Pantone Colour of the Year 2021: ‘Illuminating Yellow’ and ‘Ultimate Gray’

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December, 2020 Announcement Colour Analysis Press release  


Will You Wear the Pantone Colours of 2021?

Since early in the 20th century various forecasting agencies have predicted colour trends. In 2000 the American company, Pantone Color Institute, decided to choose

 a Colour for each year. They research film, travel, design, technology, sport, art, fashion to name but a few! Global trends and public mood are put into the mix to find a hue expressive of the times. The choice is a reaction but also a predictor. What is certain is that the chosen one will become ubiquitous in 2021 fashion and design.

For only the second time two colours have been honoured. They are Illuminating – a zingy yellow and Ultimate Gray a mid grey.

Announcing the colour, Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of Pantone , evoked connotations of yellow sunlight,  joyfulness and optimism balanced by the rock like reassurance, reliability and strength of grey. She adds in a lighter reference to grey sweatpants, a WFH trend! This Colour duo has already graced catwalks, including Prada Spring/Summer 2021.

But what does this mean for our HoC seasons? It should bring tidings of comfort and joy to Springs and Autumns who can sparkle in their buttercup yellows. Hopefully, they can shop in their wardrobes.  As an Autumn I’m a yellow addict and am delighted to discover that the Uniqlo cashmere turtleneck on my Christmas list is bang on trend! It will sparkle with my metallic faux leather bronze midi skirt for relaxed festive dressing. If Santa remembers to bring it!

Winters, do check your colour rating. Illuminating is near your acid yellow but a nod to it in a pattern, trim or accessory may suffice. This vibrant yellow is not for Summers. Try a dash of a softer hue, more buttermilk than buttercup.

Ultimate Gray,  I hear whoops of delight at this choice! This neutral, undemanding mid grey works for all except Autumns. My warning is that although it may symbolise the afore mentioned reliability, when worn on its own or with other neutrals it just might invoke dreary, depressing days. We’ve had enough of those! It’s a great neutral for investment pieces but please brighten it up! Autumn’s grey has a yellow tinge so if there is an urge to paint the town, well, greyish, check out the Dulux Colour of 2021, Brave Ground, an equivalent neutral located between a warm grey and khaki.

A blusher and strong lipstick enhance all neutrals. When masking and unmasking lip liner smudged over the lips works well.  Check out the on trend eyeshadows HoC Yellow 26Dark GreyFlat Mid GreyLizard Grey.

So, let’s say a fond farewell to Pantone’s Classic Blue of 2020. Its popularity was assured as blue is the favourite colour worldwide. Ultimate Gray will also have an easy ride. I urge Springs and Autumns to give a warm welcome to Illuminating. You will feel sunny, look good and definitely cheer up and illuminate the room. Or at least the Zoom.     

Blog written by Fiona Ingham, consultant for Borough of Camden/Chalk Farm/Hampstead
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