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At Home With Marni Jameson: Purple Reign — Color pros call violet color of the year

By Marni Jameson Published: December 21, 2013

While many people dream of being in the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby, I want to be in the inner circle of the group that calls the color shots.

Think of the power! Two years ago the Color Marketing Group, which forecasts color trends, predicted that Boyz-N-Berry — a jam-like violet — would be THE color coming into 2014.

Sure enough, last month two influential color icons — Pantone Color Institute and Sherwin-Williams, the paint company — named shades of purple, Radiant Orchid and Exclusive Plum to be exact, as their colors of the year.

When I heard that, I got Mark Woodman, president of Color Marketing Group, on the phone. “How do you do that?”

“We love it when we're right,” said Woodman, who insists his group offers direction not dictation. For over more than 50 years, CMG has been forecasting what colors will be in so manufacturers of everything from fabrics to futons, carpet to cars, and dresses to dishes, can gear up.

“I'm serious,” I say. “It's beyond eerie.”

“It's a secret room with witches' potions,” said Woodman, kidding me about the inner sanctum where a group of creative types, who all have trend antennas built into their frontal lobes, divine what color I will be wearing, driving, and painting my walls and toenails two years out.

“But why purple, why now?” I ask him.

“When we pulled Boyz-N-Berry out of the lineup in 2011,” he says, “many said it was violet's time. We thought by the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, we would be moving past the economic crisis, and it would be time to have this marvelous color that many consumers had stayed away from.”

“I see,” I say, though I don't.

“Historically, purple has been linked to wealth, royalty, and high religious orders. Lately, it has also surfaced as a color of health, with the uptick in dark berries.”

“So it's about being fruitful and nobly healthy,” I say, still vying for a seat at the table next time the free association frenzy takes place.

He doesn't say, “Ugh,” but I hear him think it. “We anticipated it would hit now, and we're seeing affirmation.”

Last year, the color group called out Reblued as the color that will push into homes later next year. “It's about to hit in fashion,” Woodman says.

This year the group fingered two colors to dominate in 2015: Smokey Cashmere, a warm gray with a brown influence; and Tribal Red, a slightly weathered red with a touch of orange that says heritage.

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