ColorTherapy: Color Preview 2008

ColorTherapy: Color Preview 2008

Maxwell Ryan
Jan 8, 2008

It's that time of year again: trend-spotters everywhere are announcing the Hot New Colors for 2008. And every time one of these proclamations crosses my desk, I look askance. So this year, let's take a survey and chose our own hot colors at Apartment Therapy.

I may not be a leader, but I'm definitely not a follower and there's something I don't quite get: if a particular shade of something is deemed to be fashionable, are we all supposed to blindly chase after it like lemmings to the sea, redecorating every thing along the way?

According to a recent press release, Benjamin Moore has chosen Peacock Feathers, Split Pea and Gypsy Pink as its "Hot Colors" for 2008. The theme is "Returning Home," and although these colors are fairly bright and rich, they still feel retro.

Pantone has gone a slightly different direction and chosen Blue Iris for its "dependability and magic," and to my eye at least it too feels a bit old and mumsy. Each year industry analysts indicate color trends based on larger social concerns, such as ethnocentricity or the economy, and evidently this year we're collectively looking back.


Whatever I think of such trends, I will admit to noticing that these colors are in the ether. Several new restaurants have color schemes utilizing teal and hot pink, including FR.OG in Soho. The use of these colors here suggests the slightest hint of Eisenhower-era nostalgia, but they are very slyly updated. Same for Blue Iris—I just noticed it in the nightclub décor of Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows," from 1955. Cathy Horyn wrote recently of the trend towards purple-blue in haute couture, which reflects "thoughtfulness" and a concern for our home planet. Or perhaps we're simply trying to extricate ourselves from the Wasabi fetish of years past. Blue is the new green.

With this in mind, let's pick our own favorite colors and see if we can spot a trend from within. I'll offer alternatives to what's been mentioned, or you can suggest your own. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your color decks…


I love a peacock as much as the next guy, but when it comes to blue I like it to have a murky, underwater quality. If it's retro we're after, this one is so old it's Old World: Peacock Feathers, Renoir

I've used hot pink more than once, but if I had my druthers I like to dirty my colors up a bit, just to give them that bruised quality I love so much: Gypsy Pink, Raison Torte...

While digging through Apartment Therapy I just realized that I had previously written a column on Split Pea last year: ColorTherapy: He Says/She Says. Aren't I fashion forward? But what really turns my crank is Split Pea next to Raison Torte--color is contextual: Split Pea, Pale Avocado...

Now I'm back to underwater colors: Blue Iris, Reflecting Pool

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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