Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rose Quartz Serenity, Pantone's Twins for 2016

Carolina Herrera, Spring 2016.

By now everyone has heard Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year is actually two colors.

Rose Quartz and Serenity. Twins. Co-colors.

A big first.

Another first, Pantone sponsored a webinar on the whys and wherefores of Rose Quartz Serenity.

I was invited so I watched and listened. Pantone says people are seeking:



mindfulness, wellness 




Except for the mindfulness, which until now I assumed was paying attention when driving a car, the rest is old news. The human quest.

But I cringed when I heard Pantone's next thoughts.

"...welcoming colors that 

psychologically fulfill 

our yearning for

reassurance and security

are becoming more prominent."

This was the day after San Bernadino mass shooting.

Selling color as psychologically fulfilling a yearning for reassurance and security one day after terrorists commit mass murder is scaling the heights of corporate poor taste.

I've been waiting to publish this post thinking my opinion might soften but I cannot help remembering that the Paris tragedy was only three weeks in the past at the time of the broadcast.

via Linked In

OK, I'll be more generous.

Maybe "yearning for reassurance and security" was an unfortunate coincidence.

Maybe Pantone's goal was to convince us the Color of the Year is not an arbitrary just choose-a-damn-color-and-be-done-with-it corporate marketing tool? That a year's worth of observation, study and thought went into their choice?

That could be it. 2015's Marsala was accompanied by a photo story so irritatingly ridiculous that I do not recall Pantone's reason for choosing it. I certainly poked fun at the photo shoot (this post).

If that was Pantone's goal, mission accomplished.

But let's get back to Rose Quartz and why Pantone chose it.

The Duchess of Cambridge paving the pink path.
Screen grab from the webinar.

First, Pantone is sure that pink has the gender divide zipped back together and only old people are hanging on to 'pink is for girls'.

There is some truth here. The old people part. My husband's best summer look is a pink polo with light blue khakis. He looks great. I do not, however, like him in his corally pink linen shirt. The shirt is cut more like a blouse. The cut/color combo looks to me like he raided my closet. My daughter said something along these lines:

"Mom, don't be silly! It's a nice linen shirt."

Shirts are fine. Actually, I love men's pink dress shirts. And ties.

Head to toe pink for men? Very attractive, if you can pull it off.

Leo in pink. The Daily Mail.

Robert Redford. 

Who do you think did pink better? Leo, Robert, LeBron?

LeBron James, 2014. The Telegraph.
If you are a LeBron James you can wear anything you like.
However, I would have tailored in a tad more ease on the upper arm.
Maybe it is this snug on purpose? Accentuate the musculature?  

Pantone's thoughts on men in pink:

"In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design."

And here's Pantone's example of men in pink.

Screen grab from the webinar.

To further validate pink's new status as gender neutral, Pantone provided a "blink of the eye history" of pink in the US:

prior to World War II, pink was not a girls only color.

Pantone completely glossed over World War II and the decades prior to it.

Both periods had a profound effect on fashion and color and here's my take on why.

First, the Great Depression. Ordinary people were worried about food and shelter, not color.

The style of Katniss' grayed down Serenity dress is straight out of the Great Depression.

Then World War II's rationing and shortages included clothing, textiles, and dyes.

Fashions were cut to minimize fabric. Color was secondary.

Hemlines went up.
Gored skirt panels economized on yardage but still give an effect of fullness.
via ?

The end of WWII also ended two decades of economic devastation.

Women your great grandmother's age gladly left the aircraft factories and shipyards and traded in their coveralls for a dress.

A nice dress, thank you.

And they finally had enough money to buy one.

1943. Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Mississippi.
National Archives photo 86-WWT-85-35.

Fashion was only too happy to oblige.

Long, voluminous skirts, impossible to achieve during wartime rationing, 
were now paired with a fitted bodice. 
Made you look good.

If the dress was pink, so much the better.

The 1950s, Pink's Best Decade.
Screen grab from Pantone's webinar.

By the mid-50s, the feminization of pink was solidified in our collective consciousness and remained so for anyone born before 1980 (apparently).

That is my take on how pink became 'pink is for girls'. And now Pantone says it is not.

Now for the co-COTY, Serenity. Blue. Our love of blue is universal so Pantone wasted no airtime on its history.

And that was it for Pantone's webinar.

Here's Rose Quartz Serenity on the Spring 2016 runways.

Carolina Herrera Spring 2016.

Serenity on Leanne Marshall's catwalk.

From the Wall Street Journal.

In real life, Rose Quartz Serenity was championed by the Australian fashion blog winston and willow in June of 2014.

As a duo, Rose Quartz Serenity is evocative.

Especially the intersection where the two meld into an ethereal color my Dad named "Sky Blue Pink".

Dad would call the sequins Sky Blue Pink.
Carolina Herrera.

November sunset, 2013. Photo by Linda Pakravan.

Valentino's new flat. Handbag from Barney's.

Fashion is fashion. Anyone with neurons still firing is going to wear colors that look good on them.

Let's take this duo out of the closet and into the living room.

Walls. A sunnier version of Rose Quartz.

Celerie Kemble

Fabrics and wallpaper.

From l-r: Curtain Holdback from Houl├Ęs, fabrics from Anna French,
Knollwood in Blue Pewter, a printed silk, from Old World Weavers, Celia Vine wallpaper also from Anna French.

Knollwood Printed Silk. Very, very nice.

Sleek. Sexy. Modern chaise, or Daybed. Artistic Frame model # 722474.
The arm can be positioned on either side, or both.

The blue version of Adam's Eden, a panoramic wallpaper from Lewis and Wood, with tiny flowers and accents in Serenity.

Very English.

Below, Adam's Eden in Mother of Pearl, Rose Quartz by another name.

In a completely different vein, Miles Redd's new collection for Schumacher includes Watercolor, a printed linen. Melded brush strokes. I would stretch a big square of this lovely linen and hang it on the wall. It would also look great as pillows.

Miles Redd for Schumacher.

Here's another Schumacher favorite, Mary McDonald's collection.

Mary McDonald for Schumacher.

Like any COTY, it is best not to take the colors too literally.

If you like a color, you like it. If it looks good on you, you will wear it.

Do I think my clients will be clamoring for RQS? If it works in your home, and you love it, then yes.

There is no denying color's effect on interior design. Color drives design. Not as fast as color drives fashion, but nonetheless it is hugely important in the overall industry.

Pantone's choice for 2016 convinces me they have their finger on the pulse of color on the runway, but not off.

What do you think? Please comment.

Thanks for reading,
and have a lovely weekend!

Linda Pakravan

See more color of the year on my pinterest board.

This post was entirely unsponsored.


  1. Linda.. I never heard of Pantone before last week! I have 2 fave pics on this post. Robert Redford and Audrey Hepburn are stunning! Have a wonderful weekend. It's going to be mild.

    1. Yes, stunning. Audrey is so beautiful! Have a great weekend!

  2. I like the colors and with work it can be pulled off. Is anyone else over the Restoration Hardware - Fixer Upper look? Although the rooms are beautiful, after awhile I rub my eyes wondering if my cones are all screwed up. All grays and worn woods? Give me some color!

    1. You're right, RQS is subdued. Which seems to be Pantone's point -- fuzzy warmth and a little blue. Thanks for visiting! Have a great weekend!

  3. Hi Linda, I have been underwhelmed with the selections, mainly because I like to see more color saturation and depth. Part of it is that generally I am not a pastel person! Great images and feature!!

    The Arts by Karena
    More Books for the Holidays!!

    1. My point exactly. Color is personal.
      Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting.

  4. Linda, I love color and a little bit of pastel can go a long way! I think these colors have a calming way about them and I do love a man who can sport a little pink. I just picked up a very pretty top for the holidays in a sparkly pink.

  5. I love the colors.

  6. Very interesting, Linda! This guy is a fan of pink :) And those are such pretty colors; I'd use them as accents. Cheers, L


Please do. I love to know what you think!