While worldwide economic and political stability still remains out-of-reach for many, designers are using a more balanced color palette to restore some equilibrium.

Testimony to the fact that they are not entirely sold on vivid brights or soft pastels, the season’s top 10 colors for women and men offer a healthy sampling of both. Dazzling Blue leads the charge for women, ranking first with the more subdued Violet Tulip second and the more vivacious Radiant Orchid third. The considerably softer Placid Blue topped the men’s list, followed, respectively, by Paloma, a faintly earthy gray, and Dazzling Blue.

This story first appeared in the September 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“What’s interesting is we’re seeing exciting and fashionable colors as well as more neutral ones. It’s not as though everyone is willing to wear the bright colors from recent seasons head-to-toe. There needs to be equilibrium, and that is a more serious word than balance. The world still needs the stability of soft neutrals but we’re not just talking about gray, beige and taupe,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute’s executive director. “When Placid Blue is redefined as a neutral, more people understand that it’s not just a traditional color but one you can depend on. There is a reason people look outside each morning, knowing the sky is out there and hoping that it’s blue.”

Whether Placid Blue’s seventh-place ranking for women is a case for veiled optimism is open to debate, but the prevalence of crossover colors for spring cannot be disputed. In addition to Dazzling Blue, Paloma and Placid Blue, four other colors appeared on the both lists — Celosia Orange, Freesia, Cayenne and Sand. “It’s all about a sense of balance. All designers want everyone to have fun with our clothes and to enjoy what we’re wearing but there still needs to be a bit of practicality,” she said. “Colors talk to the idea of optimism in fashion. The economic standpoint is still very much part of it.”


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