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2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

Posted by Cecilia Walker on

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Wow!  Marsala, a rich, reddish, wine-like hue, was announced by Pantone as 2015’s Color of the Year.

Each year, Canadian interior designer and blogger, Vanessa Francis, and I love to take an early stab at guessing which color from Pantone’s Spring Fashion Report will be chosen as Color of the Year.  It’s a bet we started a few years back and have kept going, as I look forward to getting her take and inspiration.  We then wait the entire Fall season for Pantone’s selection, and yesterday, Vanessa sent me the news:

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For 2015, we both guessed incorrectly


I’ve been pushing for a blue every year, however Vanessa guessed Emerald right in 2013 (and picked Freesia – a yellow- in 2014, and Solar Power – another yellow – in 2012).  You can re-visit our Color-of-the-Year banter, and related posts, here.

Pantone’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, classifies Marsala as a color with an earthiness rooted in red-brown, grounding and evoking a mood that feeds our mind, body and soul.  She says, “This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Pantone suggests that Marsala for Interiors is “complex and full-bodied without overpowering” and continues to state,

“Marsala provides a unifying element for interior spaces. Add elegance to any room by incorporating this rich and welcoming hue in accent pieces, accessories and paint. Marsala’s plush characteristics are enhanced when the color is applied to textured surfaces, making it an ideal choice for rugs and upholstered living room furniture.

Nurturing and fulfilling, Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances and linens throughout the home. The hue will be especially prominent in striping and floral patterns found in printed placemats, dinnerware, bedding and throws.”

My thoughts?  I’m still stuck on Wow!  When Vanessa’s tweet came through, I thought – what?!  Okay, pretty lipstick color, pretty nail polish, BUT, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve consulted clients on re-painting their burgundy colored walls, or removing any sort of wine-related hue from their decor.  I am the first person to jump on the “red” train — I love red and shades of.  However, beyond a blood red and into burgundy territory, I get a little squeamish.

Then the optimist in me says, find a different perspective.  And so, I succumb.  Brass and gold tones have been all the rage — trending back in interiors and in fashion for a couple of years now with copper on its heels — so warmer colors pair well with those finishes.  In fashion and beauty, I see it.  Accents, sure, I get it, and yes, to the sophistication in runway ready-to-wear.  But as accents in the home (IF chosen), I’d tend to lean towards the browner side of Marsala than the wine.  In fact, I just suggested this pillow in Eric Cohler for Lee Jofa’s Antlers pattern — which is more of a rust, I guess — to a client this week…but see how far I teeter?

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It’s a controversial color for sure, as discussed in the Atlantic’sThe Problem with Pantone’s Color of the Year,” with lots of not so positive opinions hitting social media.

Well, Vanessa?  Chime in below.  And, a last thought for next year to consider — some interesting Color of the Year facts here from The Wall Street Journal — which may or may not help with our guessing tactics for 2016.



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