Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bead Color Ideas: Pantone Spring 2016

In previous years I’ve always been quick to snatch up new color inspirations via the Pantone Color Institute’s spring and fall picks. This year I’ve sort of dragged my feet, mostly because I find the Colors of the Year totally uninspiring. For the first time ever, there are not one but two annual highlight colors. This should have been pretty exiting except that the colors Pantone chose are Rose Quartz and Serenity – basically baby pink and baby blue.

Pantone Color of the Year 2016

I know that I was quick to reject Rose Quartz and Serenity partly because I’m so very opposed to gendering colors and toys, and these two colors are a pretty strong reminder of a tired custom. But it wasn’t just the baby-ness of the colors that makes them fall flat for me. Although either shade would look fine in an adult garment or piece of jewelry, they’re not exactly exciting. The pink hue in particular, Rose Quartz, looks sun bleached, especially when held up against most of the other colors in this year’s fashion palette. Serenity has a hint of steely gray with lots of potential, but next to an equally soft pink it’s hard not to see outdated onesies. With these two colors leading the pack, I just wasn't eager to explore the new picks.

Pantone Colors of the Year

When I finally got a chance to really browse through the eight other colors in the Spring 2016 color line-up, of course I found plenty of inspirations. Nothing gets ideas flowing like playing with color. Once I tossed out Rose Quartz there were lots of possibilities for trio palettes to experiment with. I wanted to avoid making obvious choices like combining the very crayon-like Fiesta, Buttercup, Green Flash, and Snorkel Blue, as well as find a way to use Serenity that would bring out its moodier, less baby-blue undertones.

Pantone Spring 2016 Fashion Colors

I started with my favorite color in the mix, Snorkel Blue. I’m always keen on shades similar to cobalt, so I wanted to begin where I saw the most potential for inspiration. It took some time to finally decide on a palette for this color. I felt that Fiesta red would be too obvious and Buttercup yellow too easy. I finally matched my blue up with Green Flash, then tried on a few different colors until settling on Limpet Shell, which completes the trio perfectly. For beads I chose transparent cobalt and transparent lime, with some aqua blue Czech teardrops. I love the light in this palette, which would be so great in a lightweight collar or some super long duster earrings.

Spring Lagoon Bead Color Idea
Spring Lagoon

For the next trio I started with Buttercup. I knew that Fiesta would have to go with it, as it’s much too orange and would look garish next to most of the remaining colors. The final addition was Serenity, which looks much more blue next to these bright hues. Likewise, the softness of the blue seems to have a cooling effect on the red and yellow as well. For the beads, I picked some lustered lemon seed beads and lovely translucent red Java glass rondelles. The closest thing in my stash to Serenity blue was a pair of Picasso coins in a pastel aqua. I’d definitely want to use this trio with bead embroidery with lots of overlapping circles and whorls.

You Can't Take the Sky From Me Bead Color Idea
You Can't Take the Sky From Me

The three remaining colors make up a lovely pastel palette with Peach Echo, Lilac Gray, and this year’s neutral, Iced Coffee. I love this trio for spring, especially with the watermelon-esque Peach Echo. This is a hardworking pink that look's like it would be at home just about anywhere. For beads I started with my closest pink match – gel sol rainbow rose seed beads. Lavender-lined 6/o seed beads stand in pretty well for Lilac Gray and are a good match in finish. I finished this trio with some voluta shell heishi which look gorgeous next to these two candy hues. Although I’d love to use this palette in a multistrand piece, I think the voluta spacers would look much better as accents for a cuff or a fringed lariat.

Iced Peaches Pantone Pastel Bead Color Idea
Iced Peaches

Now that I've given the Spring 2016 colors a chance, they're providing all kinds of inspirations. The round up is much better off without Rose Quartz, although I wouldn't mind seeing that one with some chocolate and mint, or perhaps midnight black.

Which Spring 2016 color is your favorite?


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  1. Of all the colours, I think I like Buttercup the best. I'm not a big fan of the paler colours, and buttercup is such a bright happy yellow. I also love your little nod to Firefly (the Ballad of Serenity of course :D)

    1. Yes! I'm so glad someone caught it. I was going to call the palette Kaylee, but changed my mind.


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