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Pantone names Ultra Violet 2018 colour of the year

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Colour giant Pantone has unveiled Ultra Violet, a “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade” as the 2018 colour of the year, as it states it communicates “originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking”.

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

The purple hue is a bolder choice than in recent years, the 2017 colour was Greenery categorised as a “refreshing and revitalising shade”, while in 2016 it was a joint colour of the year with Rose Quartz and Serenity, softer colours both chosen as an “antidote to modern day stresses’, and in 2015, it was an earthy wine red shade of Marsala that aimed to add a “unifying element”.

In explaining why purple, Pantone states that the shade is “complex and contemplative” and “suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now”.

In addition, Pantone adds that: “enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance” as musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix all brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. The bold shade is also “nuanced and full of emotion” and symbolises “experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets”.

Pantone also notes that historically, there has been a “mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet” and that the colour is "often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world”.

Pantone chooses “provocative and thoughtful” purple shade as 2018 colour

Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, added: “The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.

“As individuals around the world become more fascinated with colour and realise its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, designers and brands should feel empowered to use colour to inspire and influence. The Colour of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design, reflecting the Pantone Color Institute’s year-round work doing the same for designers and brands.”

Pantone has been predicting the colour of the year for the past 19 years, and its experts comb the world looking for new colour influences including across the entertainment industry and films in production, in fashion, art, food, interiors and cosmetics, as well as new lifestyles and socio-economic conditions and travel destinations. It adds that influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact colour, relevant social media platforms and even up-coming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

In fashion, Pantone says that the “enchanting” purple hue will provide a “theatrical linkage” for both men’s and women’s styles, and with it being created by combining red and blue it lends itself to unique colour combinations, such as with gold or other metallics it becomes “luxurious and dazzling”, while with greens or greys it “evokes natural elegance”.

“Lush velvets in the colour suggest intrigue for evening, but are also unexpectedly modern in athleisure or sneakers. In accessories, jewellery, and eyewear, Ultra Violet suggests the complexities of natural gems, textures, and florals,” added Pantone.

The bold colour has already been spotted on the catwalk, with purple spotted at Moschino, Gucci and Balenciaga spring/summer 2018 shows.

Within beauty, Pantone notes that Ultra Violet’s complex and deep nature colour is well-suited for beauty looks created by combinations, blends, and ombres. “A singular matte purple on the lips or nails makes a bold statement of non-conformity, while softly blended metallics and shimmers in Ultra Violet transform the eyes into windows to the cosmos,” explains Pantone. “Purple shades in hair continue to elevate street styles as a symbol of creative expression.”

Other purple hues that have been named colour of the year includes Radiant Orchid, an “embracing purple” that captivated the harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones in 2014, and in 2007, Blue Iris, a balanced blue-purple was selected as it “combined the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple”.

Images: courtesy of Pantone, Gucci S/S2018: Courtesy of Gucci, by Dan Lecca / Marni A/W 2018: Catwalkpictures.