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Pantone’s color of 2014 is . . . Radiant Orchid

When I saw the e-mail, I felt a shiver of dread: “Pantone Reveals Color of the Year for 2014.” For more than a decade, the Pantone Color Institute, a company dedicated to studying and forecasting color trends, has trumpeted a new color of the year. My usual reaction to its choice is “Really? Ick.”

I’ve often wondered if the staff suffered from a touch of color blindness. The color for 2013 was Emerald, or, as I referred to it, “golf pant green.” In 2012, it was Tangerine Tango, which bore an uncomfortable resemblance to a crate of rotting blood oranges. Before that was Honeysuckle, a shade better suited to stretch-waist, poly-blend slacks than a home accent wall or red carpet gown.

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You get the idea. I began to suspect that Pantone’s color forecaster was actually my great-aunt Shirley (sorry Shirley). But this story has a happy ending. I bravely opened the latest e-mail. The color for 2014 is called Radiant Orchid, and it’s . . . absolutely lovely. Soothing, but not boring. Purple, but not garish like Grimace from McDonaldland or the gay Teletubby that carries a purse.

“An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone, in a statement announcing the new color (left).

I’m not sure if I’m buying innovation, but I am sold on the fact that this is a color that would not be common in golf pants. I’ve already seen varying shades of Radiant Orchid in Spring/Summer 2014 runway shows, and I could see it becoming a popular paint shade for feminine boudoirs.

In years past, I’ve held my breath, waiting for Pantone’s color predictions to be translated into goods that fill store windows and shelves. I particularly dreaded 2010’s Turquoise forecast. Now I can worry about more important things, such as what Pantone’s prediction for 2015 will be.

Christopher Muther can be reached at
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