For those fed up with the ‘rose gold’ trend, the overuse of the colour in gadgets, jewellery and accessories need not be an eyesore any more. There’s a new colour that the world is going gaga over: ultra violet, which US-based colour company Pantone has adjudged as colour of the year. Described by Pantone as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade”, it is quite similar to the new colour it launched last year to pay tribute to American singer-songwriter Prince after his demise. The pop icon, who was known to be obsessed with the hue after the success of his album Purple Rain, was not the only one to have had such a penchant for it.
Deemed as the colour of royalty and luxury, the first notable use of the colour can be traced back to ancient Romans, who extracted it from snails and sold it for a high price as a cloth dye. Subsequently, British chemist William Perkins created a buzz in 17th century London with his version of the purple dye. It wasn’t long before members of the royal family picked up on the new invention, adopting it as a signature look for the monarchy.
In more recent times, the hue was used to create a neutral platform (instead of using pink) to complement the International Women’s Day #PressforProgress campaign this year. The colour also has a spiritual connection. As per Ruchi Kumar, a New Delhi-based feng shui consultant and tarot card reader, purple is strongly linked with the balance of energy in one’s body. “Purple, being a mixture of red and blue, contains the energy of red combined with the integrity of blue. When both the components are in balance, it is likely for an individual to have a greater spiritual connection,” she says.
Lucknow-based interior designer Poonam Singh recommends it for home decor too. “Lighter shades, such as lavender, lilac and mauve, create a soothing environment to come back to after a hectic day of work,” says Singh. When Pantone declared it as the colour of the year, it said, “Ultra violet’s association with forward-thinking vision has made it a source of inspiration for the most innovative players in business and technology.”
It couldn’t have been more right, as many companies have been utilising innovative ways to display the hue in their products. A few leading examples would be companies such as NBC Universal, Instagram and Twitch, all of whom have weaved purple shades into their brand identity in one form or the other. Tech industry giant Samsung, meanwhile, has launched its flagship smartphones of the
year (the Galaxy S9 and S9+) in lilac purple. The handsets were launched globally at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Wearable technology company Fitbit, too, recently launched Fitbit Ace, a fitness tracker for those aged eight years and above, in two colours, including purple. As inspired as the tech industry seems by the colour, it’s the enthusiasm of the fashion industry that’s turning heads. The runways at the bi-annual couture show, New York Fashion Week, proved that there is no escaping from the colour. Launching the fall collection this February, the runway saw all shades of the hue—from light pastels to deep plums and mauves to magentas—dominating the stage.
Brands such as US-based Creatures of Comfort and fashion designers such as Brandon Maxwell, Victoria Beckham and Mansur Gavriel, among others, have also embraced it. Even Indian e-retail fashion sites such as Myntra, Jabong, Shein, Limeroad and Zivame have given in to the trend and have the royal colour splashed across their virtual inventory. While purple lends itself well to fashion, it also compliments patisserie items.
If Noida-based Gaurav Wadhwa, owner, Theos, is to be believed, the colour is deemed trendy even amongst bakers, as it is creative and eccentric. “For everything—from clothes to decor to food—this (purple) is the main element being used. That’s why even Theos succumbed to its charming brightness to make desserts more eye-catching,” he says. If one were to walk into the bakery, the main dessert attractions to try would be the macaroons, blueberry cheesecake and rainbow pastry, all in different shades of purple and all known to fly off the shelves fast.