It’s what gave the capital city of Oz its signature tint, Elizabeth Taylor her sparkle and Roman emperor Nero improved eyesight. And now, the shade that reportedly experienced its heyday during the 1980s is making a comeback, thanks in part to color corporation Pantone.
Every year, Pantone polls designers and brands about colors they’re featuring to aid in its decision for what hue will tinge the next 12 months. For 2013, the company has bestowed the distinction of Color of the Year on the shade its database identifies as 17-5641: Emerald Green.
“Green is the most abundant hue in nature — the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a press release. “It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity — no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.”
The firm characterized emerald as “vivid, verdant” and “promoting balance and harmony,” according to the release. In contrast, 2012’s “spirited” hue Tangerine Tango “provided the energy boost we needed to recharge and move forward.”
Eiseman said in the release that emerald is easily applicable to fashion and to interior design. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Elizabeth Moss have already helped the hue make a resurgence by sporting clover-green gowns at the 2011 Golden Globes. More recently, designers such as Tracy Reese, Nanette Lepore and Marimekko have shown emerald garments in their Spring 2013 collections. Home goods retailers have also incorporated the lush tone into their product lines: JCPenney will debut Pantone Emerald bedding, accessories, pillows and towels in February. A 2013 Color of the Year collection will appear on cosmetics vendor Sephora’s shelves in March as well.
Although retailers have embraced Pantone’s choice, emerald has garnered mixed reactions in the design community.
“It’s a happy-go-lucky color,” Steven Stolman, president of furniture and fabric supplier Scalamandré and the self-described “only Jewish member of the Irish Georgian Society,” told the Los Angeles Times via email. “Although I’ve never really been comfortable with the green beer [on St. Patrick's Day], I love emerald green for jewelry, of course, and clothing.”
Cathy Callahan, a craft enthusiast who lives in L.A., said she hadn’t considered using emerald in her work. She has, however, contemplated adding mint — reportedly the “it” color for the upcoming spring — to her palate of turquoise and teal.
“I’m not on board yet with Emerald,” Callahan told the Times, “but I guess I’ll have to give it a thought.”