Back in my art school days, my days were mostly filled with studio classes: sketching, design, graphics and so on. But I did have to take a few academic subjects as well: art history of course, world literature, and color theory among them. This last class turned out to be a bit of an eye-opener, especially as we delved into color psychology. My teacher offered the notion that purple - in all its iterations, from lavender, to mauve and violet - is such a popular color among adolescents as it is the combination of blue and red, two polar opposites on the color wheel, thus symbolizing the feeling of being in flux, and torn between two states of being. It made a lot of sense to me, especially as it took me right back to my absolute favorite garment when I was 13/14 years old: a purple quilted cotton jacket with Nehru collar and big wooden toggle buttons. I bought it from a store in my hometown called The Golden Elephant, and it was only many years later that I realized the jacket's indelible aroma was not in fact incense....
But I digress. It came as no surprise to me that Pantone declared Ultra Violet to be its 2018 Color of the Year. Certainly, we, as a country, as a society, as a world, have been in flux lately. This can be scary and daunting, but also presents us with the opportunity and challenge for change. In the words of Pantone: “The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than what’s trending in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today. Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”
What does that mean for the world of decorating? Admittedly, Ultra-Violet is an imposing and somewhat daunting shade and while it can look absolutely spectacular, an all-purple room is not for everyone.
So, who plays nice with Ultra Violet? Cooler shades of green, teal, aqua and turquoise are perfect complements and hold their own against powerful purple.
A more unexpected friend can be found in the medium-blue color range. Don't listen to anyone claiming that purple and blue “don't go together”. This pairing exudes an artsy chic, even more so against a dark background.
My hands-down favorite is a combo of Ultra Violet with peach or coral shades, for a look that is unique yet elegant, unexpected yet feminine. And just look at those lipstick-red pillows on the purple sofa: the perfect example of breaking the color rules for a spectacular result.
A smaller dose of Ultra Violet can work in almost any color scheme, in the form of a slipper chair, ottoman or pouf.
Not quite ready to go there? Consider just a touch of Ultra Violet in the form of amethyst door knobs or drawer pulls, perfect for a glam dressing room.
As for me, Ultra Violet already has me longing for spring and its sights (and scents) of hyacinth, lilac and wisteria. Thank you Pantone!