In the wake of worldwide strife and post-pandemic norms, Pantone’s 2024 Color of the Year Peach Fuzz is meant to soothe with a sense of softness.
Officially known as Pantone 13-1023, the shade is considered more of a “cozy peach” that delivers the promise of togetherness, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Aside from its culinary appeal, Peach Fuzz registers as easily in fashion and interiors as it does in the digital sphere. So much so, that is how Pantone crafted its hero image for Thursday’s big reveal.
The choice is a switch from the post-COVID-19 celebratory colors that helped to shake consumers out of the gray malaise that hovered over many after months of stay-at-home orders. Viva Magenta, Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year, was all about strength and optimism. But this time around the Pantone team thought the timing was right to do something that was more of a compassionate color with a heartfelt feeling.
“It’s not like everything in the world is OK now, now that COVID-19 is pretty much contained. We know that there are still a lot of other problems that are happening universally,” said Eiseman, who noted world events like the Israel-Hamas conflict and the war in Ukraine have some people seeking sentiments of warmth.
“Nestled between pink and orange,” the shade is more along the lines of a Champagne-infused Bellini at Cipriani’s than a Georgia peach. Like the tang of peach’s taste, the Pantone version is “not as sweet as pink icing,” Eiseman said. “We know that bartenders all over the world are experimenting with new colors and drinks. I would expect that we are going to see a lot of peach-colored drinks being offered in restaurants, bars and smoothies. There is a lot of opportunity for that.”
Interestingly, variations of Peach Fuzz have not been awash on many designer runways as of late. But they can be found in “Women Dressing Women,” the just-opened exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, including a 1911-12 jupe culotte evening ensemble Marie Angenard for Jeanne Hallee and a 1923 Madeleine & Madeleine dress. Traces of it can also be found in a more contemporary Rodarte gown on display at the Fifth Avenue museum. On the West Coast, Peach Fuzz is sprinkled into the gingerbread house-inspired Mytheresa x Flamingo Estate holiday showcase in Los Angeles.
As the name suggests, Peach Fuzz is a tactile hue and one that people want to reach out and touch. Embracing as it is, the color counters some of the turmoil swirling around the world. Through its ongoing color word association studies, participants routinely respond to peach tones with terms like “nurturing,” “empathy” and “compassion.”
“What we felt came out of that was a desire for togetherness and reaching out to touch others. But at the same time, an important point is to grant yourself permission for quiet time to enrich your mind, body and soul,” Eiseman said.
Such tactility could convey cocooning or wrapping one’s self in that color, whether that be in clothing, interior design or a blanket. Its neutrality can be used as backdrops for contemporary and more traditional art alike, Eiseman said. With its inherent “furriness,” Peach Fuzz pretty much promises softness, she said. At home or on a person, “it’s always warm — nobody ever described it as being cold.”
Another sign of Peach Fuzz’s longevity is that its inviting connotation never wanes. Unlike some colors, such as green, which can take on newer meanings and has come to be associated “with all things organic and natural,” the peach family remains constant in its warmth. In addition, young consumers, especially Gen Zers who were born after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are growing up in a world that is much more stressful than it ever was before, Eiseman said.
“We have heard a lot of young people say that this kind of softness and ease is what they are looking for…even though we’re not going to discount that good things can still happen. That’s what we’re striving for and that is our aspiration.”
To give consumers a sampling of Peach Fuzz, Pantone is partnering with Motorola to release special editions of two of its devices in the 2024 Color of the Year. There are also limited editions items from Shades by Shan, Ruggable, Ultrafabrics and Spoonflower.