Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pantone Announces The Color of 2015: Proving Drinking Is Part Of The Selection Process

Pantone, the company, whose job it is to tell the world what colors will be cool in 2015 and what an idiot you are to hold on to the color they told you was cool in 2014, has done it again. They have announced the color for 2015 to be Marsala

Marsala is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala, Sicily and is of the red variety. But as much as I love both wine and food from Italy with great abandon, we will leave that conversation for another time and place.

As someone who spent the better part of his career as a fashion designer, I had the privilege to participate in all aspects of fashion, good and bad. Many of us would attend, twice a year, what was the show of shows for designers, Premièr Vision Paris. This was where many of us would view and select the tools of our trade for each upcoming design season, in particular fabrics and accessories. It was always a big deal and in as much as they do now have competition such as Milano Unica from the Italians, this was a big affair.

One of the "tools" we could get was found at the area where the "colors of the season" would be displayed. This was no mere afterthought, no, this was a very large, and to many, an important display. From the very beginning, as a designer of neckwear (ties) to start and later to shirts, knits, sweater and outerwear I combined my fabrics from those I personally or my team designed with those that were offered by the very best mills in the world. Early on I made a choice of going with my gut, to be different, to have a vision instead of being given one. This was risky of course, but what is fashion without risk? Don't get me wrong, on my very first show I did go to the color display, and I did inquired about buying the book they were selling with all the colors of the season in it. But the price tag for a young designer as I was then would take me beyond my means, so I did the next best thing. 

Observing and therefore learning, from those around me I began to take notes. Pictures were prohibited and very strongly enforced. It was also before smart phones, so even trying to take a pic was not going to be a choice, they would literally take the camera from you. I noticed that many would write down the colors, but how would a description on a piece of paper going to show me, once back in my studio, what the colors were. Still, I did as others were doing. Once I was back at my studio I realized that this system just would not do. The following season I was in the same predicament, but this time I noticed something else. The colors they were showing, still encompassed the rainbow of colors available on earth. You see, although as it is stated that Marsala is THE COLOR for 2015, they show many, many other colors. Yes what was different this season from last season were the shades, but the colors were the same. Yellows were available, as were greens, and reds, and blues, and so on. I decided to go it alone. One other factor though, the mills had already been in on this game, so the colors they were offering were THE COLORS of the season. So, in reality what I needed was my good eyes, my good taste and lots and lots of intestinal fortitude: guts.

Designers, those that are successful have an inner sense, they also are creating from season to season so there's an evolution that is practically natural from season to season. There are also other ways one can get around the very expensive cost of the color book that is on sale every season, but that tidbit of information, might have to wait for another time.

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