The shifting spectrum of color

Jennifer Negley, Carole Sloan, March 15, 2004

NEW YORK — Color, and lots of it. Bold and bright; dyeing techniques that provide the unusual; and retro looks back to the '20s through the '60s are key color and design directions for the home furnishings market for spring 2005.

American consumers apparently have taken to the bolder color palette in the last several years and are more willing to experiment with their home colors. In part, this is a result of the growing number of home decorating shows on TV, paced by "Trading Spaces."


CARLSTADT, N.J. — There's a new way of combining soft mid-tones with neutrals.

It's called Relax, and it's the most fashion forward of the home color statements developed by Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute for its Home Forecast — Spring 2005. It's a look that "is more appealing than pastels, it's pure pleasure."

For Relax, Eiseman sees colors like Pink Nectar, Pale Mauve and Banana Crepe mixing with textural surfaces using camel and crystal gray to create character and texture.

It is the strength of the color in Relax that underscores "the trend that we certainly have seen more vibrant color in the home. And it won't go away. Shows like Trading Spaces, one of the most watched TV shows, have raised the consumers comfort level for color. They've become more experimental."

Brights continue in importance for the home, Eiseman said, with the RePlay palette in Crayola colors of Pucci pink and orange and combinations of lavender, lemon and lime. In all, RePlay reflects the continuing influence of the '50s on 21st century color and design.

Another palette that reflects the stronger color direction is Radiance with "dazzling color glowing with exhilaration and excitement," Eiseman remarked. That is set against background shades of Mineral Yellow, Apricot Brandy and Burnt Henna acting as a contrast to striking purples, hot pinks and tropical orchids.

In contrast to the bolder colors, Eiseman sees Recurrents, a palette "inspired by the black and white films of the '40s and '50s — a new take on 'reel' life punctuated by sepia overtones and white, black, beige, taupe and muted gray and greens," and influencing styles that are curvilinear, sleek, streamlined and silvery.

Again in a softer mood, Refinements expresses "refined elegance with simplified styling — tradition with a twist," Eiseman related. Textures and finishes are lush, with a luxurious feel, but not contrived nor fussy. Color combinations are complex and include shades such has Chinese Violet, Rich Gold, Blue Ashes, Deep Mahogany, Green Moss and Silver Sage.


Gutsy and not shy.

Those are the key words in the color, fabric and design forecast for spring 2005 presented here last week by the American Trend and Color Committee (AT&CC) at the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition.

"It is a cheerful season, nature-full, festive and daring," said Lisa Mainardi, director, AT&CC. The brights will still be fashion colors, "but toned down a bit with brown. Yellows will be important as an accent and as an item color while pastels will be mixed with nudes and naturals."

Mainardi continued, "The retro revival and renewal remains — borrowing bits from the '20s to the '60s as well as the 1880s. Romance and femininity are omnipresent with transparent fabrics, luminescence and myriad florals."

Prints will be important, paced by opticals, tropicals, tie dyes, conversations, scenics, ethnics, naive geos, irregular dyes and textures. "Look for unexpected color combos and pattern mixes," she said. At the same time, color blocking, stitchery, appliques and beading will be important. In fabrics, transparent, weightless, diaphanous and featherweights will be fashion right, Mainardi said.

Nude-toned leathers, waxed linens, and ethnic prints are considered significant fabric directions, she added.

Looking at specific directions, AT&CC picks Out of the Box as a key look in which color falls where it may. "It also reflects the trend that people yearn for color and have the confidence to use it," Mainardi explained. Kiwi mixes with turquoise, red-orange with pink, dark brown with lapis, and yellow is everywhere. Chartreuse is the new accent and pink becomes a basic.

Adding brown or a darker tone adds a richness to the brights and enhances the attitude, the AT&CC forecast related. High contrast color provides a powerful statement as well.

Influences from the Ottoman Empire to the Far East to Europe are evident in Overstepping Boundaries, another trend direction that highlights giant geometrics, polka dots, stripes and rhythmical geometrics that appear on heavyweight fabrics or sheers.

Sophisticated Madras plaids are seen as reflecting a '50s prep school mood as well as being tropical, rich and warm in colors. Ombre, dip dyeing, tie dyeing and uneven dyeing techniques are important in creating an ethnic feel. Overprinting, pigment dyeing and pigment printing that can be washed back will influence exotic, intense and warm colors.

Tropical island prints and large-scale florals, especially hibiscus, will create a vacation mood in patterns. Swirls and wavy designs will reflect the Pucci influence while flamestitches will show the Missoni impact.

Persimmon, gold, berry, turquoise, wine, camel, clay and grape dominate the palette in Overstepping Boundaries.

In contrast, Above and Beyond showcases "the basic and essential — and is newest when feminine," Mainardi related. Pale shades suggest air, mist, sky and femininity while deeper blues reflect wetness, water, depth and mystery. Fabrics take on a wet look through chintzing and waxed linen becomes leather-like.

Wrinkles add dimension through weave or chemical application that creates creases and pleating.

Ikats, batiks, and resist dyes offer broad options for prints and wovens, AT&CC reported. Blues of all intensities are key.

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