The 10 most popular Pantone colors for the upcoming spring 2004 New York collections, ranked by percentage, based on designer preference.


In times of strife, American designers have turned to color to give consumers a Prozac-like lift. In a post-9/11 world, where the sluggish economy and lingering Iraq war have left some feeling blue, designers are hoping that shades such as peachskin and fandango will put fashion back in the pink. They’re also spicing up their collections with cayenne, cadmium yellow and tigerlily, while leaf green, the shade of a freshly mowed lawn, is popular for its back-to-nature quality. On this list, the results of a recent Pantone survey asking designers to choose the most directional hues for spring point to a spectrum of feel-good colors.

1 PANTONE 15-0332 LEAF GREEN
13.9 percent

Yoehlee chose shades that evoke the greens of spring and summer and the colors of the woods. “In many industries green has become a symbolic color for sustainability for people who care about the environment,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

2 PANTONE 15-1054 CADMIUM YELLOW
13 percent

Designers who’ve overdosed on acid orange are choosing cadmium yellow. “As far as the fashion world is concerned, it’s the next hot thing,” said Eiseman. Alice Roi, who was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and the colors of the desert, picked the burnt orange as her signature color.

3 PANTONE 15-3930 VISTA BLUE
11.3 percent

Blue is traditionally associated with longevity and constancy, according to Eiseman, and Vista Blue has a Zen feeling that satisfies a longing for spirituality. Peter Som likes Vista Blue because it “seduces rather than screams,” he said, adding: “It represents an uncontrived prettiness.”

4 PANTONE 14-1907 PEACHSKIN
10.6 percent

Peachskin, “a soft, nurturing color,” makes everyone look good, according to Eiseman. “It’s what colors looked like in Fifties movies,” said Marc Badgley and James Mischka. “It’s clear, yet faded and soft. It’s romantic and feminine.” Nicole Miller, Carmen Marc Valvo and Carolina Herrera also are using the shade this spring.5 PANTONE 18-1651 CAYENNE
10.4 percent

Michael Kors is peppering his spring collection with cayenne. “I was inspired by the glamorous resort spirit of Capri,” he said. Eiseman added, “Cayenne is like a shot of adrenaline. It has excitement and a lot of warmth.”

6 PANTONE 17-2033 FANDANGO PINK
9.6 percent

Michael Vollbracht chose Fandango Pink for his first Bill Blass collection, which is inspired by English garden roses. Muted green and earth tones such as taupe, gray, mother of pearl and sage round out the palette.

7 PANTONE 15-3620 LAVENDULA
8.8 percent

Neither cloyingly sweet nor drably gray, lavendula is a sophisticated shade of blue purple. Anna Sui, who took her cue from fun-in-the-sun sports, surfing and the beach, made lavender a key color ofher spring collection.

8 PANTONE 18-3833 DUSTED PERI
7.9 percent

“It’s not a kiddy color,” said Eiseman of Dusted Peri. Jeff Mahshie agreed. He’s layering multiple colors such as pinks, greens, blues and purples with white and other ombré combinations for Chaiken.

9 PANTONE 16-1105 PLAZA TAUPE
7.8 percent

Nicole Miller used pale and faded colors inspired by Victorian lingerie, while Alvin Valley chose understated neutrals and muted tones. Calling Plaza Taupe “the quintessential neutral color,” Eiseman said it adds some complexity when mixed with another color.

10 PANTONE 17-1456 TIGERLILY
6.7 percent

Tigerlily is on the sketch pads of Ellen Tracy and Anne Klein designers, whose collections reflect the tremendous range of flora and fauna, and the reddish-orange shades of the sun, respectively.

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