro and vintage also play a role here, reflected in the pattern and color stories.
A strong push in the design and art world is also leading Pantone to look deeply into monochromatic statements, especially black-and-white combinations. Other monochromatic palettes, Pressman said, are expressed in a new way that amplifies the power of a single color in all its varieties.
“All in all, our colors for Autumn/Winter 21-22 work on a community embracing different styles and cultures, while retaining their individualism,” Pressman said.
Pinks continue to be a favorite across the spectrum, while the red family veers towards a “true red” that Pressman said will dominate F/W 21-22 as a symbol for political activism and empowerment, and fuel passion for socially responsible behavior.
A range of calm and subtle yellow hues are highlighted by energizing bright yellows. Oranges, meanwhile, are described as “sweet and sour” and “soft and sharp.” The color works as a single strong statement, or works as an accent color for red, brown and a wide range of pastels, Pressman said.
Wood-inspired brown tones are “warm and historic” with a sumptuous polished and heritage feeling that comes to life on plush velour as well as patent and lacquered surfaces.
Described by Pressman as “a universal consumer favorite,” F/W 21-22 shades of blue span soft winter sky blues and traditional Wedgwood hues into “virtual” blues bearing a digital or synthetic look. Likewise, greens step away from natural vegetation and into a more mysterious realm pulled from under the sea. “Complex purples” enhance Pantone’s mythology-based theme for the season, evoking a sense of spirituality.
Neutrals carry weight as well. Pristine and pure snow white is balanced by bone white, which Pressman said offers a more organic look. She added that the shades work well together, on their own or juxtaposed with After Dark black, the firm’s key shade of black for the season.
Touches of green and yellow update taupe for the season, and grays are grounded, heavy and often infused with a hint of metallic. “There’s a certain natural modesty about them, and a subtle calming influence,” Pressman said.
Pantone’s mythology story is evident in Odyssey, a family of technical “tropospheric blues” and metallic silver that Pressman said represent our desire to explore. Here, celestial white, bright blue and navy black can pair with sport-driven primary colors or pastels for modernity. Protective and illuminating materials, technical coatings and glowing iridescent surfaces can be applied to everyday fashion, or gear for extreme conditions, she added.
In Talisman, Pantone brings together powdered neutrals with geological tones. Tinted whites and metallic gold, Pressman said, tap into a new aesthetic that embraces delicate, artisanal qualities made with materials that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.
“Combining that rawness with technical perfection, products in Talisman are inspired by organic materials including wood, opal, crystal quartz and precious metals giving value to high-end craft,” she said.
Crimson rouge offset by “solid and steadfast neutral warm gray” make up Totem, a dramatic color story that is both beguiling and aggressive, Pressman said. The contrasting colors draw attention to garment shape, making it a key theme for statement seasonal pieces. The addition of rose and orchid changes the narrative to focus on intimacy and magic.
In Votive, soft sage and forest greens are paired with warm shades of brown. The color story is about “turning our backs, for a moment, on our overloaded lives to connect back to the roots of humanity and primal origins,” Pressman said. Purple-tinted gray brings lightness to the color story, but the subtle colors provide a canvas for fashion made with reworked materials, mending and repair, she added.
Four shades of “powerful green” spanning warm khaki to dark olive and cooler tones of evergreen and deep forest make up Custodian, a color story that draws from nature as well as mystical landscapes. The shades of green are mixed with woodland browns and blues that introduce a water element, Pressman described, while “glistening tones of ochre” enhance this world of underwater textures.
Pantone’s color family, Rituals, maintains this mysterious vibe with ceremonial purple, impulsive red, intense orange and cyber yellow. Pressman described the theme as a “positive and energetic attitude” that combines artisan and technical looks to make inclusive and multicultural statements.