Exercise 1 The next big thing

An image of American actress and fashion designer Chloe Sevigny recently caught my attention.  She was wearing what was described as a 90’s style dress but in this season’s colour – a pale pink . The dress was well above the knee, reminding me that hemlines and heels go up and down in cycles.   Looking closer to home I found British designer Amanda Wakely had  a long pink dress on the catwalk this year.

amanda wakely pale pink 2016
In March The Guardian newspaper ran a feature on fashion, citing pink as the next big thing. I researched this to see who else was wearing this colour and was surprised to find it a popular choice with celebrities, the Royals as well as mere mortals at Royal Ascot this year.

charles and camilla royal ascot 2016 ( Getty Images)
Who decides what the colour of the year will be and how it will transform our lives? I was cynical about this, seeing it more as a powerful advertising ploy that big brand names use to seduce people into buying their products. My research for this exercise showed me a different picture and has given me more faith in my fellow humans as well as more insight into how The Next Big Thing might emerge.

Where I imagined a sort of slavish following of trends, it seems it might be the other way round. Now that it is possible to share information on an unimaginable scale, people like Pantone are able to do a close reading on what is evolving and emerging in different arenas, from what colour shoes  and what colour wedding cakes people are buying more of, to what the global mood is, and why. top-wedding-cake-trends-2016-620x414This information and trend –setting can then be mirrored back to specific audiences via the internet, film adverts, magazines and newspapers, as well as social media.

As a result of their information-gathering, the 2016 Pantone colour is actually two colours. The unusual decision to have two  colours seems like a great example of the divided state of our own country (UK), the pre –election extremes in the US, and the world at large. The need to bring two sides together whilst acknowledging their separateness. Pantone have also looked at the trend towards mindfulness that has been gradually rising and recently seen in an explosion of colouring books for adults to reduce stress.serenity  So the natural response to the fear and mayhem in the world for many people is to turn to those things that calm and comfort.

I see the two colours of the year, Rose Quartz (pink) and Serenity (blue) as soothing and somewhat hopeful. While I do not intend to re-paint my living room in either of these colours, mainly because I would then need to replace my red sofa , I am curious to see how these colours are expressed.
I looked up Apartment Therapy having had them tipped as one of the best interior blogging sites and saw a fine example of the use of this year’s colours.


pink and blue room on apartment therapy blof credit Lona Kennedypink and blue interior
Inspired by this I looked at journalist, Kate Watson-Smythe’s blog, Mad About the House. There I read that paint fashionistas Little Greene have created various new shades of pink for 2016 and the managing director David Motterhead is quoted as saying it is ”….massively on trend in fashion and interiors.”

Following the ideas discovered in my research, my prediction for colours for next year would be neutrals. This might be wishful thinking but if the next big thing was to have a more politically neutral response generally, we might move away from the fixed opinions and divisive attitudes that prevail  at this time. Perhaps there will be a move towards natural colours such as sand, hessian, forest green, ivory and  dove grey.

While I have not been particularly aware of trending influences in my own life, I am more interested having researched this topic and I look forward to seeing the Pantone colour for 2017. The concept of past, present and future trends interacting with each other is one to watch.


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