So Long Barbiecore, Hello Practicality

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 came into play. Dissecting the top 10 color palette and the five Core Classics, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained the roster’s practicality and implications.

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One of the pandemic’s lasting effects has been a slower pace in fashion trends, due partially to people growing accustomed to shopping less and dipping into their closets more, according to Eiseman. Priorities have changed and sameness are factors. “But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for newness. That’s what attracts the human eye. This doesn’t mean that trends are ever going to go away,” she said.

However, many shoppers are increasingly inclined to mix in new finds with something that they already have. “The other practical aspect for a lot of people is, ‘What’s it going to cost?’ If they have something that’s practically good, they just want to enhance it and make it more fun,” Eiseman said. “There’s definitely less following fashion’s rulebook and being more creative.”

All of this is not to say that the fall 2024 palette is “unexciting,” Eiseman cautioned. “It’s always about how you can combine them.”

Some of the top 10 might seem sober compared to the vibrant colors that have been splashed all over social media and on some runways in recent seasons. Is this a response to Barbiecore? Eiseman thinks so, explaining 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’s bringing a balance to your colors and to the seasons. If the season before was unusually bright and you open your closet, you might think you need something to tone everything down. We don’t often relay that in words, but we feel it instinctively.”

Another subliminal factor impacting fall color preferences could be the intergalactic images that we have seen from the James Webb Space Telescope. In line with that is “Moonstruck,” a shadowy, mysterious gray “that lurks out there in the atmosphere that just looks wonderful with every color that you put next to it,” Eiseman said. Ditto for Italian Plum, Red Orange and Winter Sky.

Along with outer-space imagery, other determinants are changing winds in the world of art, and socioeconomic forces are always a consideration, as well as “just generally what’s happening in the world around us. And we keep our ears and eyes open to the zeitgeist of the consumer. Part of what we do in forecasting is considering, ‘What brings us to this point?’ And we try to look into the designers’ psyche, too. When we see their collections, we wonder what they may have had on their minds choosing colors,” Eiseman said. “Obviously, we can’t think for them. But many creative people, particularly in the design field have this second sense.”

On another level, having two versions of brown — Raw Umber and Buckthorn Brown — hints at the ongoing discussion about diversity. “That is definitely an undertone. It may not be expressed in so many words. There is so much more appreciation of the variations of the brown tones and brown skins. We see that certainly in the cosmetics industry, and in the fashion industry. That’s influenced so many other areas like advertising. Now your eyes are open to all the variations of brown. We’re seeing so many more variations: in print, online, in fashion, art, product design and wherever else there is an application of color,” Eiseman said. “I think diversity has an awful lot to do with that.”

New York Fashion Week Fall 2024 Color Palette

Tomato Cream 16-1348: The name alone is familiar and savory for many beyond the Campbell Soup can-loving cooks, but this shade has a toasty, nourishing undertone. John Galliano’s Maison Margiela served up Tomato Cream in sheer styles, and Christian Siriano hinted at it in a fall 2024 inspiration sketch. Compared to all of the other colors, this warm shade is “uppermost for fall, because it makes you want to wrap yourself in it,” Eiseman said.

Scarlet Smile 19-1558Scarlet Smile 19-1558

Scarlet Smile 19-1558

Scarlet Smile 19-1558: Paging Taylor Swift: Scarlet Smile sounds like it is custom made for the megastar, whose signature red lipstick is bold as can be when cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs and her boyfriend Travis Kelce. Determining the exact shade has become a science unto itself with Mac’s Ruby Woo and Nars’ Velvet Matte in Dragon Girl being part of the Grammy winner’s makeup arsenal. Another major Chief fans, Brittany Mahomes, sported a Scarlet Smile bikini for Sports Illustrated’s 60th-anniversary swimsuit issue. “If you have been practical and holding onto what you have, psychologically there’s nothing like red to give you that shot of adrenalin. It’s the first color that many people think of when they add something to the wardrobe,” Eiseman said.

Golden Palm 17-0839Golden Palm 17-0839

Golden Palm 17-0839

Golden Palm 17-0839 TCX: The eco-inspired Golden Palm blends like a tree in the forest to the greenery in the color report, whether that be Aventurine or the deeper Fern. Not a dull yellow green, the earthy Golden Palm has a warmth that makes it faintly familiar. Designer Adam Lippes turned up at this week’s Veronica Beard party in Los Angeles in Golden Palm-trimmed ensemble.

Aventurine 19-5421Aventurine 19-5421

Aventurine 19-5421

Aventurine 19-5421: Somewhere in the vicinity of teal and turquoise, Aventurine is a mineral-based tone that delivers richness. It compliments toasty tones and the reds on the roster.

Red Orange 17-1464Red Orange 17-1464

Red Orange 17-1464

Red Orange 17-1464: On the cusp of red and orange, this vibrant shade is an indication of how more of the reds signal 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 to make that argument with the Super Bowl LVIII two days away in Las Vegas. And there are more Chiefs fans than ever, considering the team’s social media base had grown by nearly 7 percent with 550,000 by October.

Fern 16-0430Fern 16-0430

Fern 16-0430

Fern 16-0430: As greens have grown to be more routine in the fashion color wheelhouse, they have reached neutral status, as in they pretty much work with anything. This leafy green “works so well with half the colors in the palette,” Eiseman said.

Italian Plum 19-2514Italian Plum 19-2514

Italian Plum 19-2514

Italian Plum 19-2514: However inviting this name might be, Italian Plum at first glance might not stand out as a neutral. But this dark purple delivers versatility just as aubergine and deep grape do, when combined with other hues, Eiseman said.

Moonstruck 14-4500Moonstruck 14-4500

Moonstruck 14-4500

Moonstruck 14-4500: Shadowy gray has enough presence to be in the top 10 instead of grouped with the Core Classics as a sign of the lasting power of grays. AZ Factory and Zuhair Murad infused Moonstruck into their couture collections, and Remain used it for eveningwear at Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Winter Sky 14-4307Winter Sky 14-4307

Winter Sky 14-4307

Winter Sky 14-4307: Although a cooling blue hue is a surprise for fall, Winter Sky offers “a clarification,” as does the next in line, Lucent White. Both tones balance out the top 10 with simplicity.

Lucent White 11-0700Lucent White 11-0700

Lucent White 11-0700

Lucent White 11-0700: The prominence of this pure, “clarifying” white does not mean that 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’s happening is there is a plethora of whites, which sounds strange to say.” As for whether the emphasis of clarification hints at 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 12-0000White_Swan 12-0000

White Swan 12-0000

White Swan 12-000: Soft and downy, White Swan also signals that need for further clarification as the second white in the selection. But it is warmer than Lucent White and takes the shade in another direction, according to Eiseman. Boygenius’ Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus collected their Grammys last weekend, wearing Thom Browne suits in White Swan. Zendaya and Bad Bunny got a jump on the trend, too, for key photo ops.

Raw Umber 17-1422Raw Umber 17-1422

Raw Umber 17-1422

Raw Umber 17-1422: This grounded brown is associated with the Earth, and designers are using more browns than ever. Dapper Dan added touches of Raw Umber to his just-released collaborative line with Gap.

Dark Gull Gray 18-0403Dark Gull Gray 18-0403

Dark Gull Gray 18-0403

Dark Gull Gray 18-0403: Solid, dense and offsetting of cooler shades, Dark Dull Gray provides a solid base just as Raw Umber does. It also translates well for evening, as proven by Tory Burch in Los Angeles this week.

Baritone Blue 19-3812Baritone Blue 19-3812

Baritone Blue 19-3812

Baritone Blue 19-3812: This dark blue is one that Pantone developed in the last few years and it strikes just the right note. Blues tend to be subjective with many shoppers. The same might be said in regard to designers including Dennis Basso for fall 2024. Mention of “navy” makes most people conjure up different degrees of dark blue, but Baritone Blue does not make people think, ‘Oh, that’s just another navy or deep blue,’” Eiseman said.

Buckhorn Brown 18-0935Buckhorn Brown 18-0935

Buckhorn Brown 18-0935

Buckhorn Brown 18-0935: However unusual it is to have two browns amidst the list-of-five core colors, the Pantone team felt that “browns were so important.” As the name suggests, Buckhorn Brown conveys a western vibe — another fashion trend — and one that Ralph Lauren first corralled decades ago. Wrapping up a home interiors forecast, Eiseman said, “That whole western vibe has become so strong that I call it a cowboy classic.” To that point, she highlighted how Beyoncé wore a white Stetson hat to perform at last weekend’s Grammys, she added.

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