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Fall Color Forecast: Bright and Sunny

This fall’s color trends pop with a Smurf-like blue, rain-slicker yellow and, perhaps more appropriately, a pink reminiscent of Pepto-Bismol.

In contrast with the gray economic forecast, this fall’s color trends pop with a Smurf-like blue, rain-slicker yellow and, perhaps more appropriately, a pink reminiscent of Pepto-Bismol.

This story first appeared in the July 6, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Those robust hues may well carry over into spring, said Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association, who helped the forecasting service select the season’s 24-hue palette 18 months ago.

“At the time we were doing this forecast, we had no clue what was going to happen with Wall Street and everything else,” she said. “Color does relay a sense of optimism. We have to think that things will get better. We all want to believe that. And color makes a difference in times of gloom and doom.”

Bright yellow, or “Wellie” as The Color Association calls it, continues to be a dominant shade, and Harrington is curious to see how long that lasts. The staying power of a red-based purple, similar to the color of a fresh-picked red plum, is another question mark. In terms of colors that are emerging, mint would qualify, along with light khaki, deep army green and teal, known as “Avant Garden.”

Six years shy of its 100th anniversary, The Color Association relies on a panel of eight to 10 “thought leaders” to present their respective picks for each season before the consolidation process results in a list of 24 colors. The group’s members are affected by much more than where they cast their gaze. “All the conversations are on the economy and the environment, with the economy overshadowing the environment for the first time in more than seven years,” Harrington said. “This is a big shift. In the past, we had little else to worry about. Now our plates are full of stuff to consume us.”