Pantone's color of the year: Marsala

 
By Jura Koncius
The Washington Post
Posted12/13/2014 12:01 AM
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  • Pantone officials say the Marsala color is already big in clothing, handbags and wearables. Will it be a popular color in decor? The Optic rug fis available from Oriental Weavers.

    Pantone officials say the Marsala color is already big in clothing, handbags and wearables. Will it be a popular color in decor? The Optic rug fis available from Oriental Weavers. Courtesy of Oriental Weavers

  • Pantone has picked Marsala, an earthy, reddish-amber color, as color of the year for 2015. At left, the Uttermost Peizhi ceramic garden stool in a Marsala shade. At right, the Surya Calm key pouf ottoman, both from Wayfair.

    Pantone has picked Marsala, an earthy, reddish-amber color, as color of the year for 2015. At left, the Uttermost Peizhi ceramic garden stool in a Marsala shade. At right, the Surya Calm key pouf ottoman, both from Wayfair. Courtesy of Wayfair

  • The 1969 Always Skinny corduroy jeans from Gap in Pantone's color of the year, Marsala.

    The 1969 Always Skinny corduroy jeans from Gap in Pantone's color of the year, Marsala. Courtesy of Gap

  • Pantone's Marsala mug with gift box.

    Pantone's Marsala mug with gift box. Courtesy of Pantone

Take a look inside that bottle of Marsala wine sitting in your bar you once bought for that Italian chicken recipe. That earthy, reddish-amber color is what Pantone has named its 2015 Color of the Year.

Marsala "enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in the announcement.

Unlike other "Colors of the Year" put out by paint companies, Pantone's color forecasts are used across many industries besides home design and interiors, whether fashion, consumer products, graphics or packaging. As a major color authority, Pantone charts corporate color direction.

So what made it go with Marsala? Pantone officials say the color is already big in clothing, handbags and wearables. And they believe it goes well with warmer taupes and grays, and umber, golden yellow and turquoise.

So what do color experts think of Marsala?

"It's nice, but it surprises me," says color consultant Jean Molesworth Kee, owner of the Painted Room in Alexandria, Virginia. "We have been veering from red or burgundy wall color now for years. This has a dusky, earthy quality." Kee says she could see Marsala used in "an ethnic bohemian place." She added, "It's muted and it reminds me of Morocco or of faded old Oriental rugs. It would go nicely with warm, sandy colors and browns."

I called another color expert who hadn't yet heard the news. "This name doesn't sound good," said Washington, D.C., designer Annie Elliott, whose firm is called Bossy Color. She quickly clicked on the Pantone website and called me back. "You can pair it with hunter green and you can be right back in 1987. It is so depressing," Elliott said "I hate burgundy, and it doesn't even have the guts of burgundy. It looks tired. It already looks like it has been washed too many times. We are in for a rough year."

Although many of the anointed colors are big in the paint department, Marsala seems to be a strong hue that perhaps will show up more on upholstery, table linens and tableware as well as in fabric prints, rather than on powder room walls.

One of my savvy colleagues said Marsala looked like a cute nail polish color. I can also imagine it as a lipstick. A bedroom? Not so much. But then, that's why the Color of the Year changes annually.

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