February 2014

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Pantone: Wine Is the New Black

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According to influential international color house Pantone, 2015 is the year of all things wine-in-hue. For this, we can thank the debut of Pantone's 2015 color of the year - Marsala, aka #18-1438 TCX - which has already shown up on everything from the latest Burberry Prorsum collection to Gap cords, a new Sephora mascara and an agreeably burgundy-toned Keurig K400. And while the rush to enrobe goods in the latest Pantone selection isn't anything new - after all, each year's much-hyped color predictably makes the rounds on an array of comely consumer goods - what *is* new is the latest color's fortuitous association with red wine. Never have my twin loves of fashion and wine so neatly conjoined!

Marsala: In Living Color
In the midst of all this talk of wine-hued fabulosity, I would be remiss if I didn't share a bit more about the actual *wine* Marsala, a favorite of Pantone color advisor Leatrice Eiseman. In an article which appeared in the WSJ, Eiseman says she first sipped the fortified wine on a trip to Sicily in the 1990s. Color names, she explains, need to be feel-good and evoke a positive emotion. Wine-colored clothes, makeup, kitchen gear?? Yes, yes, yes. Feel good, indeed.

In spite of some spotty quality issues and a rep dragged down by oceans of basic cooking Marsala, fine Sicilian Marsala certainly has some niceties to recommend it: a rich history steeped in international trade, a global audience and deep, concentrated flavor thanks to a solera-like aging system and fortification in the style of Port or Sherry (British wine maven Jancis Robinson has more on the matter here). And - lest we forget - there is the *color*: earthy red-brown, bold and resonant of cozy things like brown spice, gingerbread, winter sunsets and chestnuts. It's a wine you may not often sip outside of a visit to the island, but when you do - it seems certain the color, together with its concentrated flavors, will leave a lasting impression.

"Bold Neutral" to Replace Black
In the same WSJ piece, Hobo brand accessories designer Koren Ray cited women's desire to replace black with bold neutrals, like Marsala, as drivers which may have influenced Pantone's selection of the color for 2015. The ruddy color works especially well on leather accessories and - according to the article's sartorially inclined scribe, Christina Binkley - can thank earth-inclined movements like farm-to-table for nudging the organic-of-nature towards chic.

I *knew* there was more germinating in all of that besides just the omnipresence of plaid and kale, and a preponderance of spendy gastropubs touting minimalist (albeit delicious) everything.

With this positive reception for Pantone's Marsala, could 2015 be shaping up to be the year of wine-colored everything? Oh, how very delightful that would be!

Posted by Courtney at Comments (0)


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