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Anna G. Larson, Published December 26 2013

Coming up Radiant Orchid: Pantone color of the year likely to be popular in accessories

Fargo - Radiant Orchid bloomed just in time for 2014.

Pantone announced the fuchsia hue with purple and pink undertones as its color of the year, and according to the Pantone Color Institute’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, Radiant Orchid “encourages expanded creativity and originality” and “radiates joy, love and health.”

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” says Eiseman in a news release.

Locally, the purple pigment’s started to make its way into fashion, home interiors, floral arrangements and nail art, but not everyone’s sure they like the feminine hue.

“Most people are on the fence. People loved Emerald (Pantone’s pick last year), but I feel like Radiant Orchid only appeals to a certain amount of people,” says Karissa Geiger, manager of downtown Fargo nail salon, The Nail Bar.

She projects the color will be more popular once people start planning vacations to warm destinations. For the most part, her clients have said they’re open to Radiant Orchid in small doses.

“The biggest response we’ve gotten to the color is people would do it in accents. They’d get their nails painted that color, they’d do a scarf or purse maybe,” Geiger says. “I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of people wanting a whole outfit revolving around that color. But, it’s a beautiful accent color.”

People have a similar mindset about the color for home interiors, or at least that’s what interior designer Leah Martin’s observed at Scheels Home & Hardware.

“It’s a bit more feminine. We might not see it incorporated as much as more gender-neutral colors like green,” she says.

Trendier tones like Radiant Orchid usually appear on pillows, blankets, draperies, artwork and rugs, Martin says.

“It’ll be a fun new color once we get past winter and start thinking spring, fun and fresh,” she says. “I’m sure it will be ‘the’ color to use in your home on a temporary, seasonal basis.”

In the Fargo-Moorhead area, Martin says people tend to stick with warm colors like tans, browns, reds and coppers, although gray’s made its way to the top as a “new neutral.” She recommends pairing Radiant Orchid with gray tones or chartreuse green to give a home a modern, lively feel.

Floral designer Abbey Malheim’s noticed a similar trend with color in floral arrangements. In the Midwest, she says, people tend to stick with what they know.

“People aren’t always willing to go out of their comfort zones,” says the Hornbacher’s Village West floral designer.

Color trends typically make their appearance in flowers locally during prom and wedding season, but Malheim’s created a few arrangements using purple hues.

“I hope that it affects peoples’ color choices because it is gorgeous,” she says. “There aren’t many flowers that come in that exact color, but a lot of times we can figure out how to incorporate a color with ribbon, wire or colored vases.”

HOW COLOR TRENDS START

For people outside the fashion industry, it might be difficult to see why color matters or how trends are developed. A scene from fashion drama/comedy “The Devil Wears Prada” illustrates the path trends take.

Fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) explains to intern Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) that her sweater is the result of a designer dress collection shown on the runway years before.

“That sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. … In 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns... and then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores ...,” Priestly explains in the 2006 flick.

Often, trends begin with higher-priced designer merchandise, and are then adapted by mass merchandisers, says Linda Manikowske, an associate professor of apparel, retail merchandising and design at North Dakota State University.

“Color is one of the most powerful visual design elements,” she says. “Color trends are promoted each season by designers and retailers.”

Color-related professional organizations, like the Pantone Color Institute, forecast what they think will be “it” colors for the following year. The trends are then promoted by designers and retailers and eventually show up in products like handbags, nail polish, makeup, paint and home accents. Pantone’s colors, which are marked by specific names and numbers, make it easy for designers and manufacturers to ensure consistency, Manikowske adds.

The people picking the colors are trend forecasters, or professionals who predict what will be on runways and in stores in the coming season.

“Trend forecasters also travel a great deal and pay attention to everything around them. They go to designer fashion shows, visit retailers and take photos on the street,” Manikowske says. “They pay attention to consumer trends and the economic, sociological and psychological environments where we live and work.”

Besides Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s spring 2014 fashion color report includes saturated hues of orange, blue, yellow and red, as well as light blue, violet and mint. The seasonal roundup finishes with two neutrals – tan and gray.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525