Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015: Marsala

We’re in for a rough year, Gentle Readers. By now you’ve heard the news that Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015 is 18-1438 Marsala.

Pantone color of the year 2015 Marsala

Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

Yes. That Marsala.

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

Jura Koncius at The Washington Post broke the news to me, and my reaction was less than positive.

Pantone's Marsala and Kevin in Home Alone

Pantone’s Marsala where it belongs: in 1990 (Macaulay Culkin as Kevin in the movie, Home Alone)

I sat with the news for a few days. And tragically, I must report that my feelings have NOT CHANGED.

Marsala is dead. Dusty. Sad. It’s the color of fatigue. Giving up. Neither-here-nor-there-ness. Mediocrity. Despair.

Fassbinder's 2011 film, Despair

Fassbinder’s 2011 film, Despair. What color is his face? Marsala.

I’m so disappointed. (How appropriate: Marsala is also the color of disappointment.) Was it really too much to ask for a bright navy? Or a bluish gray? Or, if the Pantone folks just couldn’t see beyond the red family, why not a nice clear Chinese orange-red?

The thoughtful folks at Pantone are trying to get our creative juices flowing by assembling some palettes for us. Behold, “Victorian Funeral:”

Pantone's color of the year 2015 Marsala palette

Pantone palette featuring Marsala

“Holiday in Afghanistan:”

Pantone's color of the year 2015 Marsala palette

Another Pantone palette with Marsala

And, “Yesterday’s Bruise:”

Pantone's color of the year 2015 Marsala palette

Pantone palette with Marsala

As with Radiant Orchid last year, we will survive by interpreting this color liberally, not literally. I’ll push it to Oxblood, a strong, clear, dark red that has dignity to spare. Others may push it to Burgundy, which I loathe. (Burgundy is the cheap interpretation of Oxblood; it’s more purple, but it doesn’t have the courage to be Aubergine. Wuss.)

If you absolutely feel you must use Marsala to be au courant, use it in a flower arrangement…

Flower arrangement using Marsala

Sullivan Owen for bhldn. Isn’t this the most exquisite photograph?

…in a lipstick…

Marsala-colored lipstick

Tom Ford lipstick

…on your front door, which, after all, is the lipstick of your house…

Marsala colored front doot

Marsala front door

…or on a shirt. Or better yet, on an apron that’s going to be covered in other colors soon anyway.

Pantone's color of the year 2015 in action

From the Pantone website

But you won’t catch me using it on much of anything.

Since you asked (well, you didn’t, but please humor me), bossy color’s color of the year is going to be a lovely crisp navy. It’s an excellent foil for bright colors and a perfect mate for nearly any saturated color you can think of. And, of course, it’s gorgeous with white. It’s the color of perseverance, strength, leadership, and loyalty.

Blue and white room by Samantha Pynn

Designed by Samantha Pynn, photographed by Virginia Macdonald

Not dried blood.

Marsala colored pillows

Kravet. Sigh.

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is a full-service design firm in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.

Matchy-matchy walls and upholstery: Cool again, or too soon?

Remember in the ’80s, how fashion-forward it was to upholster furniture in the same pattern as the wallpaper? And sometimes carry the pattern onto the drapes, too?

1980s floral chintz matching furniture and walls

1980s chintz explosion

Well, everything old is new again…again.

I am an ’80s survivor, so you’d think I’d have trouble with this particular “new again.” Au contraire, mon frere! Today’s matchy-matchiness is a far cry from the chintz explosions of yesteryear.

Today’s matchy-matchiness exhibits restraint.

Same pattern on chairs and walls

Thibaut

Matching chair and walls

Cath Kidston

Which doesn’t mean the patterns themselves can’t be bold…

Furniture matching walls

Manuel Canovas

…but it does mean that you should limit the matching elements to two.

Matching furniture + walls = fine.

Furniture matching wallpaper

Thibaut again

Matching wallcovering + drapes =  fine.

Matching drapes and wallcovering

From the blog, “girl learning along the way”

Matching headboard + wallcovering + lampshades = really not fine. I think this headboard against the wallpaper is pretty terrific, but the lampshades are twee. Unnecessary. Perilously reminiscent of the ’80s.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 7.59.43 PM

Ellen Niven

Let’s file this last one under, “strong intent.” How fabulous is this pattern? Large-scale crazy birds, an amazing level of detail, the use of black for edginess…the pattern looks like a giant illustration. And the fact that the designer shows it on the walls AND on a chair is super bold. I love it. (A propos of nothing, please note the black painted baseboard. Great move. I wish it were larger, but you can’t have everything.)

Furniture matching walls

Kristjana S. Williams

What say you, Gentle Readers? Would you be bold enough to try this in your own home? In which room? It’s a commitment, for sure, but it’s a pretty edgy look. Again.

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is a full-service design firm in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.

That edgy color combo, green and gray

I feel like I’m seeing green and gray (aka grey) everywhere! From excellent designers…

Green contemporary painting in gray living room

Douglas Mackie Design

In catalogs…

Gray headboard in gray bedroom with green accents

Schoolhouse Electric

Gray living room with green drapes

Serena & Lily

Everywhere! I smell a trend.

Green drapes in gray dining room

Help me with this source, Gentle Readers?

I wasn’t sure what I thought of the green/gray combo at first. But it’s grown on me. There may be a green and gray room in bossy color’s future sooner rather than later.

Green drapes in gray dining room

Serena & Lily again

Green upholstered door into gray room

Design Sponge

What do YOU think?

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is a full-service design firm in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.