Color of the year is harmony of pinks, purples

By Stephanie Earls Published: December 9, 2013 | 3:45 pm 0

Style and color trends wax and wane with the zeitgeist, some, hopefully, experiencing a longer down-time than others (linebacker shoulder pads on ladies' suits, anyone?)

For those whose fashion decisions hinge on such mercurial things, drum roll please:

The official color of the year for 2014 is radiant orchid, "a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple," according to the Pantone Color Institute, the global color authority for the design industry and supreme arbiter of shade.

"Radiant orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination," said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone's executive director. "An invitation to innovation, radiant orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society."

Radiant orchid follows 2012's ruling shade, "tangerine tango," and the 2013 pick, emerald green, decided in secret meetings of the world's color standards representatives held twice each year in undisclosed European capitals.

Eiseman describes the 2014 color as an "enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones" with "beguiling charm" that "inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health."

We say, pastel purple by any other name still would remind us of our poufy princess prom dress from the 80s. But if radiant orchid holds the powers Eiseman claims, it might deserve a second look.

"It's a nice color," said Heidi Isaac, a professional seamstress and owner of The Button, the Needle and the Wardrobe in Colorado Springs. "It works with a lot of different styles, but it all depends on how it's carried out. It can be nasty if it's on the wrong medium."

Radiant orchid is a color-wheel contrast to green, said Eiseman, but it's not the red that would have been a more obvious choice.

"It's a little different, it's a little off the beaten path and it's not a primary color," she explains. "It's an invitation to innovation. The purple family offers (an) opportunity to do creative things."

For Isaac, who expects the hue will be especially popular for formal dresses such as prom and bridesmaids gowns, the announcement is a call to stock up.

"Once a color hits, suddenly it becomes available in fabric whereas maybe it wasn't before," she said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report

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