Colour of the Year: Radiant Orchid

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Its official: the colour set to define 2014 is a particularly vibrant shade of violet. Dubbed Radiant Orchid, its the hue that promises to impact on all elements of design during the year ahead.


Emerald is over. Colour experts at Pantone have proclaimed that the It colour for 2014 is a pinkish purple, officially known as Radiant Orchid. While the 2013 colour of the year, Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal, and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, which crowns a new colour every December. According to Eiseman, the bold colour chimes with a youthful fashion-savvy and tech-loving individual. Its a marked departure from 2013s comparatively sedate shade of green.

The fashion industry is one step ahead: on the Spring/Summer 2014 runways designers including Prada, Dior, and Chanel used this dazzling hue in their collections. While some might claim that such a vibrant shade is difficult to incorporate into everyday life, the zingy nature of the shade has enough warmth to complement most skin types. Of course Radiant Orchid is an obvious candidate for a lipstick or a nail polish, but when judiciously applied, a dash
of this hue can lift everything, from a dreary living space to a car interior.

For Eiseman, the 2014 colour of choice represents an invitation to innovation. Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in todays society.

But it is not simply a forward-looking colour. Despite its poetic moniker, Radiant Orchid sits firmly within the purple family, a colour that is historically rich in symbolism. Shades of purple rarely occur in the natural world, so from the earliest civilisations its scarcity has made it synonymous with both luxury and the supernatural. It is the colour donned by Roman emperors, royalty, and popes, and one that has come to symbolise pomp, ceremony, wealth, and even piety.  In the 20th century it was the shade favoured by the artist Gustav Klimt, and later became associated with psychedelia  courtesy of Jimmy Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The release of Alice Walkers The Color Purple led to its symbolic mix of feminine (red) and masculine (blue), making purple the
go-to hue for feminism in the 1980s and beyond.

In the 21st century, Eiseman believes her shade of purple is about unabashed positivity: An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple, and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love, and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.

A glance at Pantone’s parade of It colours over the past decade reveals that the colour specialist favours in-your-face brights to define each year that passes, with plenty of striking hues. Cynics might say that this is a smart marketing strategy. An innocuous beige, however worthy of the colour crown, would lack the essential headline-grabbing potential of a bolder shade.

But Pantone’s penchant for vibrant hues also reflects the way we use colour in daily life. Black, grey, white, navy, and neutral tones tend to dominate design from one year to the next. The reason for this is simple enough: they are practical and timeless. What defines an era is how we accent these fail-safes, be they avocado bathroom suites of the mid-1970s or the eye-frazzling neons of the late 1980s.

Eiseman says that in selecting the colour of the year, Pantone casts its net wide. Influences include everything from the film industry to major art exhibitions to global social and economic conditions and advances in technology. Sandra Halliday, editorial director of trends forecaster WGSN, agrees that the time is right for Radiant Orchid. We think it will have staying power because its a wearable shade across genders, and is also a commercial choice for interiors and beauty, she says. But we wont be submerged in the hue: Its not about a colour that squeezes out everything else, but one that is widely but subtly used, whether thats in a colour-blocked dress, or as an accent on a food packet or bath foam.

Of course the big question is how to work 2014s vibrant hue without requiring a brand-new wardrobe or the services of an interior designer. While head-to-toe pinkish purple is not for everyone, on a handbag, shoe, or trim it provides an instant lift, and it works surprisingly well with more subdued tones like olive, navy, taupe, grey, and teal. The same strategy applies at home. Radiant Orchid has the power to re-energise a tired interior courtesy of a brightly hued lamp or coffeemaker. 2014s colour does come with one word of warning: unless you want to rekindle a 1980s aesthetic or blind hapless passers-by, avoid pairing with anything fluorescentì...


Asprey – Ruby drop earrings

If youre going to get behind 2014s biggest colour trend, you might as well do it in style. These exquisite drop earrings comprise pear-shaped rubies surrounded by brilliant-cut diamonds, all set in platinum.
Price on request.


Haute House – Sausalito chair

With its classic Chesterfield silhouette and plush velvet fabric, this chair is the perfect statement piece to add warmth and a touch of luxury to any living space.


Kozioil – Silk clock

Perfect for the kitchen or office, the slick design of this clock will keep it looking fresh even when Radiant Orchid is no longer the colour of the moment.


Paul Smith for Stelton
Dot coffee press

British designer Paul Smith is known for putting a quirky twist on design classics. This elegant but fun take on an everyday object is a great way to brighten any kitchen.


Halston Heritage Draped double-faced satin gown

This floor-skimming draped evening dress creates instant glamour that is worthy of the dance floor at Studio 54.


Garmin Forerunner 220

Who said that 2014s It colour couldnt be practical? This vibrant running companion features GPS and a high-resolution display that enables users to track distance, pace, and heart rate.


Sensi Studio Adrian toquilla straw panama. Bring a splash of colour to your off-duty style with this straw panama. Made-to-order and hand-woven by artisans in Ecuador.
Price on request,


Victoria Beckham – Hexagonal chain bag

Created in buffalo and calf leather and featuring a gold-plated chain, this simple shoulder bag is proof that Radiant Orchid doesnt have to be about look-at-me fashion: it can also be effortlessly chic.


Valérie Egée
Double stone statement ring

Created by celebrated French jeweller
Valérie Egée, the organic design of this violet titanium and quartz cocktail ring provides a show-stopping finishing touch to any outfit.


Diane von Furstenberg – Lorelei silk blouse

With its python print and on-trend hue,  Diane von Furstenbergs blouse provides a perfect way to update staple jeans.


Gucci shoes – Suede horsebit sandal

Handcrafted in Italy, the timeless design of these sandals makes them the perfect investment purchase for lazy summer days.


Marc Jacobs
Lola Eau de Toilette 1.7oz

With its top notes of pink peppercorn, ruby red grapefruit, and mid notes of peony, rose, and geranium, Marc Jacobs has created a warm floral scent that is the perfect companion to this years colour.

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