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Anything Goes: Color for Fall/Winter 19-20 Breaks Seasonal Habits

How can you predict something as unpredictable as fashion is today? It isn’t easy, but there are some things to note.

Stilettos are out. Sneakers are in—and the uglier, the better. Gen Z either wants to wear crop tops or multiple parkas at once à la Balenciaga. And the influencers are not the Hollywood beauties gawked over in People magazine, but rather, young creative entrepreneurs like Luka Sabbat or America’s richest self-made woman, 20-year-old make-up mogul Kylie Jenner.

In fashion, anything goes, but for Fall/Winter 19-20, really, anything goes. The season will be powered by iconic looks from the ’70s, maximalism of the ’80s, sport and streetwear, as well as macro trends that touch on mysticism, slow living and self-branding.

One factor, however, that unites the all-over-the-place season is color—or at least the importance of it.

“There is no unity in the market,” Laurie Pressman, Pantone Color Institute vice president, said in a webinar Thursday outlining the key color stories for Fall/Winter 19-20.

The complexity of the season and its wide breadth of influences are leading to unpredictable color arrangements, but Pantone is making sense of it all. Pressman honed in the key colors that will have a place in Fall/Winter 19-20 women’s, men’s, children’s and active apparel.

Red Pear, a delicious deep red, is meant to entice. Valiant Poppy, the most “outgoing” of reds, is a highly impactful color destined to make a bold statement. Nebulas Blue, a starry sky blue, offers a brighter alternative to traditional autumnal navy. Ceylon Yellow, a “savory and spicy” color, results in exotic color combinations.

Martini Olive, a smooth and sophisticated green, adds depth. Russet Orange, the season’s answer for orange-brown, has an underlying brightness. Ultra Violet, the blue-based purple and 2018 color of the year, has staying power. Crocus Petal, a light and airy lavender that smacks of spring, breaks seasonal boundaries. Limelight, a yellow-based green, grabs the eye (especially in sport).

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Quetzal Green, a blue green, conjures up the feeling of lush and rich plumage. Tofu, a staple for winter, offers a creamy white base. Almond Buff, a pale camel, exemplifies understated elegance. Quiet Gray, a light and unobtrusive shade, serves as a timeless neutral. Meerkat, an adaptable taupe brown, is bound to live across various trend stories.

With colors running the gamut, Pressman stressed the importance of designing for consumers’ lifestyles, passions and interests—not the traditional ideals of what has defined a demographic, like age and gender.

Fashion is embarking on a new path that favors self-expression, individuality, fluidity and acceptance, according to Pressman, and if you can dream it, someone will wear it.

“It’s clear that we no longer want to feel limited by traditional color guidelines and typical winter shades,” she said. “We want to experiment with color all year around without any restrictions.”