The Pantone Colour Institute has spoken and declared a pinkish-orange hue to supersede Ultra Violet, the regal purple, as the Colour of the Year. Dubbed as Living Coral, the shade—described by Pantone as “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge”—is reminiscent of reefs of the deep blue that reflects the natural vibrant hues of the precious marine organisms.
Pantone rationalised their choice, citing the rising environmental concerns in 2018—notably the widespread bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef—as a contributing factor that spurred the decision. National Geographic reported in August that half of the Reef was bleached to death since 2016, due to climate change and rising water temperatures. As grim as the current outlook may be, the mellow and playful shade—although a poignant reminder of the reefs down under—aspires to “embrace [people] with warmth and nourishment”.
Drawing similarities to the symbiotic relationship of corals and the marine life in the biome, the colour seeks to provide visual comfort and buoyancy in an ever-shifting environment. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, hopes that the harmonising and convivial quality of Living Coral would hit a responsive chord with the people of today who thrive on human interaction and social connection.
Following the footsteps of millennial pink, or Rose Quartz (2016's Colour of the Year), variations of salmon-peach tones have already made appearances on the runway for the spring/summer season. Labels like Alexander McQueen, MGSM, Loewe and Acne Studios, sent their models down the spring/summer 2019 runway in pieces imbued with pops of hi-vis and almost neon-like colours that reside in between saccharine apricot and bubblegum pink.
Given the exploding popularity of pastels amongst Generation Y, Living Coral might well be the next universal IT colour, even as we inch into the fall/winter shows—traditionally employing a bolder and deeper colour story—happening in January next year.
While the buzz about Living Coral is still relatively undecided, one thing’s for sure. We are (finally) done with millennial pink.