With the announcement from Pantone, in early December, that the Colour for 2013 is Pantone 17-5641 Emerald Green, I set about to do a little research on the history of this colour and its use in fashion.
As a colour, green has both positive and negative connotations. On the positive side, it is the colour of renewal and rejuvenation and therefore the colour of new life in many cultures and religions. Because it is associated with the Emerald gemstone, it is perceived as sophisticated and luxurious.
On the minus side it is the colour of envy, and often used in references to death, illness, and the devil. It is also used to describe people with little experience e.g. greenhorn – and therefore is not a popular colour for business wear.
Although some shades of green have been fashionable for a while e.g. lime green, turquoise and chartreuse, emerald green has been less popular in the fashion world. The “A-listers” rarely wear it at red carpet events. As the complementary colour to red it also can make even the most elegant ball gown look unnervingly like a Christmas tree. It has, however, been worn successfully by Angelina Jolie, and the Duchess of Cambridge pulled off a very elegant Jenny Packham dress in green during and Olympic event in 2012.
On the silver screen the colour was worn by the character Scarlett O’Hara, in “Gone With the Wind” and more recently by Keira Knightly in Atonement. Her dress in the film was emblematic of inexperience, a symbol of her sister’s envy and ultimately the omen of untimely death.
Will the colour catch on with the general public? It’s hard to say. The High Street will produce various tones, shades and hues of Emerald Green, so in theory, chosen carefully, there is a shade that may suit everyone. As a style statement for most of us, wearing this colour head to toe may be a risky option – after all who wants to look like an elf or leprechaun? But small splashes of colour in accessories and handbags will be the easiest way for most of us to wear the colour. For just a few pounds you can also purchase green nail varnish (and green lipstick) but if you’re not careful you could end up looking like a blue cheese – slightly mouldy around the edges!