Some Thoughts on Fashion Week, Plus Color Forecasting

Color Therapy

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I’ve written before about the autocratic, pyramid-shaped, top-down influences of high fashion on much of the rest of merchandising. For example, two years ago we saw a neon palette on the runways, a few months later fashion editors were wearing those same colors, and last summer we saw neon sneakers, windbreakers and bicycle tires everywhere.

Now we’re seeing neon trickle into the slower moving elements of design like paint companies, with Farrow & Ball just releasing their latest color palette, which includes bright yellow, pink and blue — slightly off their center, in my mind, but they’ve been influenced none the less. As I follow the fashion pages, plus a few art, design and trade magazines, I notice a few trends emerging. Here’s what I think we can expect in the coming six months.

  • Violet, and its variations of mauve and magenta.
  • Coral, Blush, and what I call Ace Bandage.
  • Teal. Enough said.
  • Retro 80s, and especially that color triad of Magenta, Teal and Yellow (see above).
  • Bold patterns galore. Last year’s chevron summer is giving way to graphic patterns of everything, and one senses a computer-generated hand to the design.
  • Flowers everywhere, even on men.

One interesting item I note from Artforum is that the iPhone has become the great disseminator of information in the art world, and influences how work is bought, sold, photographed and marketed. Apparently, we’re back to buying things that are easily represented on a cell phone screen (paintings and sculpture, not installations or video art) — the populace passes this information amongst themselves and to some extent sidesteps the critics, and the things best represented in that platform come in a palette of greys and saturated pastels. And this dovetails with the fashion palette I’ve mentioned above. Take that, you pundits.

Let’s keep our ears to the ground, and see how much of this pans out in 2014. And take your cell phones with you.

See also: New York Times Runway Collections.

(Photo illustration: Mark Chamberlain)