Pantone, the PR juggernaut famed for annually dreaming up a single new color to dazzle our design senses, has announced that this year’s winner is…Marsala. (Sit down, Kanye!) This reddish brown hue that has been described by the folks at Pantone as “brown leather meets rust” is a calm step away from last year’s vivid, bold, and, some would argue, hard to imagine as anything other than a shade of lipstick: Radiant Orchid.
Mind those shoes on the chair, young lady. Other young lady: if you stopped caressing that fabric for a moment, you’d notice there is a delicious looking fruit tart on the coffee table, just north of your Marsala-hued clutch. Source: Pantone
Each year, Pantone hosts a two-day summit replete with presentations, discussions, and surely a few rounds of “I don’t think so!” before selecting their IT color which they predict we’ll spot everywhere from the catwalk to the pages of the next Pottery Barn catalog. Funny how I can’t actually recall seeing Radiant Orchid anywhere last year, nor the previous year’s pick, a bright green shade tagged–what else?–Emerald. How about you? I’m counting on your head turning from side to side, at this very moment, as proof that perhaps these colors don’t have as much influence as they’re purported to.
The apron, the tie, the lip color, we get it. Source: Pantone.
Now you see it: Okay, fine, I’ve noticed Marsala in a few fashion features (it’s well-suited to winter wear), but on throws, pillows, or an upholstered pouf? Not a one. Even Pantone’s website seems stumped on how to incorporate this color, as it limits its use to images of aprons, a tablecloth, a man’s tie, a woman’s top, a single settee and the nail polish and lipstick color of the models.
Pantone suggests incorporating Marsala into the home through accessory pieces, paint, linens and small appliances (I’m still befuddled by this last one–is KitchenAid about to reveal a wine-colored mixer?) but stops short of showing us how. Of course, they do add, Marsala is “a subtly seductive shade which embodies the satisfying richness of a fulling meal. ” Well then.
Now you don’t: Sure, rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and throw blankets (not to mention your winter jacket) in Marsala will hide a multitude of spills and sins–any brown will achieve that–but I can’t imagine this color used outside of homes with an architectural inclination towards Tuscan, Moroccan or Spanish–and certainly not Santa Barbara Spanish, where we are wont to keep our look light and summery all year round. Then again, Pantone begs to differ, reminding us, “Naturally robust and earth wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.” Lofty claim, I’d say. Or is it?
Art director: “Man on the right, I need more snarl.” Source: Pantone.
How to use it: You got me.
This is the point where the art director must have said, “Hell, we’ve shown aprons, and fabrics, ties, and nail polish. What else comes in this color? A fox mask? Of course!” Source: Pantone.
Benjamin Moore’s pick: On the other hand, I offer you Benjamin Moore’s crowned 2015 Color of the Year, Guilford Green (HC-116). I’ve never been one to gravitate towards green, but this neutral, silvery interpretation has me reconsidering. With undertones of yellow and grey, it would pair well with cream, white, and dark stained woods. I can imagine it used in a serene dining room, or as the color of kitchen cabinets offering an unexpected respite from the preponderance of white or grey.
Applause! Source: Benjamin Moore.
Source: Benjamin Moore.
Sherwin-Williams’ Selection: Far, far away on the color spectrum from BM’s soft, subtle green is Sherwin-Williams’ Color of the Year for 2015, Coral Reef (SW 6606). Called upbeat, and the perfect melange of pink, orange and red (by guess who? SW), they suggest this color for an accent wall, a piece of furniture or your front door. All I have to say is, yikes, somebody warn the neighbors! Perhaps it would be cheery for a kid’s room, but, even at that, I imagine a year from now your eyes would be buzzing from it and it would be time to buy a new color and start over. Of course, these companies are no fools. I’m sure that is exactly the outcome they predicted.
It this color doesn’t scare you, surely the tarantula-esque photo mobile will. Source: Sherwin-Willams.
What about you? Do you have plans to use any of the 2015 Colors of the Year in your decor?
Note: This post has been adapted from my column, Design Intervention, which runs every other Saturday in the Santa Barbara News-Press.