The fu­ture is ... pur­ple

The Hamilton Spectator - - STYLE - VANESSA FRIED­MAN

In these dark, chaotic times, it would not be un­re­al­is­tic for some­one, when asked what colour will rep­re­sent 2018, to look around and guess, say, black.

Or maybe deep, bloody bur­gundy. Wartime red? Fake-tan or­ange? At the very least, soot grey.

Any of them would seem­ingly match dif­fer­ent shades of the gen­eral mood.

And yet the self-pro­claimed “colour author­i­ties” at Pan­tone sent ap­prox­i­mately 10 peo­ple to blan­ket the globe for weeks at a time, search­ing for colour sig­nals in food, cars, cos­met­ics, clothes and house­wares. They re­con­vened, pooled their find­ings, did their anal­y­sis and de­clared the colour of 2018 to be ... Ul­tra Vi­o­let. Huh? Yup, the high­lighter-pur­ple shade that has also been the name of a Warhol su­per­star who died in 2014; a 2006 dystopian ac­tion film star­ring Milla Jovovich as a rebel in­fected with a vam­piric virus; an on­line ac­tivist com­mu­nity founded in 2012 to com­bat sex­ism and vi­o­lence toward women; and a kind of light that can cause skin cancer (ahem).

Those things may not be ex­actly what you think about when you think about what’s com­ing, but the his­tory does demon­strate that the idea has a broad reach. Ul­tra Vi­o­let can be many things to many peo­ple.

It “com­mu­ni­cates orig­i­nal­ity, in­ge­nu­ity and vi­sion­ary think­ing,” Leatrice Eise­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pan­tone Color In­sti­tute, said by way of ex­pla­na­tion.

It is found in the cos­mos (think of all those swirling pur­ple neb­u­lae!), the well­ness move­ment (amethyst crys­tals!) and was a favourite colour of ar­chi­tect Frank Lloyd Wright, who, Eise­man said, used to wear a pur­ple cape when he was try­ing to be cre­ative. Ditto Wag­ner, who liked to sur­round him­self with pur­ple when he was com­pos­ing. Also, of course, Prince.

“It’s also the most com­plex of all colours,” she said, “be­cause it takes two shades that are seem­ingly di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed — blue and red — and brings them to­gether to cre­ate some­thing new.”

“It’s truly a re­flec­tion of what’s needed in our world to­day,” said Laurie Press­man, vice pres­i­dent of the Pan­tone Color In­sti­tute. Not, note, “what’s go­ing on in our world to­day.”

PAN­TONE COLOR IN­STI­TUTE VIA AP

Pan­tone’s Color of the Year for 2018, “Ul­tra Vi­o­let.”

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