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Pantone Picks Two Shades for Color of the Year

Pantone Color of the Year

A picture-perfect New York City sunset lit up Instagram on Nov. 22, as jaded Manhattanites marveled at the sky’s slow change from pale blue to cotton-candy pink, proving that the classic color combo could still capture the attention of millions.

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come. The color experts at Pantone on Thursday revealed Rose Quartz, a warm rose tone, and Serenity, a cool and tranquil blue, to be their color of the year for 2016—choosing two shades for the first time ever.

According to the Carlstadt, New Jersey-based color consulting firm, Rose Quartz “conveys compassion and a sense of composure,” while Serenity “comforts with a calming effect, bringing feeling of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

“We are continually bombarded with information, exposed to anything and everything. The global economy is uncertain and politically there is most definitely a clashing of opinion,” explained Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “Consumers are trying to balance their fast-paced lives with some calm. Not only are we losing our connection to others, but also to ourselves.”

She continued, “This is a harmonious pairing of inviting shades that embody a mindset of tranquility and peace.”

Gender-blurring colors

It also challenges some of the more traditional perceptions around color associations.

“In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director. “This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumers’ increased comfort with using color as a form of expression which includes a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.”

Pressman pointed out that today’s gender blur is a little different from previous years; instead of the masculinization of womenswear, we’re seeing the feminization of menswear, not just in terms of silhouettes but also in the color story.

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“More traditional approaches to color are being turned on their head,” she noted, adding, “It’s not necessarily about trying to make a man look like a woman or a woman look like a man. It’s really about creating a canvas that can be adapted to any style. It’s a canvas for creative and colorful expression.”

The combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity, both of which were included as part of the 210 new shades that Pantone added to its fashion, home and interiors palette in September, were featured on the Spring ’16 runways for both men and women at Emilio Pucci, Leanne Marshall, BCBG and Richard James.

“With playful escapism as a theme for many, the pairing of shades can be expressed through patterning, plaids, floral prints, striping and color blocking. Variations of this hue will be seen in a variety of textures that make it wearable throughout the year, from warming and comforting plush wools and faux furs to more ethereal feeling, lightweight linens and cottons,” Pantone said, noting that while the duo makes a striking statement on its own, it also works well as an accent to other mid-tones, including cooler greens and purples.

It’s also a popular choice for jewelry and fashion accessories, such as handbags, hats, footwear and wearable technology. For home, Pantone said it’s an ideal choice for rugs, upholstery, paint and décor.

Pressman concluded, “While our selection of Rose Quartz and Serenity does qualify as one of our most surprising choices, when you stop to think about it, it does start to make sense. We see these colors across all areas of design and think the pairing will resonate around the world as it reflects what people are looking for, as consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to stressful lives.”