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Pantone Points to the Pantry for Spring/Summer 2016

Cotton candy. Custard. Melon. Apricot. Nutmeg. These are not the ingredients of the world’s weirdest fruit salad, but rather what the color experts at Pantone think will be leading the fashion pack for Spring/Summer 2016. At a seminar at the Magic tradeshow in Las Vegas Tuesday titled, “The Next Generation of Color,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, declared food is the new black.

“It’s food more than anything else that’s contributed to changes in individual society and integration of different cultures,” she said. “As we begin to associate colors with the distinct smells and the taste of the food that we’re eating, we begin to look at color as part of our total experience.”

While muted earth tones and bold color statements dominated Fall ’15 palettes, Pantone predicts fresh, juicy hues will saturate the market the following season. As Pressman put it, “Our relationship with color has changed. We’ve entered a new dimension. We don’t want to feel restricted by color; we want to enjoy it.”

For several seasons, green has swung from one end of the spectrum to the other, but in Spring ’16, yellow-based citrus and grassy tones are very much “nature’s greens.” Likewise, pinks are red-based and appear sweet and fruity, while yellow is inspired by the sun and comes in shades of custard and gold. Purple, meanwhile, moves away from luxurious, regal tones toward red-based iterations that convey a rosy glow, speaking to good health and lush vegetation.

Pressman said the palette is a reaction to harried modern lifestyles. “We’re all trying to integrate our fast-paced lives with some downtime, some calm. This desire for new balance in our lives is also playing out in color choices,” she explained.

As for the rest of the top colors next spring, Pantone points to tomato red, deep indigo, oranges in the form of apricot and melon and browns reminiscent of chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon. Gray, taupe and greige will be the season’s neutrals, while white has the luster and sheen of foam, cream or milk. Summer blacks (blue-black, berry-black) and intensely darkened colors will make an appearance, too.