After the unsettling uncertainties of the last two years, it feels like 2022 needs a fresh new start – and that was precisely the thinking at Pantone, who have gone off grid to create a never-before-seen hue all of its own for their Colour of the Year, Very Peri. A periwinkle blue with an undertone of red violet, the shade has been designed to capture the strangeness of these times, as well as herald in a bright new future. And the fashion world has already embraced the colour, with Very Peri shades appearing on the runway since last spring.
The new colour is a result of almost a year’s worth of research and trend forecasting from the Pantone Colour Institute, which begins looking at trends in the late spring. This year, it was particularly difficult to choose a shade that encapsulated the global mood. “This is a really different time,” said Pantone Colour Institute vice president Laurie Pressman. “How do we capture this moment with the world in transformation as it is? How can we come up with something that symbolises the global zeitgeist and the transition the world is going through?”
The result was Very Peri, with the blue family used as a starting off point due to the familiarity, comfort and love many people have for blue tones. But Pantone was also keen to relay a sense of freshness, a nod towards the future and a reflection of the increasingly digitalised world we all live in, which is where the red violet undertone comes in. The shade was also inspired by the natural world and wellness, with lilac, lavender and periwinkle plants offering a sense of calm during times of chaos.
Considering its bold hue, the colour is a surprisingly versatile one. “It works in so many colour combinations, from the neutrals and more sophisticated colours all the way up to the more sprightly, brighter colours,” said Pantone Colour Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman. “It’s not a colour that you would think of having that flexibility. Yet it is, when you start to work with it.” Whether on trouser suits or cutaway dresses, exaggerated ballgowns or Sixties-style shift dresses, one thing is clear: the shade offers a welcome breath of fresh air after so many months of excruciating sameness, evoking dynamism, creativity, imagination and a sense of moving ahead. “We’re very excited about it because it is a new Pantone colour,” said Eiseman. “This is the first time for Colour of the Year that we have ever done that.”
The striking shade has been popping up in some of the biggest fashion house’s collections over the last few seasons. Valentino was one of the first to incorporate the colour, with a full Very Peri ensemble – complete with a chic short cape and eye-catching feathered hat – appearing on their haute couture catwalk for autumn 2021. Several other designers followed suit the following season, with Lanvin showcasing a pleated mini dress in the shade and Alberta Ferretti and Gucci sending regal purple gowns down the runway. It entered the menswear sphere, too, with Virgil Abloh featuring styles in Veri Peri in his final collection for Louis Vuitton. Here is our edit of the best Very Peri pieces to shop now.