Those who purchase clothing often pay little attention to colour and variation – simply due the offerings of sales and retailers. What is well known in the West is that townships filled with retired people will be filled with people wearing aquamarine blue; and those places populated by the aged can reliably witness those wearing purple, violet or high violet hues like this. Here, Magenta is celebrated as the incoming colour for year 2023.
For example, many wear colours of the planets on their days during the week, i.e.,
Sunday – Red – Surya (Sun)
Monday – White – Chandra (Moon)
Tuesday – Red – Kuja (Mars)
Wednesday – Green – Budha (Mercury)
Thursday – Yellow – Brihaspati (Jupiter)
Friday – White – Shukra (Venus)
Saturday – Black (or Blue) – Shani (Saturn )
Others prefer to wear colours of the chakra:
Here, Magenta is celebrated as the incoming colour for year 2023
Laurie Pressman, Pantone’s vice president, says Viva Magenta represents a prevailing desire for optimism, resilience, outside-the-box thinking and technological innovation so as to create a better world.
“We’re living in a time where so many people have been aggressive; that’s what’s needed to go forward,” she says. “We need courage, bravery, but we’re looking for something that promotes joy and is fun. Life right now is unconventional and challenging in many ways – I think we’re looking for things that help us escape.”
If it seems like purple prose, it is worth remembering that colour is central to the human experience as a means of storytelling, communication and connection, points out James Fox, the Cambridge art historian and author of The World According to Colour.
“It seems like a good and apposite choice for a period when everything feels very grey, dark and murky, and lots of people have lost hope. Essentially it’s a colour about the resilience of the human spirit.”
For all its unnatural, even digital-seeming appearance, magenta is evocative of clays, cave paintings, even the colours of the galaxy; the earliest plant life on Earth, predating chlorophyll, was believed to be a similar purplish shade. “It’s this colour that kind of fizzes on the retina, that vibrates – you can’t quite pin it down,” says Fox.
Indeed, he says, magenta is a manmade “concoction” that emerged in the mid-19th century following the serendipitous invention of mauveine, the first synthetic aniline dye. Its huge commercial success inspired others in Europe to chase after more.
Magenta, straddling the line between red and blue, is not only apolitical; it is essentially unifying, says Fox. Partly ultraviolet, partly infrared, it “doesn’t exist on the spectrum … but it somehow encapsulates the whole range of colours that we can see – and also some that we can’t.”
It might make Viva Magenta Pantone’s most self-referential colour of the year yet: slippery yet undeniable, just like the passage of time, and its corresponding shades. “How do you ignore this colour?” says fashion expert. “You can’t.”