If last year’s choice, Very Peri, was about embracing the strangeness of the last few years, the Pantone Colour of the Year 2023, Viva Magenta, seeks to put that all behind us with a bold new start. Unapologetically bright and vibrant, this year’s shade is a crimson red tone that’s been designed to convey a new signal of strength, as well as promote joy and optimism. And the top fashion houses have already taken note, with Viva Magenta being incorporated into many of their latest collections.
The shade itself sits somewhere between red and blue, both warm and cool, and is described by the Pantone Colour Institute as “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time”. The new Pantone Colour of the Year 2023 is a result of almost a year’s worth of research and trend forecasting, during which time the colour-matching company analyses key hues within art, fashion, design and beyond to find one shade that not only captures the current zeitgeist, but also sets to the tone for the year to come.
“We are looking at a colour that highlights our change of perspective, that spotlights our need to feel empowered, and that is infusing us with strength that we can courageously and positively and fearlessly embrace a new pathway with confidence,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Colour Institute, in a recent interview.
The team also revealed that the hybrid crimson red colour has its roots in nature, with inspiration drawn from the cochineal beetle. These small insects, native to parts of North and South America, produce carmine dye, one of the world’s most vivid natural dyes. But while the shade may draw from the natural world, it is also forward-facing and seeks to embrace the digital world.
As part of that, Pantone will be displaying the hue through several partnerships with companies including Motorola, NASA and Lenovo, all of which form the basis of a new immersive exhibition at Miami’s technology and art studio ARTECHOUSE that promises to fully introduce visitors to the ‘Magentaverse’. “We feel it’s a colour that reflects the global innovation and transformation that’s taking place, as well as being a colour that highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us,” said Pressman.
The striking hue has been featured in some of the biggest fashion house’s collections over the last few seasons. At Gucci it’s brightened up double-breasted blazers, while at Loewe the sumptuous shade has been used for head-turning ballgowns. It also works brilliantly in accessories, adding a zingy pop of colour to an otherwise more neutral outfit – both Bottega Veneta and Valentino recently revealed bags in the striking hue. It even has the royal seal of approval, with the Princess of Wales stepping out in a magenta Emilia Wickstead coat dress and matching hat recently to receive South Africa’s President Ramphosa. Here is our edit of the best Viva Magenta pieces to shop now.