If you are a fashionista and a designer at a brand agency, there are two things you look forward to every year: the visual tease of fall’s New York Fashion Week and the Annual Color Forecast by Pantone.
Over the years, I’ve watched color decisions being made for countless package designs, from private label potato chip bags to plant food. So when Pantone comes into my life in the form of fashion, I’ve earned the right to get a little excited.
For decades, color forecasting has gone hand in hand with the fashion industry. In the 19th century, American fashion designers traveled to Paris to snatch up color cards that were issued by French textile mills. That tradition may be the reason why fashionistas today constantly reference Paris runways when gossiping about color.
Who can forget the rant about Cerulean Blue that Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) gives in “The Devil Wears Prada”? She single-handedly embarrasses Andy (Anne Hathaway) for thinking that two blue belts looked exactly the same. The fact is, the average consumer would make the same mistake. The color Cerulean Blue, in fact, was birthed in an Oscar de la Renta gown in 2002, copied by countless designers and then, as Miranda quips, “trickled on down into a tragic Casual Corner.” Priceless.
That scene brings me to the importance of Pantone’s pick of the “it” color for 2013: “Monaco Blue”(Pantone 19-3964). And to Andy and the similarly color-challenged—no, Monaco Blue isn’t “just another shade of navy.” It’s a color that’s taking center stage on its own.
Monaco Blue popped up everywhere at Fashion Week. Dior showed loose military jackets for men, Hervé Léger designed structured shift dresses and Monique Lhuillier created peplums all splashed with this color.
Hervé Léger was paired with the winning color in Pantone’s Fashion Color Report for Spring 2013. The designer believes blue grounds fashion collections together because of its versatile tone. Meanwhile, color forecasting experts predict the demure color will speak to the value of practicality in today’s culture.
Whether it is versatile or practical, Monaco Blue will make a splash this coming year. The fashion designers have had their fun; now it’s up to the rest of us to see how successful this color can be. My take is that Monaco Blue is a new spin on a classic color. It’s a great staple that works well with almost anything. Ten years from now, when you’re digging through the sales rack or looking through old package designs, remember what I told you! I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, Miranda Priestly-style, with a speech on the birthplace of Cerulean Blue, or Monaco Blue for that matter.