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LOVE IT OR HATE IT, “MARSALA” IS HERE TO STAY

Sunday, February 01, 2015

By Judy Brotton

Every year since 1990, the fine folks at the Pantone Color Institute, the global color authority headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, have combed the world and drawn inspiration from various industries – including fashion, home décor, cosmetics, entertainment, sports, even technology – to determine their Color of the Year. For 2015, they have named that winner as Marsala, a wine red much like the fortified Sicilian wine for which it is named.

For the past six years, the winning color of the year has been bright and vibrant, with a hopeful vibe: colors like Radiant Orchid, Emerald, Tangerine Tango, Honeysuckle, Turquoise and Mimosa. The more subdued Marsala, on the other hand, is a “wine-influenced, red-kissed color” that exudes stability and confidence according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of PCI. She adds that the “subtly seductive shade draws us into its enriching warmth … and enriches our mind, body and soul.”

If you’re wondering why we even need a color of the year, many industries use Pantone’s services to determine which colors to feature on their products and what consumers will be using, wearing and buying for the upcoming year. By creating a standardized color matching process using the Pantone numbering system to identify hues, manufacturers from different industries can match items without having to be in direct communication. Fashion designers have already incorporated Marsala into their spring and fall collections, and you have probably already seen entertainers on the red carpet draped in Marsala, and they require matching or coordinating shoes, handbags, nail polish and even lipstick.

Eiseman recommends that the color can be mixed with what you already own. By adding just a touch here and there, you can highlight your wardrobe (or home décor) without investing too heavily.

For the third year now, Pantone Universe and Sephora have teamed up to create a makeup color palette using Marsala as a bold pop of neutral for lips, cheeks, nails and even eyes – this unexpected color will appear as bold eye shadow, and as a change-up from black eyeliner and mascara. Wine highlights in hair have been popular for a while, and will remain so.

According to Georgi Morales Pipkin, media relations manager of Macy’s Southwest and South Central regions, Macy’s will feature all shades of Marsala in their spring and fall color palettes, including ready-to-wear for both men and women; jewelry and accessories; beautiful Bordeaux handbags and leather goods; in housewares look for accent towels, tableware (white dishes accented with a deep red rim) and appliances like coffee makers, mixers and toasters.

Home décor will incorporate the rich Marsala color into accent pieces, accessories and paint, and makes an ideal choice for textured surfaces like rugs and upholstered furniture to bring warmth into the home. Red hues have long been thought to stimulate the appetite and senses, so Marsala makes a good choice for the dining room. Add lots of white and natural light to keep it crisp and bright. A neutral bathroom can be enhanced with a set of Marsala towels and small accessories. A deep shade of red would make a beautiful bedroom accent wall, or if you’re not willing to commit to so much Marsala, simply add a bedspread in a wine floral pattern, or deep red accent pillows and throws. When using Marsala for an accent wall, paint the woodwork and trim a crisp white.

Pipkin says spring fashions will feature global themes like Mexican embroidered florals, tribal prints and art-inspired painterly abstract prints. For fall, look for lace, brocade or knitted pieces, as well as leather and suede (think soft leather gloves, a short suede moto jacket, stiletto heels or knee-high boots) in rich, dark shades to rival neutrals like black, gray and navy.

If you’re wondering whether or not you can wear the color Marsala, the answer is that the color is flattering against many skin tones and appeals to both men and women. This color works well as an accent with gray, off-white and nude, and may become a staple in your wardrobe. Look for a matte finish to highlight Marsala’s organic nature, while a glossy finish conveys glamour and luxury.

Pipkin advises that Marsala looks very refined when used in tonalities – pales to darks – and can be combined with metallic or iridescent yarns. The full-bodied quality of the color makes an elegant statement when used on its own, accessorized by silver, gold, and especially the currently popular rose gold jewelry.

To add Marsala to your wardrobe, try wearing a deep red shirt under your black suit jacket; or trade your black heels for a pair of wine leather stilettos to wear with your little black dress. Don’t forget to polish your nails in deep red, and wear the same shade of lipstick. Top your favorite skinny jeans with a chunky knit sweater in a deep red marled yarn; or wear a beautiful wine cashmere sweater with a pair of winter white trousers. Instead of black boots, pull on a pair of dark red knee-high boots or wear a red belt. Swap your black leggings for a pair in deep red, and top with a long gray or nude sweater. If you’re not wholeheartedly convinced, try a maroon and white buffalo check scarf wrapped around your neck.

Men can look for shirts with a pattern of red stripes, or deep red ties with white stripes or dots. Deep red leather boots/shoes and belts add a new dimension to khakis, jeans or dark pants.

Whether or not you embrace Marsala hinges on whether you’re a lover or hater of the color. Lovers compare the color with wine and pomegranate seeds, while comments from haters range from “ick” and “yuck” to more specific comparisons to rust, dried blood and liver. As for me … I am a definite lover of the color Marsala, so expect to see me wearing it often! 

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