COLOR OF THE YEAR
MARSALA PANTONE 18-1438
Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.
Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®
Marsala: Pantone's Color of the Year. It's a deep tone of red that compliments any tone of skin. It was carefully selected by Pantone and presented at MAGIC: PROJECT Las Vegas this year on February 18th 2015. One of the example photos featured Rihanna in a stunning and beautiful Marsala colored dress.
Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.
The Versatility of Marsala
- Equally appealing to men and women, Marsala is a stirring and flavorful shade for apparel and accessories, one that encourages color creativity and experimentation
- Flattering against many skin tones, sultry and subtle Marsala is a great
go-tocolor for beauty, providing enormous highlight for the cheek, and a captivating pop of color for nails, shadows lips and hair.
- Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors
- An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury.
The History of Marsala Wine
During the early 1800s, England had a significant military contingent established in Marsala in response to Napolean and the French occupation of Italy. Consequently, as the British discovered the regional wine and wanted to ship it back to the homeland they employed the same strategy that they discovered for making Port in Portugal. This strategy basically consisted of adding a little grape brandy to the local still wine and voila you have a fortified wine that can endure the arduous adventure of ocean shipping without becoming unpalatable gut-rot in the process.How is Marsala Wine Made?Marsala is crafted from local, indigenous white grapes – like Catarratto, Grillo (the most sought after grape for Marsala production) or the highly aromatic Inzolia grape. The ruby-colored Marsalas hail from any combination of three local red grape varietals. The fermentation of Marsala is halted by the addition of a grape brandy when the residual sugar content reaches the pre-determined levels according to the sweet/dry style the maker is shooting for. Similar to the solera system of blending various vintages of Sherry, Marsala often goes through a perpetuum system, where a series of vintage blending takes place.
You may not have heard of Pantone, but the color authorities have been used as an industry resource for decades. After announcing the color of the millennium in 1999 there was so much public interest that Pantone decided to name a color every year based on their extensive research. They’ve also worked with Sephora to create some stunning new makeup to bring the shade to your lips, lids, and cheeks. While there may only be so many ways you can wear radiant orchid or tangerine tango, the new marsala collection, launching in Sephora and on Sephora.com on December 26, is by far the most wearable collaboration.
“This earthy red has wine and a very warm brown underneath, which gives the feeling of groundedness, strength, and confidence,” says Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute. “It has a richness that lends sophistication. When you wear it’s it is a self-fulfilling prophecy—you’ll find you get positive reactions form others and it builds up your confidence.” Eisman explains that we’ve seen glimpses of marsala in the late ‘60s into the ‘70s and a touch in the ‘80s, but it’s a very modern hue that totally suits the times.
So just how is the color chosen? “We have a committee at Pantone and we’re all very well traveled, and we’re all invested in color and looking for clues that engage us,” says Eisman. “If we’re seeing color in high fashion that’s where envelope is pushed first— before it goes more mass market.” Eisman says Pantone also looks to current films in production for settings and wardrobe, the art world, popular travel destinations for indigenous hues, and sporting events for team colors when calculating the next “it” shade. With up to 10 people on the committee how do they narrow it down? “Everyone has strong opinions, but it’s always astounding to me how many people are on the same wavelength thinking the same thing,” says Eisman.
Next it’s on to the Sephora offices. “One we get the color our merchants and product developers go to a lab and we begin to play with product,” says Margarita Arriagada, Sephora’s Chief Merchant. “We really allow it to sit and inspire us. We look at formulas, we think about what’s trending, and we and have our PRO team begin to use it to see if it’s working for a bronzer or a certain product. At that point we define what product delivery we want and give it to Pantone to match the color.” Arrigada says while some products are in the marsala color family, some items like the lipstick deliver true payoff to the Pantone shade.
With nude makeup all the rage on the runway and the red carpet, Arrigada thinks of marsala like a new neutral for all skin tones. “Every year we say the challenge is how to shake it up a little bit and make a splash, but we could tell immediately with this particular shade that we’d have more versatility.” She suspects the lipstick and 24-shade eye palette will be the first to fly off shelves. “Marsala is a color that I would not say to just use in touches or accents—it’s strong enough to stand on its own,” says Eisman. “In makeup it’s a shoe-in because women are familiar with this type of color in nail polish and lipsticks.” As a color expert, Eisman suggests pairing the shade with teal and aqua across the color wheel.
In terms of wearability, Gilbert Soliz, a Sephora PRO artist who worked on the campaign, calls it “client-friendly” for a wide range of skin tones and eye colors. “Depending how you wear it, the color goes from sultry to simple. You can use the shade in a sheer soft way, wrap it around the eye, wear it on your cheek, wear it on the lips—it really is a wearable shade.” And the color may bring you one step closer to looking like a supermodel. “The color immediately reminded me of Cindy Crawford back in the ‘90s with that monochromatic look. The full brows, tan skin, brown bricky red lips.”