For almost two decades, color authority Pantone has surveyed the designers at New York Fashion Week about their top color picks & trends. Spring 2011 found them packing their (design) bags for exotic locales including Africa, India, Peru, and Turkey. “The colors designers have chosen for the spring season present an interesting marriage of unexpected warm and cool tones,” notes Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report for Spring 2011 about the intriguing color combos that could transport any shopper eager for a bit of escapism from the daily grind straight to fabulous foreign lands. “By cleverly combining complementary colors, those that are opposites on the color wheel, they have created a striking intensity to the palette. These unique color combinations make it possible for consumers to pair existing pieces in colors traditionally associated with fall, with new favorites to punch up springtime wardrobes.”
Colleen Sherin, Fashion Director for Saks Fifth Avenue agrees. "It is clear that the colors, textiles and cultures of India and Africa are inspiring many designers. Earth tones, Khakis and Olives, in addition to complementary Vegetable and Berry tones, should be key." For Ken Dowling of Neiman Marcus (Fashion Director), the deep pinks, hot corals, and brilliant blues herald a return to a more carefree time: "The exotic locales of Marrakech and Morocco that inspired the bohemian influences of Yves Saint Laurent in the '70s." And while Essie Weingarten, Founder of Essie Cosmetics is seeing an "inevitable" return to a historic center of style - "fashion, design, literature - you name it...we are seeing Parisian sensibility in everything right now (including their own Spring 2011 nail color collection), for the Costume Designer of "Desperate Housewives," it's less a physical location than a state of mind. "It isn't a place that you can go to. Or come from. Or even be in," explains Cate Adair. "Rather, it's a place that is deep inside each and every person, a place that provides the pulse of our time - the human heart. For where the heart is, there is hope, And in today's difficult world, hope more than ever is the fuel we must burn to carry on. And more than any city or landscape or physical surroundings could do, hope still moves us to create beautiful things, even in the face of adversity." (Image of Charlotte Ronson's S'11 inspiration board: source)
WHAT INSPIRED THE PALETTE & THE COLLECTIONS:
BRIGHT & BOLD Flirtatious pinkish-red Honeysuckle is the feel-good hue that most brings a festive sense of playfulness to the season’s palette. Whether on a flirty frock or as a lively lip color, it's the perfect post-winter pick-me-up. Spicy, gregarious and persuasive all describe Coral Rose, a sophisticated orange that, much like Beeswax, a warm, honeyed yellow, conjures up feelings of faraway lands and locales.
COOL & COLLECTED Alluring Blue Curacao evokes thoughts of tropical destinations and pays homage to the 2010 Color of the Year, Turquoise. Peapod, a fresh yellow-green, brings an organic element to the palette and is reminiscent of the green shoots that signify change and new beginnings traditionally found in spring. And the subtle hints of red undertones lend Lavender a romantic, fanciful feel.
NEW NEUTRALS Ethereal Silver Peony, dramatically-deep Russet, and dependable Silver Cloud all provide a stable backdrop for the rest of the palette and coordinate with everything already hanging in your closet.HOW TO WORK IT: If you need a vacation, at the very least you can dress the part in the enticing Caribbean shade of Blue Curacao paired with a warm complement like with Honeysuckle or Coral Rose. Alternatively, Coral Rose and Beeswax both look unique and chic against color-wheel opposites Regatta blue and purple'y Lavender.
Inspiration: "Miami sun-soaked colors; pop art with a touch of beachside ease. (image: source)
Most Colorful Location: "Jaipur. The bold saturation of Bold Pinks, Yellows and Oranges are both dreamlike and powerful."CYNTHIA STEFFE (Shaun Kearney)
Inspiration: "Upbeat new-wave French electronica. The music is chic, sexy and makes you want to dance."
Most Colorful Location: "The Maldives. I was blown away by the vibrancy of the colors. Above water everything sparkles, and below it's even more intense - the fish, the coral, the underwater vegetation. The natural palette there is so inspiring: Sand, Turquoise, Jade, Coral, Sunburst Yellows and Oranges."
Inspiration: "The spirit of how people used to travel - the excitement of preparation before a trip and adaptation to a new environment once you arrive at your destination."
Inspiration in a photo & a word: "Journey" (source)
Most Colorful Location: "India. Its bright shades of Red, Pink and Turquoise play of Rich Rusts, Yellows and Oranges. The inspiration found in India is endless."REBECCA MINKOFF:
Inspiration: "The ultimate vagabond - a girl yearning for juxtaposed glamour, transfixed by reconstructed vintage and '70s inspired frocks that include traces of seductress Bianca Jagger and the late soulful Janis Joplin."
Most Colorful Location: "The Grand Bazaar in Turkey. It covers 58 streets and is full of spices, food, jewelry and leather goods. I was instantly drawn to the brightly colored spices and teas."
Inspiration: "African, Indian and strong Asian influences mixed with measures of elegant opulence - mine is a sophisticated but vibrant woman."
Inspiration in a photo & word: "Indochina" (source)REBECCA TAYLOR:
Inspiration: "The combination of multiple colors of wild flowers against luxe Green fields.
Most Colorful Location: "Wellington, New Zealand. There is so much beautiful countryside and the landscape is such a vibrant shade of Green."LELA ROSE:
Inspiration: "The richly-woven Peruvian textiles and the Old/New World clash of cultures in Lima, Peru."
Most Colorful Location: "Lima, Peru is one of the most richly colorful cities in the world. It's a mixture of Old and New World cultures that meet at varied stages of development. There are many different architectural styles such as Spanish Baroque, French Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau that, when mixed together, make the city an arena of color and art."CATHERINE MALANDRINO:
Inspiration: "1950s ceramics from Vallauris, a town in St. Tropez where ceramics were born." (image: source)
Most Colorful Location: "The South of France in the summer - a village where art and pottery is created."
Inspiration: I had a sense of wanderlust this season, and I wanted my collection to reflect a sense of adventure and travel to faraway places."
Inspiration in a photo & a word: "Aphrodisiac" (source)
Most Colorful Location: "Guanajuato, Mexico is an incredibly colorful city. Nearly every house and building is painted in a different tropical color, making the cityscape feel like vibrant music."
Inspiration: "Blue has a great social significance - it is the signature color of color cancer awareness, the platform for my Spring 2011 collection."
Most Colorful Location: "Barbados. The gorgeous blues of the Atlantic coupled with the Aquas of the Caribbean and the calico prints of Bright Pink and Yellow make for a most beautiful color story."NARY MANIVONG:
Inspiration: "Going back to my roots, taking inspiration from my Laotian heritage and the Amish culture I saw growing up in Ohio."
Most Colorful Location: "Laos. The country is represented by amazing jewel tones that are beautiful, rich and organic." (image: source)
Inspiration: "Punk, pretty, picnic!"
Most Colorful Location: "New York City. The first burst of flowers and greens in Central Park - the Limey Lizard, Luscious Greens, Bubble Gum Pink puffy trees, daffy doses of Yellows and Whites."YOANA BARASCHI:
Inspiration: "Winged creatures from earth and beyond, the concept of morphing realities and transparency - choosing colors that are saturated and read as bright pastels while maintaining the effect of light coming through."
Inspiration in a photo & a word: "Desire" (source)
Most Colorful Location: "Rajasthan, India. You can almost imagine the nomad tribes adorned in Pinks, Corals, Turquoises and Yellows entering the Pink City (Jaipur) - an explosion of maximum spectrum colors under the brightest sun I know."CARLOS CAMPOS:
Inspiration: "Colors that reflect the old school American men and women - looks that showcase someone traveling the world in the 50s, someone backpacking through Europe or South America who needs timeless, casual and fashionable pieces to wear."
Most Colorful Location: "Brazil."JAMES COVIELLO
Inspiration: "1950s garden party." (image: source)
Most Colorful Location: "Mumbai, India and all its bright colors - Shocking Lime, Dusty Royal and Bright Fuchsia - remind me of the joy and happiness in the Indian people's spirit."
Inspiration: "The works of artist Richard Diebenkorn, the power of youth in late 60s America, and the freedom movement." (image: "Berkeley No. 8" by Richard Diebenkorn - source)
Most Colorful Location: The Indian city of Varanasi (aka Benares) has colors of passion, warmth and strength."MONIQUE LHUILLIER
Inspiration: "I was in a dreamy state of mind - the colors in the collection are ethereal, feminine and pretty."
Most Colorful Location: "Turkey's Grand Bazaar - exotic colors in spices, fabrics and jewelry."
Inspiration: "Seydou Keita's portraits of Mende tribe members."
Most Colorful Location: The majestic landscape and allure of White deserts. A humbling array of earth and sky notes creating an ombre of colors between dusk and dawn is the most colorful location in the world."VPL (Victoria Bartlett)
Inspiration: "The Yellow was an emotional response. The Fake Tan was based on the color of vintage stockings and bad fake tans on women. The Salmon, Tan and Neon Yellow are inspired by the 30s art, interiors and pottery - the era that these modern colors were discovered."
Inspiration in a photo & a word: "Suspension" (source)
Most Colorful Location: "Kenya and all the prints from the Masai Mara. I'm very inspired by African prints, the overlays and color combinations. I find their use of colors extremely modern."
- Lesley Scott