With shades such Bamboo (a mustard'y, safari'ish yellow with subtle green undertones); Deep Teal (the strong blue/green of the ocean or sky right after dusk); Cedar (another green, just more mid-tone & neutral); Orchid Hush & Quarry (grays tinged with lilac and blue respectively); Coffee Liquer (the new black); Phlox (rich, royal purple); and Emberglow (like the glowing embers of a dying fire) and Honeysuckle (vibrant pink-coral & 2011's Color of the Year), the overall vibe of the FALL 2011 FASHION COLOR PALETTE is painterly, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance in this season's palette," she notes, adding that it takes cues from "the great masters, sepia tones of old Hollywood, Chinese opera, cityscapes and countryside."
And, most obviously (to us, at least): classic Yves Saint Laurent.
The 40 year YSL retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2010 generated widespread homage almost all of the runways that resonate, from Marc Jacobs (full-on theft homage); to Phoebo Philo for Celine (YSL's Marrakech period); Preen, Peter Pilotto & Stella McCartney (swishy, silky 70s), and Aquilano.Rimondo (the fabric). "Bellissima!" is how Roberto Rimondi described the show catalog to Vogue magazine (Feb.'11 issue). "He's the one who created fashion," acknowledges Tommaso Aquilano. "Oh, the art the mind, the precision of it all!"
What we found striking was not only how literally designers like Chris Benz & NAHM (Nary Manivong & Ally HIlfiger) borrowed from YSL's rich, spicy palette, but from his iconic designs as well (that famous 1968 Veruschuka safari look, anyone?), not to mention a peasanty full-length couture gown from 1968 at Betsey Johnson, a full-silhouetted earthy-tone skirt with cape & bright touches of teal from Tracy Reese, and an ultra-elegant draped cocktail frock from Dior 1958 with a edgy update at VPL by Victoria Bartlett.
In other words, Fall 2011 is tasty and spiced up nicely with lots of mouthwatering hues (even many of the names are reference food: bamboo, nougar, coffee liqueur) and rich fabrics. Which earns another enthusiastic "Bellisima!" from Aquilano: "To me, knowing how to handle fabric and color is what makes the difference between a mediocre designer and a good designer."
Here is PANTONE's own interpretation of the hues that make up the Fall 2011 Fashion Color Palette:
EMBERGLOW: think crisp fall air & a glowing fire; a fab hue for shoes, bags & scarves with hints of rich green-blue (Deep Teal) or royal Purple (Phlox); for a classic look, pair Emberglow with Coffee LIqueur or go more retro by choosing Honeysuckle
HONEYSUCKLE: the Color of the Year for 2011, this playful reddish-pink can sex up Coffee Liqueur or Nougat, or make a neutral like Bamboo more flirty & festive; look for Honeysuck especially in makeup as it is flattering, flattering, flattering
PHLOX: deep, rich royal purple is always a bit mysterious, and if worn on its own, a big fashion S-T-A-T-E-M-E-N-T; alternatively, it combines well with neutrals including Cedar, Deep Teal, and Coffee Liqueur, or, for more pizazz, with Honeysuckle (a very as-found-in-nature feel)
CEDAR: sophisticated & timeless with Phlox or Orchid Hush; a natural with Deep Teal
DEEP TEAL: a unique counterpoint to Honeysuckle or a natural with it's color-wheel neighbor, Cedar
COFFEE LIQUEUR: rich & decadent, it's the (savory) "new" black
NOUGAT: this camel/tan is great with Phlox, Emberglow or Honeysuckle
ORCHID HUSH: the orchid'y undertones are what makes this work well with all the other colors in the palette
QUARRY: reliable, practical, dependable (and potentially boring, so use judiciously)
For the full Pantone Fall 2011 Fashion Color Report, CLICK HERE.
- Lesley Scott
(YSL images via Le Best of Paris)