Some people are seeing red over 2016’s Pantone Colour Colours Of The Year. Yes, colours. Plural.

For the first time since Year 2000, the authority on colour has crowned not one but two winners: Rose Quartz (a gentle pastel pink) and Serenity (a soothing shade of blue). And not since 2006 (Sand Dollar snared the title) have they anointed anything this soft.

“Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and a cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness, as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute, on Pantone’s website.

But it’s really the other reason that has got the internet buzzing (and rolling eyes): Gender equality.

“In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted colour trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to colour is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.”

Hmm… Well, here are a few responses to Pantone’s pick:

Vanity Fair says: “So: dye one arm pale pink and the other pale blue; procure two differently coloured contact lenses; live one day radiating warmth surrounded by friends and the next coolly blowing off your pals for some chill alone time—it’s a new year.” (Peace, VF, peace.)

ABC News: “Chanel put the two together in its haute couture collection for Fall 2015. Prada did the same for Spring/Summer, as did Fendi. Thom Browne put the colour merge front and center for his 2016 resort collection for women, while Richard James and Roberto Cavalli used the two together for men on Spring 2016 runways.” (In other words, erm, what’s new?)

Wired: “The interesting thing about all of this is that, not too long ago, the gender connotations of these two colours were inverted… It would’ve been just as effective (if not quite as provocative) for Pantone to promote the same message with a totally neutral colour. Seafoam green, perhaps? After all, it’s totally possible to support a cause without reinforcing gender stereotypes.” (Fair point.)

But hey, let’s chill, guys. Be serene. You have to admit they are very pretty colours, and say what you will now, Rose Quartz and Serenity are going to pop up all over your homes and wardrobes even before 2016 arrives. Besides, if we’re being honest, we’re just happy to say tata to Marsala!


Photos: Via Pantone & Vogue

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