Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fashion mavens dictate hot colour

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Even though your driveway is currently lined by snowbanks the size of the Grand Canyon, there is just one more sleep until spring officially arrives, and all you would-be stylish persons know exactly what that means.

It means it's time for Mr. Doug's Annual Fashion Report, wherein I, a middle-aged, overweight newspaper columnist who believes he is well-dressed if all the mustard stains on his T-shirt are the same shade, explains what you, the gullible fashion victim, will be wearing this season to cover up your hideously pasty bodies.

What with spring literally around the corner, the important thing to remember is tasteful readers should be perched on their couches in their underpants waiting patiently for Mr. Doug to reveal the colour scheme their cutting-edge wardrobes will be legally required to showcase this spring.

Well, the waiting is over, because Mr. Doug has just read an authoritative news release from the style gurus at the Pantone Color Institute, the global authority on every shade under the rainbow, and the Colour of the Year for 2014 is... OK, everyone hold on for a minute while Mr. Doug looks at the news release again... "Radiant Orchid!" Seriously, this year's hot colour is Radiant Orchid?

Mr. Doug knows what you are thinking. You are thinking: "What sort of (bad word) colour is Radiant Orchid?"

Well, as far as Mr. Doug can tell without doing any actual research, it is some kind of purple. But you don't have to take Mr. Doug's word for it. Here is a direct quote wherein the fashionistas at Pantone explain: "Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple -- one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

As a famous fashion maven, Mr. Doug has one important question for the experts at Pantone: "Have you people been smoking crack, or what?"

Ha ha ha. Mr. Doug is just kidding in a light-hearted manner because he does not want the Pantone Color Institute's high-powered lawyers to slap him with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that would crush him like a grape, which, by virtue of its natural skin tone, would be at the leading edge of fashion this season.

The fashion industry is telling you that, without taking another breath -- which means you will eventually turn purple, which is the fashion industry's stated goal -- you must go to your closets and throw out all the clothes featuring last year's hot colour, which happened to be Emerald Green, which made you look like Kermit the Frog, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, and/or a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan.

Emerald Green was an even more disturbing choice than the 2012 colour of the year, namely Tangerine, which resulted in trendy persons resembling mutant Creamsicles with legs. But we think the fashion industry has gone too far this time, because the truth is absolutely no one looks good wearing purple, with the possible exception of the guy who played the grape in those TV ads for Fruit of the Loom underpants.

Even our kids hated the colour, because they grew up in a generation forced to watch a television show featuring the antics of Barney, a purple dinosaur who conveyed educational messages through song-and-dance routines coupled with a relentlessly cheerful attitude that caused modern parents to fling their TV sets out their living-room windows in a blinding flash of purple rage.

In the Pantone news release, executive director Leatrice Eiseman said the institute's staff combed the world before deciding on Radiant Orchid, which, quote, "encourages expanded creativity and originality."

We personally believe Pantone simply spilled a package of M&Ms on the floor, then released Frederico the Fashion Hamster, and whichever colour Frederico ate first -- PRESTO! -- that became the colour of the year.

Here is what Mr. Doug wants to know: Are we going to sit still for that? Are we going to allow an uncaring fashion industry to dictate what colour we wear?

Mr. Doug says no! Mr. Doug says it's time to fight back. Mr. Doug wants everyone who feels the same way to protest by holding their breath until... Oops!

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2014 A2

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