Like clockwork, Pantone released their Fall / Winter 2016 palette in February at the start of New York’s Fashion Week. Drawing on the experiences, opinions and influences of 21 designers, Pantone has predicted a rainbow of colors we’re all going to go gaga for. (Find the Hex, RGB and CMYK equivalents.)
2016 is the peak (we hope) of a series of stressful, transformative and unpredictable years—one where we’re losing the heroes of our childhoods. Designers continue to respond to the ongoing stress of day-to-day living. As such, the colors for the upcoming season are striking but calm, uplifting but sturdy, giving us strength and comfort in the face of uncertainty.
This is the third consecutive gender neutral palette for Pantone, which makes a pretty definitive statement: color, quite simply, has no gender. What’s also striking is that the two pastel Colors of the Year are MIA this time around. Instead, as if they were too washed out for Fall/Winter, they’re represented by the bolder but still muted tones of Airy Blue for Serenity and Dusty Cedar for Rose Quartz. There are also 6 brand new shades in play (instead of combining existing Pantone swatches) which is an interesting comment on the economy. Even with the recent recovery, consumer spending has been flat in fashion and home décor—but there is nothing like the fresh and new to get us to invest in unique pieces for our wardrobes and homes.
And now the colors: Psst, they’re kinda dirty and we like that. Riverside is clearly the standout shade for this season. Like a favorite pair of jeans, it’s a dirty but versatile blue, something to go with everything and appeal to everyone. Sharkskin, an outrageously lovely gray and Warm Taupe, a pale sand, are strong neutrals, pairing effortlessly with any of the other colors in the palette. Warm hues like Spicy Mustard, Aurora Red and Bodacious are like shots in the arm, providing bold, sparks of energy. Lush Meadow, a powerful green, represents foliage and flora and brings the outdoors inside. An unusual but sophisticated choice, Potter’s Clay is a strong brown with orange undertones. Airy Blue is weightless and peaceful, which may seem an odd choice for fall but will be fantastic in winter. Bringing warmth and comfort, Dusty Cedar is an earthy pink, reminiscent of both Rose Quartz and Marsala, the color of the year for 2015.
There is no better influencer on mood, energy level and personality than the colors we surround ourselves with, especially during hectic times. The palette for the upcoming two seasons reflects that and provides a warm blanket so that we can better weather the storm.