This year had a lot to live up to... With pandemic fatigue at an all-time high, humans had their sights set on this trip around sol to deliver good things.
So far, not so well-played 2022.
On the upside, we did get an all-new colour thank to the boffins at Pantone called Very Peri, crowned Pantone Colour of the Year for 2022. It might not seem like much, but in a landscape where we’ve all had our world shrink and subtract, bringing more colour into the universe feels like an outsized win.
Now, if your mind goes to the Portuguese hot sauce on hearing the name, you’re not alone. But although this colour is hot, it’s probably not what you’re expecting. In fact, until this year, this colour was just a (peri)twinkle in the colour god’s eye. For the first time in history, the custodians of colour custom created the shade for their Colour of the Year (COTY) forecast.
A periwinkle in time
"Periwinkle seems the colour of grace, and not least because of the flower’s modest ordinariness. But there is always colour – it is the promise of joy." – David Scott Kastan
Pantone #17-3938 – aka Very Peri – is a nod to Vinca Major, the flower formerly known as Periwinkle. These creeping, perennial plants feature long stems, shiny foliage and striking purple star-shaped flowers.
Native to Europe and Northern Africa where it’s planted to stop weeds or as ground cover, Periwinkle has since made its way across to different continents as an ornamental or medicinal herb. In Italy, Periwinkle is known as Fiore di Morte (the flower of death) and is laid in wreaths on the graves of children. It’s also the origin of the ‘something blue’ from that wedding ditty. And thanks to its apparent aphrodisiac qualities, is also linked with sex work. True story.
And while the name references Pantone's own Deep Periwinkle, it’s not the same colour. Very Peri is bolder, spunkier, more charming and complex – as much blue as it is violet, created to pull focus to the sweeping potential that’s ours to seize.
"Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression." – Laurie Pressman, VP, Pantone Color Institute
Most of us have been in a place of pandemic-pause, only now finally starting to rediscover our freedoms and expression. The peeps at Pantone mixed Very Peri to, in their words, "help us embrace this altered landscape of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we rewrite our lives. Rekindling gratitude for some of the qualities that blue represents, complemented by a new perspective. Digital design helps us stretch the limits of reality, opening the door to a dynamic virtual world where we can explore and create new colour possibilities. "
In plain English, we’re living in flux, and Very Peri captures our emergence from the last few years of acute seclusion. Our perception and principles are rapidly and remarkably shifting, and not only is WFH the new normal, but the line between our actual and our digital lives have integrated.
"Very Peri is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through. As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing, and our physical and digital lives have merged in new ways." – Pantone
The Pantone Matching System was created in 1963 as a way for the printing industry to tackle the complications of colour matching. You know, the famous fan-out catalogue assigning all colours, tints and tones a number? That.
The Pantone Colour of the Year (COTY) entered our collective context back in 2000, but it took seven years to really take off and become an influential part of our cultural aesthetic. To arrive at each year’s shade de jour, the institute takes cues from pop culture, marketing, social media, fashion and (somewhat unbelievably), politics.
‘The Pantone Colour of the Year reflects what’s taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that colour can hope to answer” said Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Colour Institute.
This year, Pantone places the future in a completely new light: a merging of the physical and digital worlds – think the Metaverse. To reiterate this, the Very Peri announcement was celebrated at ARTECHOUSE in New York. A futuristic space that uses interactive tech to examine science and art. The event even featured a special Non-Fungible Token (NFT) room – completely intangible art you can own that exists only in the digital world.
That’s so next season.
Wear it and pair it
"A-list makeup artist Georgie Eisdell also created a holographic ‘Very Peri’ eye look on Anya Taylor-Joy (to match her dress), while Yara Shahidi paired her matte lavender eyeshadow with a flick of blue eyeliner." – Beautycrew
Almost as if by osmosis, the Pantone COTY makes its way into the wardrobes of trendsetters around the world. From jumpsuits, dresses, pants and boots to cardi’s, coats, skirts and shoes. But Very Peri is not only different but also newly minted, so no one really has much experience with it (it ain't Navy after all).
So – how to wear and pair it?
While Very Peri is a focus-puller, it can work well with everything from neutrals to brights. It’s unexpectedly flexible in its matchy-matchiness. Team it with white, pink, beige, green, orange and yellow.
The shade also shines when you add tactility – think sheath-like or plush. It’s magic in a metallic for dressy dos and is also at home as a fleece colour or some kickass accessories.
However you wear it, don’t be afraid – go forth and Very Peri yourself with aplomb.