TORONTO - Long before everyone else prepared to turn the page on 2012, trend forecasters have been on the fast track to 2013 with projections of the hot hues expected to make a colourful splash in the months ahead.
Burgundy and wine-coloured shades like bordeaux, merlot and oxblood emerged among the popular hues of the past year, popping up in everything from boots and bags. But the days of one lone "it" shade eclipsing all others are likely over.
Fortunately, there are several options for those seeking a colour infusion for their walls or their wardrobe to suit their tastes heading into the New Year.
Among the collection of earthy tones, cool colours and bold hues featured in its 2013 Colour Trends Guide, paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore singled out lemon sorbet as its standout shade for the year ahead.
In settling on its colour of the year, they're trying to decipher which paint colours will work for the backdrop and pair well with other shades within the space, said Benjamin Moore colour and design spokeswoman Sharon Grech.
SEE: The hot colours in home and fashion for 2013. Story continues below:
"Whether it's pastels or even golds and sort of stronger yellows, you're seeing a lot of it in accessories like handbags and fashion jewelry and accessories and clothes," said Grech. "We went to the lemon sorbet as a nice light pastel that can handle accessorizing with any other pastels, whether it's baby blue, that Tiffany blue, corals and mint green.
"Even if you've got a real neutral (environment) with greys and camels, a hint of lemon sort of spices things up a bit. It's a little more exciting than grey or beige on the wall."
Consumers can also expect to be seeing plenty more green in 2013.
Emerald was already cropping up on spring fashion runways in September as well as surfacing in cosmetics when Pantone LLC announced the vibrant green shade as its colour of the year for 2013 in December.
Kitchen appliances are already being seen saturated in the shade, and consumers can anticipate bedding and dishware among the range of emerald-hued items, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute. The institute is Pantone's research division, which creates colour standards for the fashion, beauty and home industries.
The colour prognosticator's annual forecast of the future hot hue factors in numerous influences from film and TV to graphic design and fashion. Pantone's 2012 colour of the year, Tangerine Tango, saw the vibrant reddish-orange shade featured in everything from wall coverings to linens.
Eiseman recalled several years ago seeing a top designer showcasing a handbag in emerald and thinking to herself she hadn't seen the colour in some time. She tucked the image away and during her travels started to see the distinctive green shade surface in many different areas beyond fashion.
"Are we seeing a lot more of it as we're going forward? And the answer would be yes," Eiseman said in a phone interview from Bainbridge Island, Wash. "It's not wide-sweeping yet, but I feel strongly enough about it that I have seen the ascendancy of the colour, and that's really what I'm trying to judge.
"How much of is it being used, and is that more than three years ago? Is it less than three years ago. Was it out there three years ago at all? All of those things have to enter in."
In addition to its colour of the year forecast, Pantone also assembled key colour and design themes for home furnishings and interior designs for 2013.
The nine distinct palettes are designed to be reflective of the moods suited towards different lifestyles and tastes, Eiseman noted. She said the Connoisseur palette features shades of lavender and mauve that speak to the "Downton Abbey" influence. The colour purple is featured prominently among costumes worn in the hit drama.
"To present one palette of colour and say, 'Here, run with it. This is it.' I mean, that was fine back in the 70s when you said to people: 'Avocado, harvest gold maybe a touch of orange ... end of story.' That doesn't work anymore," said Eiseman.
"People today know that their home is a haven, that this is a place where they want to have an expression of who they are, they want to be comfortable there, they want to create something that speaks of them and their comfort level."
Isham Sardouk, senior vice-president of trend forecasting for Stylesight, envisions teal — a hybrid between green and blue — emerging as a go-to hue.
Sardouk has been involved with trend forecasting for the last 20 years and regularly looks to the art world for a window into what's up and coming.
He recalled artists including Gary Hume and Peter Halley using gradiations of blues and greens in their paintings, from which the Stylesight team drew inspiration for incorporating teal into their trend forecast.
Sardouk describes the process of prognosticating as "always an evolution," channelling influences both past and present from various disciplines such as music, art, architecture, design and fashion.
The team travels to trade shows, fashion events and a variety of international destinations to pool together a large breadth of information that is whittled down into distinctive trends for each season.
"I'm always looking for what's going to surprise me and what's going to make me curious," Sardouk said from London.
"I'm always keeping an eye on things that are new and intriguing and interesting, and once we identify those things, then we start to dig deeper behind."
In addition to teal, Sardouk and his team have identified several other key colour groups for fall-winter 2013 for application in fashion, interiors and cosmetics. Among them: an array of purples from electric hues to aubergine; various shades of berry from pink to more muted tones like burgundy; and quartz, a minty seafoam green.
Sardouk said gold in general will be important in interior decoration, fabrics and beauty and will have a presence in a variety of shades such as orange and yellow.
Sardouk said they work 18 months ahead of the season. Once the current crop of colours and must-have styles are out on the market and fashion shows have taken place, Sardouk and his colleagues assemble a "forecast confirmation" — examining whether their predictions stacked up with reality.
"Very often we have a 99 per cent accuracy in our trend forecast," he said.
"It's almost like a science — but we prove that the science is also accurate."
Back in 2010, Sardouk recalled a passion for African-inspired themes, with the team building a trend around African heritage, culture and folklore. A year later, British fashion house Burberry — which is not a Stylesight client — unveiled their resort collection with African-inspired prints and virtually identical colours, said Sardouk.
The "East is the new West" message for spring-summer 2013 also came to pass, with fashion labels like Prada channelling Japanese culture with kimono-inspired styles.
"I think a lot of it has to do (with) that it is in the zeitgeist. It is in the air," Sardouk said.
"And all of us, we tend to go almost to the same places, whether in London, we go to the Tate (gallery) or ... in New York we go to the same sources of great books and great museums. All of the design circles go to the same sources more or less."