Purple Power

It’s no secret that menswear has fully embraced pattern and colour over the past few seasons, with many men becoming much more adventurous with their styling and clothing choices.

Even though the global SS14 fashion weeks featured a lot more monochrome palettes than we are perhaps used to – black on black and white on white outfits were particularly prevalent – true to recent form, the majority of designer collections incorporated bold, warm-weather-appropriate hues.

However, amongst a sea of pastel shades and fluoro brights, one colour in particular came to the fore…

Pantone Colour Of The Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

Every year, Pantone, an X-Rite company and global authority on colour and professional colour standards for the design industry, singles out a specific shade as their ‘Colour Of The Year’.

It is picked after a painstaking and rigorous selection process in which colour usages in every visually oriented industry – from film and entertainment to design, fashion and tourism – are taken into consideration.

For 2014 that shade is ‘Radiant Orchid’ (Pantone 18-3224):

Pantone Colour of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, claims that“Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination.” She adds: “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.

An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

When applied to clothing, this purple hue is said to produce a healthy glow on the skin of the wearer and complements the majority of hair and eye colours.

Purple On The SS14 Runways

Taking into consideration Pantone’s choice for 2014, it should come as no surprise that purple was extremely prevalent on the SS14 runways. Although stereotypically associated with womenswear, the colour infiltrated SS14 menswear collections in both block-colour form and as part of an assortment of prints and patterns.

Some designers opted to include a few select purple garments, creating a variety of statement separates. Stand-out items included Yohji Yamamoto’s wide-legged purple trousers, Acne’s round neck knitted sweater in deep purple and Haider Ackerman’s purple silk-effect trousers with patterned side panels:

Purple on The Acne, Yohji Yamamoto and Haider Ackerman SS14 Runways

Similarly, Andrea Pompilio applied a purple and navy striped pattern to a variety of items, including a two-piece suit, bomber-style jacket and oversized shorts.

Also worth a mention is Pompilio’s two-piece, purple tweed suit, which was paired with mustard and black two-toned shoes (a current footwear trend) for a modern and colourful twist on the heritage aesthetic:

Purple on The Andrea Pompilio SS14 Runways

Other designers wholeheartedly backed purple, making it one of the cornerstones of their palette. For example, Berluti applied deep, rich tones to double-breasted suits, a trench coat and a leather jacket, as well utilising it on accents such as bags and shoes.

Tom Ford continued the purple theme by incorporating several different shades within his collection, including a sharp lavender blazer paired with exotic floral print trousers, a v-neck cable knit jumper in deep purple paired with geometric print purple shorts, and a luxurious jacquard tuxedo jacket complete with floral print in purple and silver:

Purple on The Berlutti and Tom Ford SS14 Runways

At the more casual end of the spectrum, several designers proved that purple can be seamlessly worked into your off-duty wardrobe, too. Bottega Veneta featured a dark purple suede bomber jacket with contrast burgundy cuffs and waistband, along with an oversized baseball-style shirt in the same shade.

Elsewhere, Richard James showcased a range of wearable pieces that made use of different shades of purple. Stand-out items included a suede zip-up jacket in light purple, a pink to purple gradient polo shirt and a purple/pink wool mix jumper paired with a similarly toned cravat. Many of these pieces demonstrated just how well purple and pink (another key colour for SS14) work together, for those men confident enough to try it.

The Paul Smith collection was another that advocated this pink and purple combination. The British designer’s showcase featured a bright purple blazer paired with hot pink trousers, as well as a purple marl sweatshirt complete with a neon pink mushroom motif:

Purple on The Bottega Veneta, Richard James and Paul Smith SS14 Runways

How To Wear

When looking to create your own ensembles, remember to take into account your colour wheel. For those looking for some quick tips on how to wear, we have provided you with some colour guidelines below:

Similar Colours (Easiest To Pair): Blues and pinks.
Contrasting Colours (Harder To Pair): Shades of green or orange.
Complementary Colours (Hardest To Pair): Shades of yellow.

Recommended Combinations: Purple often looks best with Riviera-inspired neutrals such as white, cream and navy. However, shades of grey and green can also work extremely well.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Purple Clothing, Accessories and Key Pieces - Outfit/Lookbook Inspiration

ami ss13j crew ss13river island ss13 life of tailorRamsey Sport ss13digel aw13sisley aw12burton ss13customellow aw13loewe aw12digel aw13Pal Zileri ss13burton ss13
On The High Street

With new season collections already starting to infiltrate high street stores, there are a wide range of purple items currently available, from simple crew neck t-shirts and jumpers to statement-making bomber jackets and chinos, which cater to all tastes and levels of confidence.

For those looking to build up their comfort levels with such a daring hue, consider a purple accessory such as a lightweight scarf, tie or pocket square. These work extremely well as subtle accents and can be seamlessly integrated into your existing looks:

  • Ted Baker Orbita Wool Dinner SuitTed Baker Orbita Wool Dinner Suit
  • Burton Purple Textured JumperBurton Purple Textured Jumper
  • Uniqlo Men Supima Cotton V-neck SweaterUniqlo Men Supima Cotton V-neck Sweater
  • Topman Purple Contrast Short Sleeve Oxford ShirtTopman Purple Contrast Short Sleeve Oxford Shirt
  • River Island Purple Marl Crew Neck T-shirtRiver Island Purple Marl Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Gucci Waffle-knit Wool And Cashmere-blend SweaterGucci Waffle-knit Wool And Cashmere-blend Sweater
  • River Island Purple Slim Suit TrousersRiver Island Purple Slim Suit Trousers
  • Alexander Mcqueen Patterned Woven-cotton Bomber JacketAlexander Mcqueen Patterned Woven-cotton Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Plum Skinny ChinosTopman Plum Skinny Chinos
  • River Island Purple Collar Pin ShirtRiver Island Purple Collar Pin Shirt
  • Boglioli Dover Unstructured Wool BlazerBoglioli Dover Unstructured Wool Blazer
  • Folk Flecked Knitted Cotton SweaterFolk Flecked Knitted Cotton Sweater
  • Tods Suede Driving Shoes 190574Tods Suede Driving Shoes 190574
  • River Island Purple Clear Retro SunglassesRiver Island Purple Clear Retro Sunglasses
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Star-patterned Cotton-blend SocksPaul Smith Shoes & Accessories Star-patterned Cotton-blend Socks
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Queen Cameo Steel-plated Resin CufflinksPaul Smith Shoes & Accessories Queen Cameo Steel-plated Resin Cufflinks
  • Cote&ciel Purple Fabric Ipad PouchCote&ciel Purple Fabric Ipad Pouch
  • Asos Woven ScarfAsos Woven Scarf
Final Word

Designed to be an indicator of the key colour influences within multiple design industries, Pantone’s selection of Radiant Orchid for 2014 has clearly been influenced by last year’s runway previews, with purple stamping its mark on both menswear and womenswear collections for SS14.

A continually underused and underrated colour within men’s fashion, purple is a versatile hue that is able to switch between statement and accent with ease, allowing the wearer to determine just how much attention they are looking to garner.

But now it is time for your opinion: are you willing to give purple a try? Or do you prefer to remain in the shadows rather than blossoming in the sun like a radiant orchid?

As always, we welcome your thoughts and musings below…