• Stella McCartney adopts Ultra Violet for one of her designs.
  • Pantone names “Ultra Violet” as colour of the year.

It’s the colour that counts

fashion December 28, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

4,838 Viewed

Will we all be wearing “Ultra Violet” in 2018?



COLOUR PLAYS an important role in our lives, often defining the mood we are in through the clothes we wear and making a statement about who we are – or at least aspire to be – in the hues we choose to decorate our personal space.

Leaders in home decoration choices Pantone last month named as the 2018 colour of the year ultraviolet, which it describes as a “dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade”. 

“Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to ultraviolet. The colour is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energises the communities that gather there and inspire connection,” Pantone’s trend-watching team enthused, adding, “enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of ultraviolet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality”. 

Pantone names “Ultra Violet” as colour of the year.

“The Pantone Colour of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Colour Institute.

A few fashion designers appear to agree, albeit not entirely. Stella McCartney, for example, showcased the shade in her collection for spring and summer 2018 but also included in her palette jewel blue, sugar cane and orchid haze. 

Looking ahead to what we should be wearing in 2018, the collection underlined the British designer’s commitment to “Skin-Free-Skin”, exploring classic tailoring and signature silhouettes through double breasted blazers and all in ones in black light wool and French moir made with sustainable viscose. Alter Nappa was cut into leopard patterns, appliqued onto sheer organza and allowed to float across the body in honey yellow, pale pink and black though here ultra violet failed to make the cut.

Stella McCartney adopts Ultra Violet for one of her designs.

Indeed, McCartney showed a definite preference for pecan and rosy nude, offering poplin dresses in organic cotton and deconstructed lightweight knitwear, with shadowing necklines and pairing the latter with Japanese jersey T-shirts in pure white. 

More intense colours also came into play through knitted dresses in two-tone pink and denim blue moulin with oversized sleeves and a range of separates in magenta, bubble gum pink and fuschia red. 

Coach opts for a boho look with pink and violet flowers.

American brand Coach meanwhile showed a definite preference for pink over ultra violet in its spring and summer 2018 collection, a downtown take on dressing up featuring rugged burnished leather and shearling, customised in an ode to graffiti artist Keith Haring’s New York City. 

Nostalgic prairie touches and pretty pastel slip dresses covered with the faint trace of Haring’s signature squiggles emphasised the pink mood, while bags boasted floral hardware and Haring’s signature love hearts, also with blush shades as the stars.

Mulberry nods towards purple with its new bags for spring-summer 2017.

Iconic luxury British brand and champion of heritage blended with modern style, Mulberry delighted with a limited-edition capsule collection that underlined new signature styles, colours and leathers.

Creative director Johnny Coca brought back some of the brand’s most iconic bag silhouettes embroidered with an interpretation of the delicate flower that fills every branch and bough of a Mulberry tree in blossom. Fair enough, but wait, aren’t mulberry blossoms pink?

The new equestrian-influenced Amberley Satchel and the iconic Zipped Bayswater became the perfect canvases for the embroidered motif, alongside the Darley, which was made available in three sizes – a large pouch, zipped wallet and coin purse. All created in classic grain leather, the collection also included soft printed lambswool scarves, a slip-on sneaker and delicately crafted jewellery pieces, as well as a keyring that doubles as a bag accessory to add a touch of Mulberry charm to styles already owned and loved.

Mulberry icons the Bayswater and the Darley, along with the new Amberley silhouette were given a playful colour update featuring – wait for it – muted gold, warm lilac, rosewater, blush and dark blush and fresh tonal hues of blue.

For its part, Italian fashion house MaxMara was inspired by the colours of the French Riviera for its Resort 2018 collection, designing a sensible but chic wardrobe of sleek no-nonsense styles in deep ocean blue, sand, grey, white and shell pink. 

Of course, many other brands have yet to launch their collections for spring and summer 2018 – those will most likely come next month. Will ultraviolet dominate the palette or will pink win the day?

MaxMara’s looks to the Riviera for its 2018 Resort collection. 

Pantone is betting on the former, saying on the runway or the streets, Ultra Violet is an enchanting purple that provides a theatrical linkage for both men’s and women’s styles. True to the coupled nature of ultraviolet, created by combining red and blue, ultraviolet lends itself to unique colour combinations in fashion and is easier to pair with all colours on the spectrum than one might think. With golds or other metallics, Ultra Violet becomes luxurious and dazzling; with greens or greys it evokes natural elegance.