The next time you’re shopping for a new accent for your home or wardrobe, chances are your eyes will be drawn to pieces the color of a bright tropical bloom.
That’s what the experts at the Pantone Color Institute are betting.
Every year, Pantone surveys the globe and crowns its Color of the Year, the hue predicted to make a big splash in palettes during the months ahead. For 2014, everything is coming up Radiant Orchid, a vibrant shade somewhere between fuchsia and violet.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Kathy Basil, manager/buyer for Hirshfield’s Design Resource, of Pantone’s choice. She’s noticed pink ascending in popularity, especially among trend-savvy customers. “People in the know — they’re asking for pink in wallcoverings,” she said. Not just orchid shades, but pinks of all description, from brights to pales. “Whenever you start to see the range in a color, you can tell it’s coming.”
Nancy Woodhouse, senior designer for Gabbert’s Design Studio, noticed a lot of orchid in fashion windows while in London last spring. “It’s beautiful — such a vibrant, romantic color,” she said. “It’s so complementary to most people’s skin tones. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of that color during the Academy Awards.”
Orchid is a feminine color, but you don’t have to be female to like it or wear it, according to Jim Noble of Noble Interior Design. “It’s a fun color, and fun to wear in small amounts,” he said. “Speaking as a bow-tie wearer, it’ll be great with a gray or dark blue suit.”
For interiors, he expects it to be used as an accent hue to add a pop of color. “It could be great in a house in a plaid or paisley,” he said.
Basil also expects orchid to take a limited supporting role in home decor. “I don’t really see it as a wall color,” she said. “It can’t be matte or flat. It has to have depth, like a fabric or a leather. It won’t take center stage like emerald,” last year’s Pantone pick for Color of the Year, she predicted.
Woodhouse would use orchid on pillows, vases, a piece of artwork or a floral arrangement, she said. “I think it’s going to be seasonal, for outdoor areas and porches, maybe in a bathroom.”
Orchid is a good complement to other currently popular colors in interior design, including the grays that have become the preferred neutral, as well as last year’s emerald, she said. “It’s gorgeous with green. Think of an orchid on a stem. It’s a beautiful combination in nature.”
Does “Color of the Year” actually have an impact on which hues people will be seeing and buying? Yes, said Basil. While many manufacturers of paint and other products issue their own color proclamations, Pantone’s still carries the most weight and has the most influence.
“What I personally like about Pantone’s take on it is that they travel the world,” she said, analyzing everything from cultural influences to fashion runways. “They are right on. When they announce a color, you’ll just start to see it.”
Within hours of the Color of the Year announcement, manufacturers and retailers started promoting their orchid-hued offerings, from lamps to upholstery fabrics to vases.
Radiant Orchid is a “captivating, magical, enigmatic purple” that “emanates great joy, love and health,” said Pantone in a release announcing its selection. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”
Often, we crave the Color of the Year subconsciously before we even know what it is, Basil said. She’s felt the pull of the pinky-purple herself. For Thanksgiving this year, she bought an orchid for her table — more than a week before Pantone’s announcement. “I wanted that color and I didn’t know why,” she said. “It’s a positive color, full of energy. Just like my orchid, it makes me smile.”