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Radiant orchid is Pantone Color Institute's color of the year for 2014

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Let your wardrobe bloom with orchids.

Radiant orchid — a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple — is Pantone Color Institute's color of the year for 2014. It's an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.

“I think this color is fascinating,” says David Zyla, an Emmy Award-winning stylist and author of “Color Your Style.” “When you look at this color, you see both red and purple. It's a color that makes you think of vivaciousness and power and sexiness and vitality. It's a color that represents royalty. It has an almost magical quality to it.”

It can be a great accent color, Zyla says. A lot of research goes into determining this color, he says, but the bottom line is the color of the year should be used to suit you.

Julie Peterson, personal color and style consultant for House of Colour Pittsburgh, says this color is a very pretty hue, one that's easy to wear now and will carry over into your spring and summer wardrobe.

“Change up a white shirt for one in radiant orchid,” she says. “It is so easy to wear with other colors, and it's a color that makes people happy when they see it.”

Radiant orchid is a surprising, bold and a bit daring of a color, says Jackie Nasser, fashion director for Start with accessories such as bags, scarves, belts or heels. Pair with neutrals, metallics or white for spring and summer or with other shades of purple for fall and winter, she says.

This fashion-forward hue is one of the most-versatile warm shades and mixes with all skin tones and hair colors, says Geoffrey Henning, J.C. Penney's divisional vice president of design for women's apparel.

“We also love the fact that it is a color that works well with all your seasonal color palettes,” he says. “Early in the season, it works with black and navy, then into shades of soft grays and winter whites, and then into high summer with graphic white and khaki. The radiant-orchid color also naturally works well into the floral trend, which is a favorite of our female customer.”

“Because fashion evolves so quickly these days, women do, in fact, follow the ‘color of the year' or general color trends as they appear at retail,” Henning says. “Radiant orchid will definitely be a welcoming color to the female consumer as it is incredibly feminine and chic.”

Deciding on the color of the year is an involved process that takes a lot of time, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. She is an author of eight books on color and founder of Eiseman travels the world to get inspiration. “It's like selecting that special color out of the crayon box,” she says.

“Radiant orchid is a very exciting color,” Eiseman says. “It really speaks to what we are all about at Pantone — creativity and encouraging people to be more creative in the colors they wear and the colors they choose to decorate their homes.”

Homes can join the trend in paint, accent pieces and area rugs, says Jenny Zhu, president, chief design officer and founder of Triangle Home Fashions, based in Dayton, N.J.

“Pillows in the radiant-orchid color work perfectly with neutrals,” Zhu says. “Tossing a few pillows in this color with pillows that are peacock, or even a lemon yellow, onto sofas in cream, ivory or shades of gray, even charcoal, will instantly add gorgeous and fashionable accents to a room.”

As for drapery, Zhu prefers to see this color on sheers to add a romantic feel to a bedroom or living room.

About five years ago, there was quite a gap between home and fashion, but now, the two seem to be working together, Zhu says. She visits factories that produce fashion apparel to see what fabrics they are making and what colors are prevalent.

“Most home-decor manufacturers are still cautious and tend to use fashion colors only for accent pieces and accessories rather than make a full commitment to bigger pieces,” Zhu says.

“Radiant orchid is a refreshingly exuberant color that is perfect for almost any season,” says Gwendolyn Covington, a style editor for “It's a rich hue with hints of warm and cool notes that could work on both men and women.”

Radiant orchid looks good on most women by accenting fairer skin tones. For darker skin tones it works as a highlight and gives these women an amazing glow, Covington says.

For the most-daring females, try a radiant-orchid cocktail dress to stand out from the sea of little black dresses, she says.

Color can be interpreted into many silhouettes, accessory pieces and supporting roles to pull an outfit or key look together, says Josh Saterman, Macy's vice president and fashion director.

“Maybe try a belt, an accent color in a scarf, or a simple T-shirt to explore this fun new shade. We love navy as a base color when exploring this tone. Certainly, blacks and whites are a good base to play with, as well,” he says.

Fashion is always about the unexpected, the newness and the art of putting together the look that you love, Saterman says.

If clothing and accessories aren't the way you want to try this color, then try incorporating it via a fashionable blush to a poppy bold lipstick. Purples are huge in the beauty arena, says Marianne Skiba, an Emmy Award-winning makeup stylist and Burgettstown native.

“We are seeing this color across the board in makeup,” Skiba says. “And, it is fun and adds a little color to your look.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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