Color Me Beautiful: Trends

From New York to London, Paris to Milan color rocks the runways in apparel and accessories, with greens and blues trending as popular backdrops and foregrounds, as well as yellows, oranges and reds for pops of color in spring collections. The palette—which reflects our need to re-energize, create balance and express individuality—mixes lively bright hues with novel neutrals in well-balanced blends that are practical and versatile, while attention nabbing.

Top designer Pantone picks include three shades of green: delicate Grayed Jade; a lively yellow-green, Tender Shoots; and vivid Emerald. There are two blues, a soft neutral Dusk Blue and a brighter take on a classic navy in Monaco Blue. Purple is a mainstay in an exotic African Violet. Punch colors include citrus Nectarine with warm coral undertones; cheerful Lemon Zest with spritely green cast; and spirited Poppy Red. Rounding out the palette is light nude Linen.

“Designers are projecting optimism and color lifts our spirits,” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at Pantone Color Institute®, based in Carlstadt, New Jersey. She sees experimentation in color combinations on the rise, especially in the past five years, inspired by multi-cultural influences with unique blends inherent in the traditions of cultures like China and India.

There’s homogenization in what’s trending globally notes the color guru, who says she’d be hard pressed to tell if a woman in a photo was from Tokyo or New York based on her attire. She says social networking has a lot to do with style influences. “The key is that there’s less of a rulebook, more freedom of expression. The ramifications of greater color use in fashion translate in jewelry, where color stones have intrinsic meaning and value to people.”

Jewelry stylist-to-the-stars Michael O’Connor sees a greater use of gem-set jewelry to augment all of the colors in the fashion palette. Jewelry standouts on runways and red carpets present stark contrasts, direct opposites on the color wheel, like a green dress with ruby jewels. But more neutral hues, from black and white to 50 shades of gray, also benefit from bold bursts of gemmy jewelry.

“Manufacturers are taking more chances in their designs with a spotlight on gemstones that offer variety in color and price, including sapphire, tourmaline, garnet, beryl, jade, quartz, and pearls,” describes O’Connor.

Jewelry trends on the runway spotlight wrist action, from stacked bangles and chain link bracelets to arm and wrist cuffs. Neckwear also is big, as models adorn in large charm necklaces, statement collars, and vintage pieces—including floral designs and bold gem cabochons. When it comes to rings, five-finger decoration was all the rage in Paris. For ears, cuffs made a comeback, but shoulder-grazing designs in gem drop, stiletto and mod chandelier are prevalent.

Tracking color trends in your market: Know your customer—understand the right place to be for your base, different product offerings to match different customer segments at different times. Monitor what’s worked in the past. Pay attention to high-end fashion magazines. If you see something you think is important, create mile markers. Consider forecasted colors, but remember there’s movement in the palette. Don’t overstock on any one color, fashion trends are fast moving.

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