Move over, mil­len­nial pink – the shade’s grown-up sib­ling has a re­newed hold on our af­fec­tions

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Decorating -

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, 2018 is the year of pur­ple. Pan­tone chose ‘Ul­tra Vi­o­let’ as its colour of the year, with trend fore­cast­ing firm WGSN not­ing that it fed into a re­newed in­ter­est in max­i­mal­ist fash­ions, as well as the de­sire for self-ex­pres­sion and es­capism. What nei­ther firm men­tioned, how­ever, was that vi­o­let’s rise was fore­told some 140 years ago by an­other group who had self­ex­pres­sion and the fu­ture on their minds: the Im­pres­sion­ists.

While an early fan con­ceded that the Im­pres­sion­ists’ work did ‘al­most al­ways pro­ceed from a vi­o­let and bluish range’, oth­ers were less kind. Some ar­gued that they must suf­fer from a dis­ease, which they dubbed ‘vi­o­let­to­ma­nia’. Oth­ers thought that their pref­er­ence was a con­se­quence of paint­ing out­side, the re­sult of per­ma­nent dam­age to the artists’ eyes af­ter spend­ing too much time in the sun. The art critic Al­fred de Lostalot, in a dis­mis­sive re­view of one of Monet’s shows, wrote that ‘he and his friends see pur­ple, the crowd sees oth­er­wise; hence the dis­agree­ment’. The Im­pres­sion­ists them­selves, how­ever, were un­re­pen­tant in their ar­dour for this shade. In 1881, Edouard Manet an­nounced that he’d dis­cov­ered the true colour of the at­mos­phere: ‘It is vi­o­let. Fresh air is vi­o­let. Three years from now, the whole world will work in vi­o­let.’

If you share Manet’s en­thu­si­asm, now is a good time to in­dulge – the pub­lic­ity gen­er­ated by Pan­tone and WGSN has pro­pelled this hue into the spot­light. As you might ex­pect, the queen of colour, In­dia Mah­davi, in­cludes it in her reper­toire – Chez Nina, the pri­vate club she de­signed for Gal­le­ria Nil­u­far ear­lier this year, sees vi­o­let mixed with red and black in mid-cen­tury shapes. For a softer take, look at De­sign­ers Guild’s ‘Savoie’ wall­pa­per in ‘Fuch­sia’, which segues from white, through vi­o­let to ma­genta (£225 per roll; de­sign­ers­ It’s a painterly take on the trend. Lostalot might not have ap­proved; Manet, how­ever, al­most cer­tainly would.

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