Purple Haze - great news for colour lovers!

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November 2019 News


The Pantone Colour Institute has announced their colour of 2018 - Ultra Violet - Pantone 18 – 3838. Their choice is based on research into worldwide colour trends plus their unfailingly accurate predictions. Unlike 2017’s Greenery, a sharp yellow green, problematic for cool based skin tones, this colour works for every Colour season, being close to purples, lobelia, violet and plums. It shone in the Spring/Summer 2018 collections and a quick check on London’s Oxford and Regent Streets shows it to be already available. I can find few examples of it in December or January UK Vogue so let’s get ahead of the trend as it will soon be everywhere in fashion and design.

Purple has a vivid history. As early as the fifteenth century BC a dye was produced by the Phoenicians in Tyre (now Lebanon) from a rare Mediterranean shellfish. Each shell gave only a tiny garlic-scented drop so 250,000 shells were needed for one ounce of Tyrian Purple. In the Roman and Byzantine Empires only the nobility or the Emperor had the right to wear it. By the fourth century BC its labour- intensive production and rarity meant this dyed cloth was as valuable as silver and later even gold, consequently contributing to the colour’s long association with power and prestige.

Luckily for us in 1856 the chemist William Perkin stumbled upon a similar colour in his London laboratory. This was Mauveine the first synthetic pigment. It rapidly became fashionable.  Later in that century the Impressionists were derided for their love of the related colour violet and the Victorians used sombre purple to follow black as half mourning clothes. The suffragettes chose violet to represent dignity, later referenced by the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s purple was linked to counter culture and psychedelia, memorably in Jimmy Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The respect surrounding purple has made it a choice for religious vestments or as a top award for bravery, the Purple Heart in the American military. Pantone 2685C has wrapped Cadburys milk chocolate since 1914 and the colour was felt to be so important that they brought then finally lost in 2013 a court case for sole use.  More recently in August 2017 Pantone produced Love symbol #2 as a tribute to Prince referencing Purple Rain and his love of purple.

On December 7 Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of Pantone made the impatiently awaited announcement. The colour was described as communicating ingenuity and visionary thinking that propels us towards the future

But what you really want to know is how to wear it in 2018!

A good place to start is with the ubiquitous velvet. A purple dress or statement top give the ultimate luxurious party look. Glamorous wide trousers or unstructured boyfriend jackets work well for the tall while petites might prefer more structured velvet. The Queen looked suitably regal and bang on trend in a vibrant purple wool coat and hat the day after the Pantone announcement but if head to toe feels de trop how about a Dior inspired beret, cashmere scarf, gloves or shoes?

Our web shop gives purple opportunities in scarves, Cool Berry nail polish or Cool Lilac lipgloss. To create the current bold eye makeup looks try our Violet and Regal Plum eye pencils, Royal Purple, Muted Mauve or Ice Lavender eye shadows in Winter and Summer.

If you are a Winter or Summer it’s so easy!  But I urge Springs and Autumns to revisit your versions. I am a Soft Autumn and love using royal purple to add variety. I wear it as leather gloves, a textured handbag, structured cardigan, suede shoes, a bangle for a splash of colour or mixed with gold and kingfisher in a scarf. Springs look out for your Violet which has a warm tone to it and will look great as a scarf, top or accessories.

But that’s enough of my purple prose, it’s time to get on trend.  Please don’t waste time and wait until you are old. Cheer up the Winter months by getting ‘into the purple’ right now.

Guest blog by Fiona Ingham consultant for Borough of Camden/Chalk Farm/Hampstead - 020 77221984- visit Fiona's web page for more information