Color Optimism

Consumers are discarding traditional color guidelines in fashion in favor of more color experimentation year round, and that’s reflected in the 16 hues Pantone is touting in its spring palette.

For the first time in the 23 years since Pantone has been promoting the top 10 colors awash on the runways of leading fashion designers, the Color Institute identified six additional hues on a palette it says embraces the lack of gender and seasonal borders happening in fashion.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the line up as “a kaleidoscopic bounty of uplifting shades inspired by a feeling of optimism and confidence.” She says it speaks to trends of experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine how they can push boundaries through colorful self-expression.

Twelve colors top the list for the season: bright yellow Meadowlark, orangey red Cherry Tomato, clear skies Little Boy Blue, earthy red Chili Oil, Pink Lavender, blush Blooming Dahlia, cool green Arcadia, Ultra Violet, chocolate Emperador, Almost Mauve, fuchsia Spring Crocus, and Lime Punch; and four neutral shades that work well on their own or as background for complex color blends: navy Sailor Blue, dove gray Harbor Mist, Warm Sand, and Coconut Milk.

“There are fewer standouts and more options to choose from,” touts Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations for Jewelers of America. But she does see four of the colors trending in gem-set jewelry design that she has previewed for 2018: Little Boy Blue reflected in gems like Ethiopian opal, aquamarine and topaz; Ultra Violet in rich tanzanite, purple sapphire and amethyst; Cherry Tomato in garnet, fire opal and coral; and Arcadia in emerald, green sapphire and tourmaline.

Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, is empowering and optimistic. “We felt it was time for something dramatically provocative and thoughtful, communicating originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking,” says Eiseman of the blue-based purple. The second time in 20 years that Pantone picked purple as top hue after Radiant Orchid in 2014. “We’re living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come. Complex and contemplative, nuanced and full of emotion, even its name suggests sparkling rays—something indigenous to gemstones and jewelry.”

Gem Trends

Amethyst will be a popular gem in darker shades to reflect Ultra Violet and lighter hues that resemble Pink Lavender, says Allison Peck with Color Merchants, New York City. She cites Little Boy Blue translated in blue topaz, classic Sailor Blue in sapphire, and Cherry Tomato in ruby also trending.

In addition to amethyst as a top performer, tanzanite will reap the benefits of Ultra Violet, says Cora Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. “There’s increased attention and emphasis on the color. It’s anticipated demand will spike resulting from the industry and fashion magazines pushing Ultra Violet as the color to be in.”

Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota sees morganite demand continuing, particularly popular in vintage-inspired designs that are elegant and feminine. She cites light topaz in rose gold a fresh take on the blush trend that has been dominated by morganite and rose quartz.

Jewelers are requesting anything with color, hails Alisa Bunger, director of sales, B88 Division of the Dallas-based Prime Art Jewel, Elle Jewelry. “We’ve done a variety of either genuine gemstones or colored CZ to offer a range of colors and price points.“ She cites Emperador and Meadowlark hues in smoky quartz and citrine; Arcadia in green mother of pearl; and Ultra Violet in tanzanite-colored CZ.

Moreover, Peck cites a huge spike in demand for yellow gold. “Two years ago when I would order samples I would get everything in white gold, now it’s the reverse. I think for a while the industry was pushing customers into silver and white metal prevailed. But now customers want to show they are wearing gold and yellow is the color they want to show off. This has been since JCK 2016.”

Colaizzi concurs, reporting that customers are investing in gold pieces with heavier weights and at higher price points. “Bold styles from the 1980s and 1990s are emerging again in yellow gold assortments” she says. “For those of us that remember this time, it’s like a blast from the past; however millennials haven’t seen these styles. It seems they are willing to invest in a piece that is well made and also fashionable. Designers are taking advantage of this newfound interest and styles are resurfacing from vaults around the world.”

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