Written by Amanda Vlavianos
Colour has the power to create a range of psychological and emotional responses. As someone who certainly dresses according to how she feels, the shades selected by Pantone in its Fashion Colour Trend Report, have quite the resonating effect.
Upon releasing a palette of the top 10 colours predicted to walk the NYFW runway this September, Pantone Colour Institute Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, included a cohesive description of the selected shades and colours, with the following statement:
“Offering a range of shades illustrative of nature, colours for Spring/Summer 2021 underscores our desire for flexible colour that works year round. Infused with a genuine authenticity that continues to be increasingly important, colours for Spring/Summer 2021 combine a level of comfort and relaxation with sparks of energy that encourage and uplift our moods.”
Drumroll, please: the SS21 colour predictions are as follows: Marigold, Cerulean (yes, from that epic scene in The Devil Wears Prada ), Rust, Illuminating (a sunny yellow), French Blue, Green Ash, Burnt Coral, Mint, Amethyst Orchid and Raspberry Sorbet.
After reading the Colour Report, I opened my closet to check my stock of coloured garments, curious to rediscover what I already own that will be “in” this season. Amidst a sea of black and white, I found my orchid Simon Miller ribbed dress – sleeveless and just past the knee, fantastic for in-between seasons – and a pretty French blue Cynthia Rowley blouse, perfect for blending with neutrals or highlighting with brights next spring (depending on my mood, of course).
Colour has always evoked reactions in the fashion industry, playing on emotions and psyche beyond just trends. We all have our confidence colours, and how many first impressions have stemmed from dressing decisions? The little black dress, classic blue jeans and Oxford button downs all have their place in our thought process. As much as colour has the capacity to influence our thoughts, we also rely on it in relation to our mood and well-being, typically leaning on brights to literally brighten our day, and darks to wallow in our sorrows.
But here is the fascinating part about our need to showcase ‘who we are’ through colour – the outcome is different for everyone. One stranger’s quirks and style choices will always differ from the next. In my closet, black, white and neutral blouses are my put-together-but-stylish professional self, but funky neons are there too, reflecting my extroversion and fun-loving nature. Add in some muted but unusual prints, and my self-of-self is met somewhere in the middle. Pantone believes that come spring, we’ll crave a sense of functionality, allowing for a wider range of choice and freedom; in other words, colours that work all year long.
Colour transcending seasons is backed by Gucci, who changed their calendar to two season-less shows per year. Dries Van Noten also called for change to the fashion calendar, releasing an open letter demanding a change to the industry’s operations and collecting signatures from top designers and department stores across the globe.
As predicted, NYFW displayed an array of Pantone’s “range of colour that inspires ingenuity and inventiveness.” Coral fall florals with a rust leather jacket lined with black shearling graced Rebecca Minkoff’s collection. Jason Wu showed Cerulean Bermuda shorts and splashes of blue and yellow across slip dresses. And ever-beautiful Marchesa displayed splashes of playful orchid and mint green garments both long and short, and colourful tie dye gowns containing none other than a bright raspberry sorbet.
There is no doubt that this season’s NYFW collections reflected an overarching response to the pandemic. Mood and emotion coming through in one’s fashion choices is nothing new, but the creativity displayed this season is truly stunning. Colour has the power to evoke quite the emotional response: so in reflection, my fellow fashion lovers, what colours are you wearing?