Marsala: Pantones Color of the Year 2015


After two years' worth of choosing bright jewel colors, The Pantone Institute of Color has surprised the fashion world with its 2015 color of the year. The recently-announced winner is a dark, rusty brown identified as "Marsala" 18-1438 TCX. Not everyone is thrilled. Although the name connotes the color of the rich, earthy wine from western Sicily, less complimentary adjectives link Marsala to rusty warships, deteriorating ruins, liver, dried blood, mystery meat, and so on.

In fairness, the color choice for 2015 is a versatile and adaptable hue that provides plenty of interest without taking over the entire show. This may be its greatest selling point, and as the fashion and design industries rush to include it in new offerings, expect Marsala to show up in everything from lipstick to wall paper. For example, Dolce and Gabbana offer a Classic Cream Lipstick in this shade known simply as "Wine." "Let's Misbehave" is a matching nail enamel available through Deborah Lippman.

Similar to its burgundy cousin, Marsala is flattering to most skin types. Both men and women will be attracted to it for this very reason. Whether for formal or casual wear, a balanced blend of brown and red will be popping up in jackets, sweaters, pants and dresses. Zara is currently showcasing just such a faux leather jacket that is stylish and appealing.

Of course, accessories have caught the Marsala fever too. Shoppers can choose from dressy boucle knit bags by and faux leather backpacks such as "Scale Up" by Nine West. Footwear in both dressy heels and trend-setting boots are already available as well. Wedding designers are not to be left behind. When Marsala is combined with blush and ivory shades, it becomes multi-seasonal, or pair it with bright oranges and coral for a strictly summer event. Bring in the other warm colors of fall for a sophisticated autumn wedding. Throw in some naturally colored peonies and dahlias and the wedding flowers will be lovely.

Interior decorators and designers have also found many ways to incorporate Pantone's newest color of the year into rugs, wall paper, textile prints, accent pieces, linens and furniture. Unlike a powerful, bold red, Marsala is able to stir the senses without overwhelming. As such, it can function as a dramatic, but restful bedroom color. It can also do duty in dining rooms and other traditional or modern spaces without demanding too much attention. For shoppers who have not yet decided they love this shade, a few accent pieces such as a pillow, lamp shade, urn, painting or side chair will introduce new interest to a room without representing a large financial commitment.

Washed denim, teal and turquoise blue are interesting companions for Marsala, as are gray, navy and white combinations. When balanced with white alone, the results are dramatic, crisp and clean. As a general rule, the less a color is used, the more versatile it becomes, and this is certainly true in this case. While some designers may want to paint walls and ceilings for a powerful overall statement, limiting Marsala to one area rug or one focal wall can be equally effective.

According to the experts at Pantone, their newest color super star for 2015 is "naturally robust with a sophisticated earthiness." Marsala may be all that, but its emotional appeal may also lie in the hint of vintage nostalgia and forgotten memories it suggests. Practical versatility is also a plus. Hopefully, these positive attributes will rise above the less-complimentary ones that first greeted its debut. Ultimately, you the consumer will decide.




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