Introducing Pantone’s 2023 Color Of The Year—Welcome To The Magentaverse!

Christopher John Rogers, spring 2023 ready-to-wear. Photo: Jonas Gustavsson / Courtesy of Christopher John Rogers

Vigor. Progression. Strength. Nature. Renewal. These were just a few of the words that recurred when Vogue checked in with the leading lights at Pantone—the globally-recognized sorter and systemizer of color—to discover which amongst its thousands-strong spectrum has been identified as its Color of the Year for 2023.

That color is 18-1750 Viva Magenta. Speaking on a preview Zoom this week before this evening’s big reveal at Art Basel Miami, Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman said: “It’s brave, it’s fearless, it’s pulsating, and it promotes optimism and joy.” 

The Viva Magenta shade was introduced to the Pantone color range in 2019. And its rapid rise to star status in part reflects events that have happened since then. As Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute said: “this is an unconventional color for an unconventional time. And the biggest overriding factor in shaping the time has been our experience with COVID in forcing us to make changes that willingly or not have transformed our lifestyles.”

Darrel Hunter / @huntermode

Pantone’s process for selecting the color it thinks syncs most with the spirit of the moment combines methodological research and gut instinct. During a presentation on our call Eiseman and Pressman pointed to a plethora of spontaneously generated magenta sightings sourced from fashion, cosmetics, concept car design, digital art, social media, and even the highlights in magician Criss Angel’s hairstyle. This exercise in color-coded anthropology convinced them of Viva Magenta’s contemporary cultural currency. They then asked themselves why the carmine red—whose dye was originally sourced from the cacti-consuming cochineal—was the subject of such broad consensus now. Their conclusion? Pressman said: “We are looking at a color 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.”

Take that as you will—my personal preference is with a pinch of salt—but there is no doubt that the 18-1750 Viva Magenta is an oomphy, sophisticated shade of red that delivers powerful value to the eye (it looks especially excellent modeled by Jennifer Lopez on Vogue’s November cover). Pantone is looking to parlay that value via a swathe of synergistic partnerships with companies including Motorola, NASA, Lenovo, and more. The fruits of all of these will be part of an immersive exhibition stewarded by Miami’s intersectional technology/art studio ARTECHOUSE, opening this Sunday, that promises to envelop visitors in the ‘Magentaverse.’ Added Pressman: “we feel it’s a color that reflects the global innovation and transformation that’s taking place, as well as being a color that highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us.”

Below, some beauty products to try in 2023’s Pantone color of the year.

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