Carried off beautifully by Kaia Gerber, a brilliant shade of golden yellow dazzled in Max Mara's Spring 2019 runway show - Sept 20, 2018

Whether you prefer to call it marigold, saffron, or goldenrod, a certain shade of golden yellow is
very, very in.

Normally, we’re fond of calling out anyone — ourselves included — for making more than a passing nod to yellow. As a trend, it inevitably has the whiff of a copout. After all, yellow is a natural standout. Sheer brightness sets it apart invariably at red carpet premieres, on the sidewalks of fashion weeks, and on the catwalks. Its special vibrancy never fails to attract attention — frequently a bit more than yellow strictly deserves, in all fairness.

With that disclaimer out of the way, we have to flatly admit that more than any other color, yellow has been catching our eye lately. In fact, it’s been out-dazzling itself, especially at a few crucial moments during Spring 2019 Fashion Month. So we’re proclaiming it “The Color of 2019.”

Inescapably, it must be observed that Pantone has yet to make their official selection for the approaching year. But you’ll remember that Ultra Violet was the color authority’s pick for 2018. A pensive, not-so-distant cousin of amethyst, this soft purple tint has indeed had a good year. Likewise, the same can be said for Deep Turquoise and Dark Burgundy, which were our choices for this year’s “Wildcard Colors.”

All three of these drastically different hues (Pantone’s solitary pick, alongside our duo of favorites) have one important thing in common. None of them were what could be termed “popular” in 2018. We can’t speak for Pantone, but on our part, we went into our annual selection knowing full well this would be the case. To be blunt, there wasn’t a breath of a chance that either burgundy or turquoise would explode into full-blown trends. As members of the rainbow go, they’re far too moody. Unlike accessible Sky Blue, or unquenchable Flame Orange, they’re too temperamental to form a united front, catch on, and spread like wildfire.

 

But that’s not the criteria. Let’s be perfectly clear about our intentions here. “The Color of the Year” isn’t a popularity contest. This honorific-verging-on-beatific designation has a lot more to do with aura than with distribution. Widespread or scarce, the real question is this: Did these colors stop us in our tracks? At every startling encounter, did they cause jaws to drop? Did they seem to embody, somehow, the essence of what the year was really all about? We will be bold enough to state that in 2018 the answer for all three — Ultra Violet, Deep Turquoise, and Dark Burgundy — was an unequivocal yes. The backing data, if you care to take a look, can be found here.

That said, our crocus-flavored Color of 2019 is already enjoying some quantitative, not just qualitative, success. On the runways, yellow has been bracing itself for full impact, as it were, in the months ahead. Rallying, quite possibly, for the exact instant we throw out our old calendars and tack up new ones in their places.

Giving us good reason to be confident in our decision, yellow burst like sunbeams through the Spring 2019 collections of Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino, to single out just a few examples. Most breathtakingly of all, a trio of ensembles composed of head-to-toe, muted canary broke the chic tension about one third of the way through a barrage of monochrome and neutral earth tones in Max Mara’s sophisticated lineup. The moment was definitely one of the most stunning highlights of Fashion Month.

This magnificent, resplendent, Max Mara-endorsed yellow is the precise color we’re talking about for 2019. It’s a few shades more brilliant than mustard, but without the lightness of lemon, let alone the angry glare of anything approaching neon. It’s ecstatic, but composed. Glorious, without being imperious.

Which isn’t to say we think 2019 is going to be all sunshine, dandelions and good cheer. Before anyone starts making accusations of over-optimism, we’ll mention that the 2019 Color of the Year runners-up included Obsidian Void Black and Atomic Winter Gray. We’re only half joking, actually. But something about this golden shade of yellow just can’t be swept aside. Right now, it’s simply too ebullient, too invigorating to be assigned the silver medal. And if that says something positive, hopeful even, about our outlook on the year ahead, well, fine then. — jas