If you think Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report for the next installment of New York Fashion Week is purely trend-driven, think again.
Diversity, Barbiecore, the pandemic shutdown, intergalactic imagery, and our deeper connection to nature all played a role. In breaking down the top 10 color palette and the five Core Classics, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained the utility and implications of the selection.
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One of the lasting effects of the pandemic has been a slower pace in fashion trends, in part because people have become less accustomed to shopping and more closeted, Eiseman said. Priorities have changed and equality is a factor. “But that does not mean that there is no room for innovation. That’s what attracts the human eye. This doesn’t mean trends will ever go away,” she said.
However, many shoppers are increasingly inclined to combine new finds with something they already have. “The other practical aspect for a lot of people is, ‘What’s it going to cost?’ If they have something that is practically good, they just want to improve it and make it more fun,” says Eiseman. “There is definitely less about following fashion rules and being more creative.”
None of this is to say the fall 2024 palette isn’t “exciting,” Eiseman cautioned. “It’s always about how you can combine them.”
Some of the top 10 may seem austere compared to the vibrant colors that have been all over social media and on some runways in recent seasons. Is this a response to Barbiecore? Eiseman thinks so, explaining that there is now a return to colors that are inherently rich and warm with a sense of elegance. “In my classes I call it ‘homeostasis’. It brings balance to your colors and the seasons. If the season before was unusually bright and you open your closet, you may think you need something to soften everything. We don’t often put that into words, but we feel it instinctively.”
Another subliminal factor influencing fall color preferences may be the intergalactic images seen with the James Webb Space Telescope. Following on from that is “Moonstruck,” a shadowy, mysterious gray “lurking in the atmosphere that just looks beautiful with any color you put next to it,” Eiseman said. Ditto for Italian plum, red-orange and winter sky.
Besides images from space, there are other determining factors that shift the winds in the art world, and socio-economic forces are always a consideration, as well as “just in general what’s happening in the world around us. And we keep our ears and eyes open to the spirit of the consumer. Part of what we do in forecasting is thinking about the question, “What brings us to this point?” And we also try to look into the psyche of the designers. When we see their collections, we wonder what they might have had in mind when choosing colors,” says Eiseman. “It is clear that we cannot think for them. But many creative people, especially in design, have this second sense.”
On another level, having two versions of brown – Raw Umber and Buckthorn Brown – signals the ongoing discussion about diversity. “That is certainly an undertone. It may not be expressed in so many words. There is so much more appreciation for the variations of tan tones and brown skins. We certainly see that in the cosmetics industry, and in the fashion industry. That has affected so many other areas like advertising. Now your eyes are open to all variations of brown. We see so many more variations: in print, online, in fashion, art, product design and anywhere else where color is used,” says Eiseman. “I think diversity has a lot to do with that.”
New York Fashion Week Fall 2024 Color Palette
Tomato cream 16-1348: The name alone is familiar and savory to many outside of the can-loving Campbell Soup chefs, but this shade has a toasty, nourishing undertone. John Galliano’s Maison Margiela served Tomato Cream in sheer styles, and Christian Siriano hinted at it in an inspiration sketch for fall 2024. Compared to all the other colors, this warm shade is “the most suitable for fall, because you feel like showing yourself to wrap it in,” Eiseman said.
Scarlet Smile 19-1558: Paging Taylor Swift: Scarlet Smile sounds like it was tailor-made for the megastar, whose signature red lipstick is so bold as she cheers on the Kansas City Chiefs and her boyfriend Travis Kelce. Determining the exact shade has become a science in itself, with Mac’s Ruby Woo and Nars’ Velvet Matte in Dragon Girl part of the Grammy winner’s makeup arsenal. Another huge Chief fan, Brittany Mahomes, wore a Scarlet Smile bikini for Sports Illustrated’s 60th anniversary swimsuit issue. “If you’ve been practical and stuck with what you’ve got, psychologically there’s nothing better than red to give you that adrenaline rush. It is the first color that many people think of when they add something to their wardrobe,” says Eiseman.
Golden Palm 17-0839 TCX: The eco-inspired Golden Palm, like a tree in the forest, transitions into green in the color report, be it Aventurine or the deeper Fern. The earthy Golden Palm is not a dull yellow-green, but has a warmth that makes it somewhat familiar. Designer Adam Lippes showed up at the Veronica Beard party in Los Angeles this week in a Golden Palm-trimmed ensemble.
Aventurine 19-5421: Somewhere in the neighborhood of teal and turquoise, Aventurine is a mineral-based note that delivers richness. It compliments roasted notes and the red tones on the selection.
Red Orange 17-1464: Straddling the line between red and orange, this vibrant hue is an indication that red radiates more warmth than coolness. NFL fans might argue that Red Orange is more central to the Kansas City Chiefs uniforms and there are millions of them making that argument during Super Bowl LVIII, two days away in Las Vegas. And there are more Chiefs fans than ever, as the team’s social media base grew nearly 7 percent to 550,000 in October.
Fern 16-0430: As greens have become more routine in the fashion color wheelhouse, they’ve reached a neutral status because they can be paired with just about anything. This leafy green “works so well with half the colors in the palette,” Eiseman said.
Italian Plum 19-2514: As inviting as this name may be, Italian Plum may not strike you as neutral at first glance. But this dark purple offers versatility, just as eggplant and deep grape do, when paired with other shades, Eiseman said.
Moonstruck 14-4500: Shadow Gray has enough presence to be in the top 10 instead of being grouped with the Core Classics as a sign of the staying power of grays. AZ Factory and Zuhair Murad incorporated Moonstruck into their couture collections, and Remain used it for eveningwear during Copenhagen Fashion Week.
Wintersky 14-4307: While a cooling blue hue is a surprise for fall, Winter Sky offers “a clarification,” as does the next in line, Lucent White. Both notes balance the top 10 with simplicity.
Lucent white 11-0700: The prominence of this pure, “brightening” white doesn’t mean creamy whites are going away, Eiseman said. A shirt in Lucent White is a key piece in the relaunched Donna Karan New York collection. “What happens is there is an overabundance of white people, which sounds strange to say.” As for whether the emphasis on clarification signals the idea that everything is erasable or can be deleted, Eiseman added: “That’s exactly right.”
New York Fashion Week Fall 2024 New classics
White Swan 12-000: Soft and fluffy, White Swan, as the second white in the selection, also indicates the need for further clarification. But it is warmer than Lucent White and, according to Eiseman, directs the shadow in a different direction. Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus of Boygenius collected their Grammys last weekend, wearing Thom Browne suits in White Swan. Zendaya and Bad Bunny have also jumped on the trend for major photo ops.
Raw Umber 17-1422: This grounded brown is associated with the earth, and designers are using more brown shades than ever. Dapper Dan added a touch of Raw Umber to his just-released collaboration line with Gap.
Dark gull gray 18-0403: Solid, dense and offsetting cooler tones, Dark Dull Gray provides a solid base, just like Raw Umber does. It also translates well for the evening, as proven this week by Tory Burch in Los Angeles.
Baritone Blue 19-3812: This dark blue is one that Pantone has developed in recent years and it hits just the right note. Blues are subjective for many shoppers. The same could be said about designers including Dennis Basso for Fall 2024. The mention of “navy blue” makes most people think of varying degrees of dark blue, but Baritone Blue doesn’t make people think, “Oh, that’s just another navy blue.” or deep color. blue,” Eiseman said.
Buckhorn Brown 18-0935: As unusual as it is to have two shades of brown among the list of five core colors, the Pantone team felt that “browns were so important.” As the name suggests, Buckhorn Brown exudes a Western vibe – another fashion trend – and one that Ralph Lauren first put together decades ago. Eiseman concluded a prediction about the interior, saying: “That whole Western atmosphere has become so strong that I call it a cowboy classic.” To that point, she highlighted how Beyoncé wore a white Stetson hat when she performed at the Grammys last weekend, she added.
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