The top colors chosen by designers for spring 2009.
The top colors chosen by designers for spring 2009.
18-4043 PALACE BLUE
While Palace Blue is considered to be in the navy family, “it’s definitely got more sparkle,” Eiseman of Pantone noted. “This variation is just right — I think you’re going to be seeing a lot of it in sportswear, and in dressier clothing. It’s being used in every segment of apparel.” She said one classic color combination for spring would be Palace Blue and number 10’s Lucite Green. “This duo speaks to customers who may not want bold combinations.” But, she said, “Palace Blue is one of those colors that really goes well with every color in the top 10. There are some bolder combinations, like with [number four-ranked] Salmon Rose and Fuchsia Red [ranked number five], that would certainly make a statement.”
This spring’s variation of purple is softer than fall 2007’s Royal Lilac, said Eiseman. “There’s still a mysterious quality to this version, and it isn’t some baby pastel lavender, it’s got more life. It’s not wimpy.” Douglas Hannant has made the color his signature one for the season, while Rebecca Taylor chose cool lilacs and Lavender as two of her prominent shades. “I am really into silver, and these purple tones complement metallic,” she told Pantone. Eiseman said, “One of the most gorgeous combinations amongst this palette is Lavender mixed in with [number nine-ranked] Dark Citron.”
14-0754 SUPER LEMON
Both Reem Acra and Rachel Roy worked classic shades of yellow into their spring collections, and Carmen Marc Valvo — whose inspiration for the season was watercolor paintings — chose Super Lemon as his signature color. “This particular yellow perfectly reflects its title,” said Eiseman. “It’s got this really tart appeal, and a lot of zest and tang, but it’s more complex than buttercup or dandelion.” And, while yellow can be a challenging color to commit to, “this particular shade might just change people’s minds about yellow, because it carries some green undertones that make it more interesting.” She acknowledged that many consumers have a difficult time wearing yellow, but said the shade is good to use in accessories.
15-1626 SALMON ROSE
Spring’s version of orange is a bit softer and paler than fall’s Burnt Orange. “It may not stand out as intensely as Fuchsia Red, so for those who have been hesitant about wearing orange, this is a terrific place to start,” said Eiseman. She noted Salmon Rose would complement darker skin tones, especially in the summertime. Two colors that would combine with Salmon Rose are Fuchsia Red, which is a bolder statement, and number 10, Lucite Green, which gives off more of a classic feel. Designers showing in New York who incorporated variations of the color for spring include Wichy Hassan for Miss Sixty and Kimora Lee Simmons for Baby Phat.
18-2328 FUCHSIA RED
It’s the show-stopper of the palette, and designers such as Acra are taking full advantage of the color for spring. Acra, in fact, chose this as her signature tone, while Peter Som, Erin Fetherston and Taylor used the color to enhance various pieces. Eiseman noted that, while women gravitate toward the color all year long, “in the springtime, it’s great to have. It’s so hard to do anything wrong with this color.” She added, “Fuchsia Red is not a warm red. It actually had a bluer undertone to it. It’s a break from the traditional red, which reflects that continuing change we’re talking about for spring.” One noteworthy color combination she cited was to mix Fuchsia Red with Dark Citron.
14-1307 ROSE DUST
“There are people who want neutral colors in their wardrobe, so they can get a number of seasons of use out of their clothes,” said Eiseman. “Rose Dust has this rosy cast to it that allows consumers to have a reliable, neutral color, but it’s more flattering to skin tones than other variations from the beige family.” Tia Cibani, creative director for Ports 1961, chose a neutral base for spring, which included beiges and khakis, similar to Rose Dust. She was inspired by the art of Emily Carr and her “vibrantly painted cedar poles standing in perfect harmony against the soothing canvas of nature’s flora.” Both Charlotte Ronson and Alvin Valley also worked neutrals such as Rose Dust into their spring offerings.
16-5804 SLATE GRAY
Both Yigal Azrouël and Tadashi Shoji worked their versions of this neutral color into their spring designs. Looking at Slate Gray from a distance, one can pick up blues and greens in its undertones, stated Eiseman. “We call this a ‘nuanced neutral.’ It’s a bit more complex, yet it can stand on its own, so that if you wanted to choose it for a major piece or investment, you can bounce other colors off of it.” For softer effects, one could match Salmon Rose or Rose Dust with Slate Gray. Or, for a stronger, more daring move, try it with Fuchsia Red.
16-6339 VIBRANT GREEN
“I would characterize this as the quintessential spring color,” said Eiseman. “There’s got to be some variation of green that comes with spring. It’s renewal time, and this color really speaks to that philosophy. It’s a true green.” She also noted this is a color that reflects the environment ?— that it stands well for recycling. “So this color isn’t just representing spring, it’s a symbolic color of the environment. Even in clothing, something needs to speak to that, and I think designers are very well aware of that point.” Tracy Reese chose a range of greens for her spring collection, which included Vibrant Green. Her inspiration came from abstracted landscapes, van Gogh, lush gardens and “glorious nature.”
16-0435 DARK CITRON
The second of three green variations in spring’s palette is Dark Citron, a stronger, yellowish version of the color. Said Eiseman: “I found this particularly interesting, because yellow greens have been out there for many seasons now, but this is a deeper, more serious version of the color. It’s more grown-up, and it isn’t childish or whimsical. Rather, it’s got a deeper tonality.” David Rodriguez, who characterized this color as “golf course green,” chose this as his signature color for spring. “It’s a color you can actually breathe in,” he told Pantone. Said Eiseman: “Dark Citron combined with Super Lemon or Palace Blue is a more traditional way to go, but if you want to mix things up, match it with Lavender.”
14-5714 LUCITE GREEN
“To me, this is the most fascinating green of all,” said Eiseman. “This one is almost translucent, as if you were looking at an ice cube. It’s clean, it’s very clear and it’s a really different kind of choice for green. Talk about your perfect summer color.” She noted designers were thinking outside the box when using this version. The shade also carries hints of blue in it, so it’s not necessarily yellow green. One designer who worked Lucite Green into her creations was Nanette Lepore, whose color philosophy was “eternal spring.” She chose earthy tones combined with “brilliant bursts of flora and fauna.”