A timely backlash against being constantly caffeinated and connected has made its chill presence felt on the Spring 2015 runways. "The lead color for women for the Spring/Summer 2015 season, Aquamarine (PANTONE 14-4313), is an airy blue with a dreamy feel," explains Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, a global color authority. The cool and calm of Aquamarine is further reinforced by the presence of Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052), a trendproof shade that vibrates a sense of introspection and Scuba Blue (PANTONE 16-4725), a vibrant visual escape to the tropics. These three blues - plus the context of the overall palette, En Plain Air - speak to our collective need for a vacation...or at least some unplugged downtime. "Many feel compelled to be connected around the clock because we are afraid we’ll miss something important," continues Eiseman. "There is a growing movement to step out and create ‘quiet zones’ to disconnect from technology and unwind, giving ourselves time to stop and be still."
As a result, designers have been gravitating toward hues found out-of-doors instead of inside a program like Photoshop. "Color choices follow the same minimalistic, en plein air theme," says Eiseman, "taking a cue from nature rather than being reinvented or mechanically manipulated." Glacier Gray (PANTONE 14-4102) keeps its cool and allows any other shades it's paired with to shine, while Lucite Green (PANTONE 14-5714), generally not considered a "fashion" color, lends a lovely weight and tone in a way that can seem almost transparent.
Running for cover in the cooler, softer side of the color spectrum for spring also involves a trip down memory lane. Designers have been drawing inspiration from "daydreams of simpler times," says Eiseman. "Remembrances of retro delights, folkloric and floral art, and the magical worlds of tropical landscapes restore a sense of well-being as we head into warmer months." Translation: expect to see fashionistas everywhere stepping out of (some of) their head-to-toe black and into an eclectic, ethereal mix of muted brights, pale pastels and nature-inspired neutrals. "In a world that has become increasingly chaotic," she adds, "the nostalgic blues enable us to retreat into a safe place of quiet calm while harmonious greens from nature offer a reassuring presence."
To say nothing of all the comfort food on the color menu.
The remainer of the Spring 2015 Color Report reads like a recipe. Candy'ish Strawberry Ice (PANTONE 16-1720) cleanses the palate. Tangerine (PANTONE 15-1247) adds a juicy, fun-loving edge. Custard (PANTONE 13-0720) is unquestionably the comfort food of the color world. Toasted Almond (PANTONE 14-1213) references all things natural and authentic. And the entire palette is grounded in Marsala (PANTONE 18-1438), a robust and earthy shade of fortified wine that speaks to our physical and spiritual hunger for fulfilling food and fashion.
Pulling back to peruse the palette as a whole, it becomes apparent how not-seasonal these colors are. Part of the reason is practical: advances in technology and travel have shurnk the planet. "The world has become a smaller place," says NYC-based fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra. "People travel a lot, they chase the season they want by traveling around, so colors are really seasonless." To say nothing of how the Internet has removed most regional differences in style, creating a much more unified fashion consumer. "As I look at the growing acceptance of “seasonless” color, I interpret it as being related to the globalization of fashion and probably also the issue of climate change," observes Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT. While having a closet that can be worn year-round is certainly practical, it seems that there is an even more compelling and subconscious subtext at play which reflects our need both for authenticity and rich sensory experiences that we can touch/taste/hear/feel/see. "In our technical, turned-on world, people are hungry for tactile, visceral, and experiential images - and color plays a huge role in that," agrees Lindsay Morris, Manager of Creative Planning at Getty Images. And according to Jauretsi Saizarbitoria, Chief Curator for eBay's The Inside Source: "The trend of seasonless color is an extension of a larger philosophy growing worldwide, which is the breaking of limitations."
(illustration above by Banjanan; above right by Daniel Silverstain - all images are via the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2015)
Podcast music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott