Happy orchid new year

Agate ornaments in radiant orchid. On walls, radiant orchid is electric, and in pillows, vases, and rugs, it brightens up olives and hunter greens.
Agate ornaments in radiant orchid. On walls, radiant orchid is electric, and in pillows, vases, and rugs, it brightens up olives and hunter greens. (West Elm)
Posted: December 07, 2013

It's the shade of sweet pea, flushed ebony cheeks, or the deep pink swirl in a psychedelic pattern.

However you describe the hue, the world's leading color experts have labeled "radiant orchid" the 2014 color of the year. Time to step aside, last year's emerald green.

"Emerald served as a symbol of growth, renewal, and prosperity," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Radiant orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark imagination."

It's another color that connects us with nature: The hue tickles our senses like the scent of poppies in a breezy field. Eiseman describes the pinky purple shade as an "invitation to innovation.

"An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple, and pink undertones, radiant orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love, and health."

It's as though the color folks were trying to subliminally remind us to switch our focus from the joy of spending to the joy of creating.

That said, color experts project the warm purple is just what our personal surroundings need. On walls, radiant orchid is electric, and on pillows, vases, and rugs, it brightens up olives and hunter greens. It's equally poppy with oranges, limey greens, and turquoise (2012, 2011, and 2010 colors of the year, respectively). Every year, Pantone polls home decor and fashion insiders about what colors they're using on products in the pipeline.

No guessing games required: Pantone has teamed with X-Rite and Valspar Paint to make the shade available for folks craving the color for their interiors.

Fashionably speaking, radiant orchid is both vintage-inspired and modern, as it works well with saturated greens and blues and is sophisticated with blacks and grays.

Radiant orchid was a staple on September runways in spring 2014 collections as designers from Diane von Furstenberg to Yoana Baraschi incorporated it in women's clothing.

But be careful: In a print by Philadelphia Project Runway winner Dom Streater, radiant orchid is of the moment. Add a bit too much purple, and it dangerously veers into lame, 1980s bridesmaid's dress territory.

Speaking of weddings, those in both the local paper goods and floral businesses report an uptick in bridal accessories with radiant orchid.

"Brides are coming in wanting lots of touches of purple," said Carolyn Brandhorst, owner of the Papery, who noted the color appeals to women who like classic bridal pink as well as to those who don't.

"Most people do touches of it: a ribbon, or in little jewels or their name - anything that pops out."

Customers' renewed interest in menswear also could be a reason radiant orchid won out; the color celebrates the softer side of men without being too feminine.

This year, we saw a bunch of gingham checks in the shade. And, said Craig Von Schroeder, founder and owner of bespoke menswear company Commonwealth Proper, the color is often incorporated into ties and trims.

The best part about the haute hue is that it also works on lips and eyes.

"The rosy undertones make the skin look alive," said Sharon Pichoto, a makeup artist at Suede Salon & Spa in Marlton. "Anything with pink in it makes the person look younger."

Ursula Augustine, owner of Ursula's About Phace in Rittenhouse Square, has five versions of what she calls radiant orchid - from lavender to a pink hue - in her spring 2014 lip and eye palette.

"My customers have been wearing it in Chanel plaids and Coach gloves," Augustine said. "It's everywhere now."


ewellington@phillynews.com

215-854-2704

@ewellingtonphl

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