Fashion’s Haute Hues Make Magic at Home

According to color mavens, fashion promises to be magical this fall. With inspiration drawn from all things mystical—a bewitching sunset, the world of wizards and warlocks, illusion and fantasy—enchanting relationships between dark and bright colors, grounded by earthy neutral tones, give us some very interesting ideas for our wardrobes and our rooms. Fashion designers are using this imaginative color story as a way to transport people from life’s daily pressures to a more ethereal place. And, with a certain wave of the wand, interior designers can work the very same magic in our homes.

Pantone, a global authority on color, has monitored the fashion world for close to 20 years, providing designers with seasonal trend forecasting and color direction. Pantone Fashion Color Report: Fall 2012 specifies a fantastical, magic-inspired palette. From the fully charged Tangerine Tango, Pink Flambé and Bright Chartreuse to the new neutrals, French Roast and Titanium, it is easy to see how energizing pops of color used against stabilizing backgrounds can add drama to a living room, dining space or bedroom. At the same time, a paler rendition uses pastel veils of tint including Rhapsody, Rose Smoke and Sea Fog, with Honey Gold or Whitecap Gray providing a quieter, more serene effect that can be carried effortlessly throughout the home.


Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, says, “By playing to consumers’ practical side with versatile neutrals, and boosting their confidence with bold, spirited hues, this skillfully balanced palette has something for everyone.”

Home décor borrowing from fashion is the natural order of the design world, and it is this synergy that encourages us to bring a more specific sense of style to our interior spaces. The Modern Colors collection from Bethpage-based Kravet, a leading fabric and furnishings house for the design trade, embodies the vibrant colors fashionistas are flaunting this season. Plum, citrus green and mandarin orange are used in curvy-edged motifs—or “mid-century modern geometric retro patterns,” as Executive Vice President of Product Development Scott Kravet puts it. Other recurring patterns this fall, including latticework, iron gate scrolls, chevron diamonds and trellis patterns, conjure a whimsical feeling when combined with this season’s colors.

Kravet takes its cues for new home fabric collections from international fashion runways. “It definitely cycles through but takes some time for the mills to get the colors precisely right, due to a laborious dyeing process,” Mr. Kravet explains, “but now, with everything streaming live on the internet, the time frame is shorter than it used to be.”


Bringing fall fashion’s magical colors tastefully to the home can be executed in various ways. A quick decision must first be made on which neutral foundation will work best—dark and hypnotic or pale and dreamy. If there is an opportunity to purchase new furniture, choose classic pieces upholstered in a neutral fabric for a timeless look that will support any future of-the-moment trends.

imageA much smaller commitment, but no less effective, is to swathe the walls in that tone. Some of the new wall coverings are a luxurious way to make solid neutrals more interesting with texture, but the ease and accessibility of a crisp precision paint job in just the right hue is hard to beat.

Premier paint company Benjamin Moore conducts its own color trend forecasting through extensive travel and research. Andrea Magno, Manager of Benjamin Moore’s Designer Segment, says, “Fashion is one of the many areas where we look for color trends. Colors that are used in fashion set trends by creating an acceptance or comfort level with a particular color, which is then translated into the home.”

Benjamin Moore’s latest forecasting report, Color Pulse 2013, shows combinations for the home that mirror the season’s fashion palette. By layering neutrals with bright punctuations of bold or unexpected color, such as pairing the deep, organic Sparrow AF-720 with the acidic Savannah Green 2150-30, “the effect is quite modern as well as livable,” Magno says. “We are also seeing variations on purple and berry colors mixed with camels and other neutrals.” She recommends Brunswick Beige 1061, Exotic Purple 2071-10 or Melrose Pink 1363 to achieve this refined result. For a livelier ride on the color wheel, Magno notes, “The complementary scheme of purple and yellow with the addition of gray is also prevalent.” This combination can be achieved by using Magic Potion 1250, Sun Valley 350 and Granite AF-660, “which can work well in bedding and furnishings—even in painted cabinetry.”

“Most people would not be comfortable with a bright green sofa,” Mr. Kravet explains, “but a classic beige linen sofa provides a perfect backdrop for some chartreuse pillows, which can be switched out at any time.” In addition to throw pillows—the go-to pop-of-color accessory—look to patterned area rugs, tailored window panels, abstract artwork or bold ceramic pieces with modern shapes to sprinkle one or two of fashion’s hexing hues around your home—the effect is spellbinding.

caroline wilkes

Caroline Sophia Wilkes is an interior designer who also writes about design trends. From Manhattan to Montauk, this native Long Islander derives inspiration from the dynamic forms and energy of the city to the organic serenity of our land- and seascapes.