The Color Purple: Pantone insists 2014's Radiant Orchid is more than just purple

The Color Purple: Pantone insists 2014's Radiant Orchid is more than just purple

December 23rd, 2013 by Karen Nazor Hill in Life Entertainment

Expect to find radiant orchid in light and dark shades.

Expect to find radiant orchid in light and...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Expect to find radiant orchid in light and dark shades.

Expect to find radiant orchid in light and...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Vanessa Bishop wears a purple Gloria asymmetrical button shirt dress by Corey $209. Fashion courtesy of Frankie & Julian's.

Vanessa Bishop wears a purple Gloria asymmetrical button...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

Emerald green is so last year.

The new must-have color for 2014 is ... drum roll, please ... radiant orchid. And though it may look like plain old purple, radiant orchid is a "captivating, magical, enigmatic purple," according to Pantone, the company that claims global authority on color trends and recently revealed radiant orchid as the color of the year.

Still, to the naked eye, it's a shade of purple.

"While the 2013 color of the year, emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, radiant orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a news release. "An invitation to innovation, radiant orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society.

"An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, radiant orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm," she says.

Pantone says radiant orchid's multifaceted hue is "seductive" when combined with red and it pairs well with its "sister shades" of lavender, purple and pink. It also can be paired with olive and hunter greens, turquoise and teal, light yellows, gray, beige and taupe, the company says.

Suzanne West, owner of Frankie & Julian's fashion boutique on Frazier Avenue, says the color is already showing up in fashions.

"Radiant orchid is actually a welcome change from past years' tangerine and emerald (previous Pantone Color of the Year shades)," she says. "It is a more mellow color, yet still vibrant and lots of industries will jump on this, such as fashion, home decor, etc. The color is a mix of purple, fuchsia, and pink and will be good on most skin tones as well."

The shade flatters most hair colors, too, she says.

"Traditional purple, for example, is not great on redheads, but orchid is actually nice on redheads -- a little more 'mauve-ish' is a great color for redheads, but it's a great shade for all other hair colors," West says.

It's also good for men, she says.

"Purple is trending right now with certain menswear, but I am not a fan of purple shirts and jackets, but ties and other little pops of purple I like," West says. "Also, I think smaller pops of purple are more how your average man would interpret that trend."

Dr. Tony Leach of Chattanooga says he likes the color purple. Leach, a doctor of optometry and owner of Epic Optical in downtown Chattanooga, is often seen sporting shades of purple in his wardrobe, particularly sweaters and ties.

"I do like and wear purple quite a bit," he says. "It's a very versatile color. It looks good with black, grey and tan slacks or suits. I also like pink but I have noticed that purple is the most dominant accent color this year and it doesn't surprise me that it is the Color of the Year for 2014."

Leach says he also expects the color to show up in eyewear.

"We can custom order almost any color frame but we do have several styles in orchid and purple," he says.

Leach's wife, Denise Leach, a Chattanooga-based Realtor, says she thinks purple works for her husband, but for her? Not so much.

"With his brown eyes and salt-and-pepper hair, it is a good color for him," she says. "For me, though, I may use purple to accessorize, but it's not my favorite color."

Local fashion model and former Miss Black Tennessee Lorean Mays says she's a fan of purple.

"There are different hues that work well for everyone, however, you have to do a little research and trying out different shades to find which is right for you," she says. "Finding the perfect shade has to do with you knowing your undertones. I have green undertones in my skin so I go for a more jewel tone (royal purple) or lilac. I think we will see more of it due to the color trend this upcoming year."

The Pantone pick will also show up in weddings in 2014, says Sonali Lamba, co-founder of, an online retailer of bridesmaid dresses and accessories.

"Radiant orchid has become a popular choice for bridesmaids as it flatters a variety of skin tones, but it also serves as a nice complement to various color palettes, including shades of mint and coral," Lamba says. "Since it is officially the 'color of the year,' we can expect to see it in dresses for bridesmaids or pocket squares for groomsmen, but also as an accent in paper products, flowers, specialty cocktails and table linens."

The new shade of purple will also show up soon in cosmetics, as well as interiors including paint, accent piece and decorative accessories, Pantone reports.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at or 423-757-6396.