February 10, 2010

Color Forecast: Turquoise, With a Chance of Eucalyptus

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Ah, February. The month of valentines, Cupid and those addictive little boxes of Necco Conversation Hearts. But this month isn’t just about Cupid; it’s also award show season, during which Hollywood crams the Grammys, Golden Globes and Academy Awards into a single four week period. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about which movie wins Best Picture or who gets Album of the Year. If I tune in, it’s for one thing and one thing only — The red carpet runway show.

I’d like to say that celebrities don’t really influence the clothing that I wear, but it’s hard to deny that most of us ooh-and-aahh over the first half an hour of the Oscars, either praising an actress for her choice of gown or wondering, “What was she thinking?!”

Of course, it’s not as though we’ll be wearing couture ball gowns like our favorite stars anytime soon, but celebrities’ fashion choices influence the industry in a much subtler way. Award shows like the Grammys and Golden Globes are designer’s first opportunities to enlist celebrities to showcase major spring trends — especially each season’s color palette. While the industry’s top designers each have their own distinct design aesthetic, many of their lines are greatly influenced by Pantone’s Color Forecast, a collection of ten colors that are predicted to be seen all over the runway and in retail stores for the next four months. For nearly half a decade, Pantone Color Institute has devised color palettes for forecasting the shades of the season, often offering designers a creative baseline for their new collections. So, what’s on the forecast for this spring?

Pantone’s predictions for 2010 are looking bright: the company expects ten shades to dominate the industry this spring, including turquoise, tomato puree, fusion coral, violet, Tuscany (a muted mauve), aurora (a pale lemon), Amparo blue, pink champagne, dried herb and eucalyptus (a muted olive-taupe).

The collection, aptly labeled “Splashes of Sunshine,” evokes the brighter colors of spring without becoming too gaudy or flashy — a key concept for the past few seasons, when penny-pinching consumers have been more concerned with buying classic pieces that they’ll wear for more than just a few weeks.­­

“Now more than ever, woman are vigilant when it comes to spending. Instead of reinventing their wardrobe at the start of each season, consumers want pieces to complement what they already own,” said Pantone’s executive director in a press release.

Back on the red carpet, there were no shortages of references to Pantone’s color choices. At the Golden Globes, Amy Poehler’s red off-the-shoulder Jay Godfrey gown was a near exact match for Pantone’s “tomato puree,” while Heidi Klum sported a “pink champagne” mini by Emilio Pucci. Ashley Olsen, ever a harbinger for what’s next in fashion, looked stunning in an “Amparo Blue” dress by Erdem (complete with matching blue Manolos).

Even though I’m not looking to recreate the red carpet look in my own wardrobe, it’s interesting to see how Pantone’s forecasting starts at the celebrity level, and trickles down into retail stores. I’d never wear Ashley Olsen’s Amparo blue minidress, for example, but I’ve already found a pair of Steven Madden heels in exactly the same color that I decided I have to have. Plus, I’m pretty pumped to put away all my boring black and brown in favor of some more fun, happy colors. On a crummy gray Ithaca morning, a touch of turquoise or “fusion coral” in your outfit might make the day just a little bit brighter.

Original Author: Becca Lesser