Though the widely-anticipated Pantone Color of the Year is often regarded as a forecast, it is, on the contrary, a manifestation of trends observed by Pantone’s specialists through the year. Little wonder then, that ever since Pantone declared Living Coral as the colour of 2019, we’ve been seeing it everywhere.

Best described as orange with hints of red, terracotta, peach and pink, with golden undertones, Living Coral is a warm mix of hues. Before this, shades of orange have been declared Color of the Year twice—the floral-inspired Tigerlily for 2004 followed by the citrusy Tangerine Tango for 2011.

Compared to its predecessors, Living Coral is a softer paradisiacal hue that Pantone describes as “an animating and life-affirming shade".

The choice is both environmentally conscious and political. “Living Coral reinforces how colours can embody our collective experience and reflect what is taking place in our global culture at a moment in time," says Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Color Institute in a press statement. The environment has been on Pantone’s radar—for 2016, the colour of the year was a shade of green named, quite literally, Greenery.

It’s worth remembering that real coral reefs are endangered due to global warming and bleaching (which results in a loss of colour). Living Coral, however, takes an optimistic view, with references to sunsets and beach holidays. Incidentally, travel is at the top of the agenda for Pantone—the institute is collaborating with Marriott International’s Tribute hotels to create immersive pop-ups dedicated to the colour at select hotels and events like Art Basel Miami.

Not just travel, coral shows potential across various industries—fashion and beauty, interiors, social media, product design and packaging. Marc Jacobs, Fendi and Acne Studio have incorporated coral in their Spring/ Summer 2019 collections while tech giant Apple uses the colour as a variant for its XR phones. “Coral is a happy, uplifting shade that works especially well in fusion or Indian silhouettes," says Devangi Parekh, creative director of Aza Fashions.

“For those who prefer clothing in muted shades, coral sneakers or a coral backpack can be really fun, or a boho clutch/sandals with coral tassels." It is also a familiar colour on lipsticks and nail paints, furniture and packaging.

While Pantone’s choice of colour and reasoning may be up for discussion, these bright sartorial picks show the mood-lifting potential of coral.

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