January 6, 2013

For 2013, green cleans up

Looking for luxe in all the wrong places? Trend spotters suggest taking your interiors on a trip to emerald city.

By DEBBIE ARRINGTON McClatchy Newspapers

The Wizard of Oz would be green with envy. That icon of the Emerald City undoubtedly would agree it's the perfect shade. So would the residents of "Downton Abbey."

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But the 2013 Color of the Year? How much Emerald can one real-life home hold?

Trend forecaster Pantone Color Institute picked Emerald -- a rich bluish green -- as its must-have, go-to hue for fashion and home decor. It's a color-wheel 180 from Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango, and has drawn strong reaction from interior designers and home experts.

"I love the idea of emerald in our interiors," said Sacramento interior designer Kerrie Kelly, noting that her name does give her an inclination toward green. "When using green, you can go bold with a wall or drapery treatment or keep it quiet by using it to simply accent a space through pillows and accessories. Any lacquered piece in emerald green is sure to be a showstopper."

"What were they thinking?" said Mary Lawlor, manager of color marketing for San Francisco-based Kelly-Moore Paints. "That pick is causing quite a stir. Pantone is the industry leader, but ... it's somewhat bizarre.

"It's kind of difficult to put it back into the home," Lawlor added. "For many people, it's a flashback to your parents' living room and big green couch."

Emerald immediately brings to mind brilliant precious gems, said Pantone's color predictors and fashion industry experts. It's sophisticated and luxurious.

But it's a color invested with so much added meaning including growth, renewal, prosperity, healing and unity.

"Green is the most abundant hue in nature," said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone's executive director. "The human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum.

"As it has throughout history, multifaceted emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate," Eiseman said. "Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors."

Emerald already has popped up on runway shows for major fashion designers such as Zac Posen. Makers of home fabrics and furnishings also have jewel-hued greens, ready for consumers.

"There's been a reserved excitement around green recently," said Gina Shaw, York Wallcovering's vice president of product development. "We see this very usable and sophisticated emerald green -- as well as lighter shades of it -- trending in both apparel and home fashions this year."

Said Jennifer McConnell, Pearson Textiles vice president of design, "The look and feel of home decor is trending toward comfort and relaxation. Deep green has long symbolized prosperity and good fortune, and this elegant emerald feels particularly serene."

Emerald fits another over-riding trend for 2013: A longing for luxury.

That may explain our American infatuation with "Downton Abbey," the opulent British costume drama set in an immense Victorian mansion. (Season three premieres Sunday at 9 p.m.) Coincidentally, the Earl of Grantham's drawing room wall covering is a rich almost-emerald green.

"The word for 2013 is luxe," said Katie Reynolds, Ace Hardware's national design expert. "People are coming out of the lean years and they want to put the luxe back in their homes.

"In 2013, we'll see a lot of rich colors -- glamorous purples, deep browns, jewel tones," Reynolds said. "Grays have been hot for a while, but we'll see a lot of rich, deep tones such as slate and especially charcoal.

"I love emerald and jade," she added. "I love the glamour and what those colors invoke."

Bold colors lead to bold patterns. Expect to see geometric prints in home furnishings and wallpaper plus ethnic-inspired Ikat and Moroccan designs. Subtle ombre shading also is in.

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