Once upon a time, pink was for boys and blue was for girls. And given today’s blurred lines, you would be forgiven for thinking the fashion world never assigned shades by gender.
But according to Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Color Institute, we may have reached a tipping point when it comes to the feminization of menswear, noting the ruffles, lace and flowers seen in Gucci’s Spring 2016 men’s collection.
“For many men, cross-dressing is not as interesting or desirous,” she said Tuesday, speaking at a Texworld USA seminar in New York City. “At the end of the day, they want to get their toe into something more fashionable but still appear quite masculine.”
And yet, Pantone has titled its Autumn/Winter 2017-18 color forecast “Disguise.”
“Disguise doesn’t have to be literal,” Pressman explained. “The art of disguise speaks to the idea of wearing a cover, a mask of sorts that renders parts of our real selves invisible. Something that in turn gives us permission to change who we are and the face we present to the world.”
Putting on a disguise can endow a person with new qualities, she said. It can be empowering and freeing.
“Like an actor playing a different character, we can act in contradictory ways, ways that are unexpected. And if we’re bold enough we can use this disguise to take on an entirely new persona,” she added.
If this sounds dishonest, it’s not meant to. In this case, a disguise is adaptive and many people are finding more and more that they need to continually change who they are, not only to adapt to the environment in which they’re living, but just to survive.
“What I am saying is we’re living in a time where it seems as though all of the rules that have been part of the social structure and fabric of our lives has been really thrown right out the window. We’re living in a time of active rebellion, where there is no clear cut borders between anything,” she said. “And whether we come forward and present who we are in a transparent fashion or instead disguise our true selves, if we want our voices to be heard we need to be even more rebellious in this increasingly bland and morally contested global climate.”
That’s where color comes into play, transforming appearance and fulfilling a fundamental desire for change.
“We apply color to our walls, to the floors we walk on, to the face we see in the mirror each day, to the cars we drive. We clothe ourselves in colors for different occasions, dressing up or down, using the opportunity to present a new face to ourselves and to the world,” she said. “What easier way could there possibly be than to begin this process of disguise with color?”
Herewith, the colors that Pantone predicts will present the definitive disguise of Autumn/Winter 2017-18.
Pink: Dermic pinks take center stage, evolving into a series of paler, more fragile shades to express a transparent nudity. Beiges, off white and blues are all subtly influenced by pink, while pink mauves are the new baby pink.
Orange: The shade as a whole is moving into the background, but its influence can still be felt from colors like nectar. As Pressman put it, “Orange can always be counted on to inject a bit of surprise.”
Yellow: Lemon zest will be key this season, adding sunshine and light to any palette.
Brown: Classic shades and more animal-inspired tones will serve to anchor the fall palette.
Purple: Mauve shades gather in strength and focus.
White: Serving as a counter reaction to the overuse of color, white cleanses and simplifies the season’s palette. Neutral and trans-seasonal, whites make a strong statement on their own or in combination with other shades.
Reds: Moving away from scarlet to the coral side for the winter season. Pressman said it’s a color that also lends itself well to metallic treatments. “The most accepted bright shade across all areas of design, reds are a color range that connect the season and a color range that appeals to all consumers, irrespective of location, gender or lifestyle preference,” she added.
Greens: Nature’s neutral, it blends well with blues, browns and metallized finishes, including more saturated bright shades. The turquoise-based celadon will be big.