Pantone’s ‘greenery': can it bring hope and colour to 2017?

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Pantone’s ‘greenery': can it bring hope and colour to 2017?” was written by Morwenna Ferrier, for The Guardian on Thursday 8th December 2016 15.13 UTC

Pantone, the Nate Silver of colour, has revealed its predicted shade for 2017. Given our inability to foresee how 2016 would pan out, making any prediction about 2017 feels dangerously dicey, even if it is only about a colour. Still, seeing as last year’s shade was in fact two – rose quartz and baby blue – which could have alluded to the division and confusion thrown up by the seismic events of the past 12 months, maybe we should take note.

The Waitrose logo
The Waitrose logo Photograph: Geoff Moore/REX/Shutterstock

Pantone puts its prediction down to the “hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape”, but fashion has long claimed greenery as its idea. Balenciaga put it on the catwalk, on Lotta Volkova, for SS17. Oscar de la Renta looked to the colour for its most recent collection, as did US Vogue, prophetically styling Ruth Negga in a greenery-printed Alexander Wang shirt in front of an off-greenery backdrop for the January cover. Curiously, Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner and Lena Dunham all recently dyed their hair this shade, too, and lest we forget, Skoda showed a bright green car at their 2017 launch. In the same vein then, 2017 could see canals having a crap time (it’s not far off duck-weed-green) and sushi have a second wind – greenery is akin to the colour wasabi. Ditto Nando’s (greenery is the colour of macho peas) and Evil Kermit, already frontrunner for meme of 2016. It’s also worth noting what happens to Waitrose and Matcha tea (middle classes, this could be your time to shine) and The Weeknd, who has a greenery light cast on his face in the video for Starboy.

Ruth Negga on the cover of US Vogue.
Ruth Negga on the cover of US Vogue. Photograph: Mario Testino/Vogue
A canal, covered in duck weed.
A canal, covered in duck weed. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

After a decade of going off-piste – see marsala and a shade of yellow marketed alongside the Despicable Me franchise – greenery is natural in comparison. It was among the colours adopted by the anti-war and civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s. If it is about hope and the environment and peace, then it is little more than an open goal in marketing. But – but – if those things do come to pass, if things do get better, remember what Pantone said, rather than Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.

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