Drop everything! Pantone (a private corporation which specializes in standardizing color palettes for different industries and companies) has announced the color of the year for 2015. The special color for the new year is…Marsala, a deep dark red named after Marsala, the fortified Italian wine which in turn is named after the port of Marsala. I guess I was really on top of trends when I blogged about burgundy a couple of weeks ago, since burgundy is a similar color with a similar provenance (although burgundy is a purer—and prettier– dark red which lacks the earthy brown notes of Marsala).
According to Pantone’s fulsome press statement, Marsala is a perfect color for…well everything: “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness…This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”
Other self-proclaimed culture-makers and arbiters of taste are less satisfied with the hue. NYmag.com felt the tone evoked Olive Garden (a mid-range restaurant franchise which makes coastal elites shudder and drop their caviar spoons) and…um…feminine sanitary goods. The Atlantic talked about fraternity bathrooms, 70’s institutional carpet, and mystery meat with plenty of offal mixed in. Clearly Marsala inspires strong visceral feelings (ha) and synesthesia, even if it does not necessarily make everyone want a new Marsala Maserati.
I was a big fan of last year’s color “radiant orchid” which was a lovely mid-tone pinkish purple (for the record, tastemakers liked radiant orchid too and thought it betokened “economic recovery”). I think burgundy is prettier than Marsala (which I would probably call “brick”), but the 2015 color evokes garden paths, bound books, farm equipment, trilliums, and, yes, delicious chicken liver, so I like it well enough. It seems like my family even had a Marsala-colored Chevy station wagon when I was growing up in the late seventies. I doubt I will be buying an all Marsala wardrobe or a Marsala blender, but the color is very pretty…for some things. And, as ever, if you despise Marsala (or if its Olive Garden notes cause the stock market to crash) there will be a completely new corporate-chosen color of the year in 2016.