Blue Period

Pantone’s newest Color of the Year, Very Peri,
has us all looking to a fanciful future.

By Katie Bianco

Zendaya in Versace at the BET Awards in June 2021 (via WWD)

At the end of 2020, when we were collectively in the throes of a year that saw the onset of a worldwide pandemic, civil unrest, lockdowns and more home bread baking then anyone ever thought possible, Pantone released its 2021 Color of the Year. The pick: a soothing color combo of gray and yellow (or Ultimate Gray and Illuminating to be exact). A little boring perhaps, but at the time maybe we all needed something reliably … regular (call it the banana bread and its tin baking pan of colors).

But for Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022, after year two of pandemic ups and downs, the paint company is using this year’s hue to make a much bolder statement. Whether in fashion, home decor, art—or even the burgeoning metaverse, we’re all ready to step out and take some new chances. What color best encapsulates this shared new lease on life?
Very Peri.

Described as “a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone,” PANTONE 17-3938 is the very first color created especially for the Color of the Year (in all previous years, the color is selected from Pantone’s vast existing catalog). The creation of the color goes along with the theme of reinvention, with Very Peri representing the new era we find ourselves living in. 

“We are living in transformative times. PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through. As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing, and our physical and digital lives have merged in new ways. Digital design helps us to stretch the limits of reality, opening the door to a dynamic virtual world where we can explore and create new color possibilities,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, Pantone Color Institute, in a statement when Pantone announced the Color of the Year.

“With trends in gaming, the expanding popularity of the metaverse and rising artistic community in the digital space PANTONE® 17-3938 Very Peri illustrates the fusion of modern life and how color trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Pantone’s Color of the Year is certainly telling a story. We’ve got our Very Peri stilettos on and we’ll meet you in the metaverse.

Here, as we embark on a thrilling 2022, are a few of our favorite fashion and design moments so far featuring Very Peri.

A St. Louis home featuring de Gournay wallpaper. (Photo by Alise O’Brien via Elle Decor)

More Stories


DC-based designer Anifa Mvuemba on staying true to her hometown, designing for a digital-savvy generation, and how Princess Leia helped her break the internet.

  • Jan.2022