Odes to playgrounds of the rich and carefree inspired spring 2005 collections. Designers used shades of blue the colors of the Mediterranean Sea and the sky over Round Hill, Montego Bay, Jamaica. There’s a nod to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where well-to-do frolick. A collection pays artistic homage to the Costa Brava in northern Spain where Gaudí, Miró and Dalí dallied. The American West and Northern California beach culture also made contributions to the cause of fashion.
- PANTONE 15-5217 BLUE TURQUOISE
Michael Kors likes shades of blue that evoke the Mediterranean, while Narciso Rodriguez has Rio de Janeiro’s lifestyle in mind with ocean blue, swimming pool blue and ice blue, as in Brazil’s traditional drink, the caipirinha. “Blue turquoise is a universally flattering color,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “It’s calming with a hint of excitement that a lot of blue-greens have.”
- PANTONE 15-2215 BEGONIA PINK
Trust Sandi Davidson for Lilly Pulitzer to wave the flag for pink and vibrant green. Other designers pairing the two colors include Ellen Tracy and Cynthia Rowley. “Pink is flattering to every skin color,” said Eiseman. “It’s the quintessential feminine color. Pink is a seductive look but it’s still innocent. Women of any age feel younger and prettier in pink.”
- PANTONE 16-6339 VIBRANT GREEN
To you and me they’re bugs. To Halston’s Bradley Bayou, they’re beautiful, colorful creatures. Bayou looked to dragonflies, grasshoppers and beetles for shades of acid green, golden yellow and chartreuse, found only in nature. Eiseman traces the popularity of green to recent fabric shows. “Vibrant green is a yellow green,” she said. “At one time we would have called it kelly green.”
- PANTONE 17-1464 FLAME
Flame, a warm poppy red, has a “Look at me!” quality that makes it a natural for stripes, accents and prints. It figures prominently in Alvin Valley’s palette, which takes its cue from the storied jet-set lifestyle of Salvadore Dalí and his wife, Gala Eluard, and their Costa Brava summers. Valley also took his cue from Gaudí architecture in the Catalan region of Spain and the surrealist work of Joan Miró.
- PANTONE 19-4039 DELFT
Delft, a vibrant cousin of navy, is true blue with purple undertones. Peter Som thought of American Richard Diebenkorn’s abstract paintings and the colors of Northern California beaches. Meanwhile, Zang Toi took ideas from Round Hill in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He played cool, wispy colors against hot Jamaican shades of platinum, black and white with splashes of red, West Indian pink and Caribbean sky.
- PANTONE 12-0642 AURORA
There was a time when women avoided wearing yellow for fear of looking like giant bananas. The color’s popularity has grown in recent years. “It’s so highly visible it catches your eye,” said Eiseman. “When yellow landed on the top 10 last year it was used more as an accent. Now it’s creeping into larger usage for separates.” Ghost’s Tanya Sarne mixed lemon yellow with antique beige and other bright combinations for spring.
- PANTONE 16-3931 SWEET LAVENDER
Fusha’s Marie Claudinette Jean thought soft colors such as lavender, mauve and spearmint would conjure the romantic mood of Paris. Mauve and peach are her signature colors. Eiseman said sweet lavender is a quiet shade with a blue base and a touch of red that will appeal to delicate flowers too shy to try full-out purple.
- PANTONE 15-1331 CORAL REEF
Eiseman called coral reef “a happier shade than pink. Women find they love it. It’s the kind of color that blends beautifully into the skin tone.” Shelly Steffee was inspired by shades of cinnamon, pomegranate, pale nudes and cameos in portraits by Belgian symbolist Fernand Khnopff, where colors seem like gentle washes that frame the faces of his subjects.
- PANTONE 16-5804 SLATE GRAY
“Slate gray is the perfect neutral color,” said Eiseman. “In and of itself it’s ho-hum, but it’s the perfect foil for almost every other color in the top 10.” David Rodriguez brought the Amalfi Coast, where mountains dotted with gray green shrubs tumble into the sea, to his spring collection. Brown, gray and beige against white, melon and green are some of the key color combinations. For evening, dresses of black and hot pink call to mind the glamorous glitterati in full swing.
- PANTONE 17-1022 KELP
Keeping in mind the early sepia-tone portraits of Native Americans by photographer Edward S. Curtis, who worked in the early 20th century, Anna Sui chose colors with the antique look that kelp imparts. “Kelp is a subtle yellow green that moves into the khaki family but is a little more complex than khaki,” said Eiseman. “It’s considered a basic now.”
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