Inspired by consumers’ continued search for reassurance and stability, fashion designers seek to answer a common call for calm through a Fall 2016 color palette that captures strength and dependability while remaining uplifting, complex and sophisticated. Satisfying a universal desire for tranquility, strength and optimism, as demonstrated by the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016, color directions continue to evolve toward an antidote to modern stresses for both designers and wearers.
For Fall 2016, designers were inspired by fine art – particularly abstract art, landscapes and graphic geometrics – yielding a 10-color palette that is led by the Blue family, conveying a message of calm and constancy. Along with anchoring earth tones, exuberant pops of vibrant colors also appear throughout, representing this season’s take on graphical elements and geometric shapes across the collections. Some designers are using clean lines and shapes against more fluid, abstract patterns for fall, while others have done the reverse. Both of these trends can be likened to the unexpectedly vivacious colors in the Fall 2016 palette, which act as playful but structured departures from the more typical fall shades.
- Rebecca Minkoff, Theo Fennell, Luca Carati
The Blue family leads the Fall 2016 collections in the form of Riverside, a cool and calming hue with a subtle sophistication, and Airy Blue, a nod to one half of the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016, Serenity, that evokes a feeling of weightlessness.
- Meissen, Fabergé, Yoana Baraschi
The complement of strong and light Blues at the forefront of designers’ work gives wearers a much-desired feeling of repose as an independent pairing, or suggests freshness when combined with hues Lush Meadow, Taupe or Dusty Cedar.
- QUINN, Eberhard, Victor Mayer
Another anchor to the collections this fall is Sharkskin, which serves as a neutral with an edge. Pair-able with almost any fall color whether bright or muted, Sharkskin is a color that the rest of the palette can literally and theoretically rest on. While several Grays have come through the fall collections, this particular shade showcases practicality through a dependable but contemporary lens.
- John Hardy, Christophe Claret, Bibhu Mohapatra
In contrast to the stability that serves as the backbone of the Fall 2016 palette, Aurora Red adds a welcome punch. A bold Red that is warm and sensual, Aurora Red gets the metaphorical blood of the palette and the collections pumping, in a way that breeds unmistakable confidence.
- Iris von Arnim, Jye, Belle Etoile.
Also conveying warmth, but more mildly, is Warm Taupe, a hearty, grounded and approachable neutral that harkens back to our search for reassurance and stability, and pairs well with each of the top 10 shades of the Fall 2016 season.
- Pomellato, Daniel Vior, Rachel Pally
A fall and winter version of the Pinks we’re used to seeing in spring, Dusty Cedar is a dustier rose-toned Pink shade with some complexity that nods to the other half of the Pantone Color of the Year 2016, Rose Quartz.
- Tadashi Shoji , Giovanni Ferraris, Andreoli
Lush Meadow, as its name suggests, brings to mind fresh botanicals and foliage. Rich and elegant, vibrant and sophisticated, this Green shade displays a brightness, panache and depth of color that elevates the overall elegance woven through this season’s collections.
- Kattri, Roberto Coin, Charles & Ron
In a shift from previous seasons, the spicier, zestier Yellows we are seeing for Fall 2016 are exemplified through Spicy Mustard, an unexpected and unusual but welcome addition. Bouncing elegantly off other colors in the palette and adding another splash of uplifting vibrancy, Spicy Mustard is an exotic addition that comes through in both the abstract and the more defined geometric accents designers have employed this season.
- Kung Katherine, Weinbeck, Andrew Geoghegan
Another neutral earth tone, Potter’s Clay takes the palette back to what we might expect for fall and winter fashions, but like Spicy Mustard, Potter’s Clay has an added degree of sophistication and inherent layering. This warm orange-toned shade has emerged as another strong foundation for the fall palette.
- Etho Maria, de Grisogono, Rubin Singer
Lending itself to fabulously interesting and vibrant color combinations, Bodacious speaks to the gender fluidity we’ve come to see with designers’ use of color. Surprising for the fall palette, this versatile Purple shade can be used monochromatically with colors in the Pink and Red family, or just as easily with Spicy Mustard or Potter’s Clay. The bright, rich Purple, with its hints of a more sophisticated Pink, transforms fashion accents into fashion statements.
The colors featured in the semiannual PANTONE Fashion Color Report are culled from the PANTONE FASHION, HOME + INTERIORS Color System, the most widely used and recognized color standards system for fashion, textile, home and interior design. In August 2015, PANTONE released 210 new colors to the system, the first time the company has added colors to its collection since 2011, bringing the total to 2,310 colors available in cotton swatch cards. The PANTONE Fall 2016 Fashion Color Report features several colors from the new additions. Each season, Pantone surveys fashion designers who will be showing collections at New York Fashion Week and other global shows to collect their feedback on prominent collection colors, color inspiration and color philosophy. This information is used to help create the PANTONE Fashion Color Report, which serves as a reference tool throughout the season for fashion enthusiasts, reporters and retailers.