Friday, December 30, 2011

Colour Trends 2012

By Savitha Hira
Image Courtesy: Akzo Nobel
Radiating warmth and cheer, exhilaration and excitement, as much dynamism as a touch of whimsy... tones of ‘red’ and ‘burnt orange’ set the cue for 2012 – promising a year of individuality and self-belief; opening up a world of possibilities that might just augment innovative breakthroughs and inspire industry crossovers...   

Every year, we have the experts forecast colour trends that then take over our senses playing with seasonal sessions across product ranges, be it fashion, interior decor, consumer goods and the like. Colours that emanate from the fabric of our being – our attitudes, our learning quotients, perceptions, awareness, preferences, moods and our underlying confidence – are chiselled into acceptable moulds of reasoning, tying up the polarised ends of our immediate environments with world views. 

Abstract Painting by Anand Mali
An interesting conversation with trend and colour analyst Latika Khosla reveals that the thematic of year 2012 is “Possibilities”, while the personality trait that is distinctly associated with it is “Individuality”. Latika reiterates the forecasts of leading research and trend organizations Pantone, Akzo Nobel and the National Colour System (NCS), informing us that the colours for 2012 are tones of Red and Burnt Orange. These hues extend from one end of the spectrum, being ‘corally’, glassy and soft-toned, dominated as they are by feminity, beauty and innate subtlety, and can be combined easily with softer colours as significant accentuating elements; to the other end of the spectrum, where they could be glossy and team up to effect stark and strident moods.

Image Source: i-watchestime.com
Image Source: jewellerynfashion.com
The optimistic, vivacious and full-of-life reds and oranges are easily paired and hold the key to one’s personal expressions. The tonal inflictions can be played with as smoothly against stark white, or a pale lime green or black or even a tantalising deep mauve, picking up nuances from the entire spectrum and highlighting the accents as per personal choice. Enhanced masculine combinations can band together red and burnt orange with soft browns, charcoal grays, and deep khaki… basically great colours for anything.

Image Source: AAPL
“It also encourages us to combine materials and colours in very new, unexpected and satisfying ways. Both, from the actual world around us and from what is in our imagination, whimsical and dynamic red undertones along with its earthy palette range can be used in smaller dozes as well as larger proportions,” informs Latika.

Model in Anupama Dayal Outfit at India Resort Fashion Week 2011
Working with the personality traits and inherent characteristics that shape attitudes and effect lifestyles, Latika explains that the focus is on a dominant ‘comfort factor’ that prevails in almost every action and lifestyle of an individual. Consequently, the onus of being oneself is as much on ‘well-informed decision-making’ as it is on being a part of a larger peoples group, yet standing out in the same circle. This then substantiates one’s preferences that go beyond accepting a trend as is; and instead, adding on to it to make a personal statement viz., adding on a stylish sash or a hair-piece to an ‘in’ outfit or arranging a set of old pots and pans together with some fresh seasonal flowers for an impromptu fashionable art installation during a party…

Image Courtesy: Akzo Nobel
Image Courtesy: Akzo Nobel
Incidentally, the generic belief that fashion inspires other design disciplines is vetoed by Latika. She feels that fashion is actually pulling crossovers and taking inspiration from automotives, from cell phone designs, massive cues from interior design, where the emphasis is on play of materials and products and the like.

Sushmita Sen, Shantanu & Nikhil at India Resort Fashion Week 2011
Model in James Ferreira Outfit at India Resort Fashion Week 2011
And what is the mainstay of our colours for 2012? Is it texture, material, pattern or hue? “A refined tactile quality,” responds Latika. “With matt winning over glossy in the current scenario, a new luxury will evolve that will be artistically combined with elegance to effect understated style rather than in-the-face bling. The finish will dominate in tune with urbaneness and the hue will slide on the gradient - from buoyancy to restraint – but always individualistic. 

Models in Felix Bendish showcase at India Resort Fashion Week 2011


  1. A few years ago I found out about a group of people who call themselves Industry leaders get together and set what colors will be used that year. What palette of colors. It makes sense when you think about it. Why get caught making a few tons of blue when brown is in that year. Back in the 70s every other car was dark green. Back in the late 80s you couldn't find a dark green car. I checked at that time.
    This is one reason I choose the colors I do.
    Posted by Dan on linkedin Group: Fine Artists.

  2. I do love lot of colors ...... All colors ...
    Posted by joseph on linkedin Group: ART Professionals Worldwide.

  3. Very interesting and food for thought
    Posted by Daniel S on linkedin Group: Fine Artists.

  4. I am inspired. Just working on 2 photoshoots for Autumn Winter 2012. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Posted by Lorraine on linkedin Group: Mudpie - Fashion, Trends & Culture - Graphics, Textiles & Colour for Apparel, Active Sports & Denim.

  5. Great read. Fashion definitely gets it inspiration from the automobile industry. I have connections to the automotive manufacturing industry and the color trends for vehicle and apparel are always similar as seen in showrooms and runways.
    Posted by Bonnie on linkedin Group: Mudpie - Fashion, Trends & Culture - Graphics, Textiles & Colour for Apparel, Active Sports & Denim.

  6. Good point Bonnie. Years ago I used to work for Volkswagen Group. I know exactly where you are coming from.
    Posted by Lorraine on linkedin Group: Mudpie - Fashion, Trends & Culture - Graphics, Textiles & Colour for Apparel, Active Sports & Denim.

  7. I have done quite a bit of research on automotive industry as of late...What I found out was, that the opposite was true. Numerous Color and Trim designers told me that they definitely look into fashion/footwear world to be inspired...since fashion is so much faster than automotive. Automotive industry tends to be more conservative in general. Just an observation.
    Posted by Victoria on linkedin Group: Mudpie - Fashion, Trends & Culture - Graphics, Textiles & Colour for Apparel, Active Sports & Denim.

  8. My feeling is that colour trends which suggest 'optimism' will be favorable; burnt orange - perhaps combined audaciously with other colours in soft tones, I can see being innovative and appealing. I feel that some reds - particularly paired with white or black - are a bit lifeless and this goes against my perceptions of where trends will go. It also recalls fashions’ of not so long ago - perhaps nineties commercial interiors. Forecasting colour trends is, I perceive, a fascinating and difficult subject - and I appreciate and admire the efforts and abilities of those involved in it.
    Posted by Joyce on linkedin Group: The InteriorsHub Forum.


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