Pret-a-Reporter

Golden Globes Fashion: What Will Be This Year's "It" Color?

What's the new black? It all depends on the year, as every year's standout awards season hue doesn't happen by accident and actresses compete for clicks and endless coverage

This story first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It happens at the Golden Globes every year. In the midst of plenty of black or white gowns, out of nowhere: coral! Then three more red-orange numbers rip down the carpet and coral's declared the "It" color. That's how it played out in 2013, when Jennifer Lawrence, Claire Danes, Zooey Deschanel and Jessica Alba all wore the shade (side trend: Jessica Chastain and Rosario Dawson in robin's egg blue). On 2014's carpet, strong clear red dominated: Lupita Nyong'o, Emma Watson, Amy Adams and Taylor Swift all donned variations, influencing what designers designed and women then wore around the world. The year of cream was 2012 (Angelina Jolie's satin Versace with red slash, Charlize Theron in a creamy pink Dior), and 2011 was all about emerald, as worn by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jolie, Mila Kunis and Elisabeth Moss. After that, green ran rampant over the runways — and the retail ways.

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If this sounds like the cerulean-blue speech in The Devil Wears Prada, it is. The truth is, the ladies who come in color to major awards shows get the most covers, clicks and accolades. But exactly how the hottest hues of the awards season arise is a "combination of many things," says red-carpet designer Monique Lhuillier.

Declares Nicolas Bru, who styles Jada Pinkett Smith and Heidi Klum, "Color trends start on the runway." But even before that, Lhuillier and other fashion designers "see what the mills are working on — new techniques, colors, prints, etc. — before developing our own customized colors," she explains. "For a celebrity, we customize the color so it is more flattering to her skin tone."

Stylist Penny Lovell (Anne Hathaway, among others) considers both client and runway trends. "My first thought is, 'Which colors look good on her?' That said, there are seasons where a designer has a standout color moment, and those come through on carpets; Julianne Moore in a yellow Dior at the 2012 Emmys comes to mind. We do suggest color ideas to the designer and essentially brainstorm together. If a gown's to be successful, it's important all parties agree strongly on the color." Adds Bru, "Sometimes a designer will have a dress in a perfect color, sometimes I ask them to remake a silhouette in a different color."

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As awards-season photos often wind up running back-to-back, stylist Sophie Lopez (Kate Hudson), who also makes special color requests of designers for her clients, says, "I have to think about what colors my clients have worn the previous year." Adds Karla Welch, who dresses Amy Poehler, Deschanel, Moss and this year Felicity Jones: "The color zeitgeist each season comes from the mills and designers, but I definitely have my go-to colors that work on the carpet. And when I see a new eye-popping color, I'm ready to go!"

On top of considering runway trends and what they've previously worn, stylists and actresses factor in hair and eye color. "The hair is the frame of the face," says famed colorist Lorri Goddard (of Goddard & Bragg salon; her clients include Lawrence, Chloe Grace Moretz and Reese Witherspoon). "It's important that skin, hair and eye tone meet a dress color on the carpet to please the eye. The best possible look is a symmetry of tones," such as Theron's 2012 Globes gown.

So what will the 2015 Golden Globes red carpet bring? For the color experts at Pantone, the crystal ball reveals a smattering of marsala, the wine shade chosen as 2015's Pantone Color of the Year (which Beyonce wore almost immediately following the announcement in December). To decide on its color, Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains: "We look at art, furniture, what we see on the street, magazines, travels, food and ask fashion designers, of course. We also look at makeup." Eiseman adds that the latest technology available to textile makers plays a part. "The human eye is fascinated by novelty," she explains. "It always wants to see something different from the last year. That goes for the runway and the red carpet."

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Ergo, the chances of red repeating from last year? Not high. And while Pantone showed us rich wine, many 2015 spring and prefall fashion shows gave us prints, blues and greens, black with white and two-tone looks (such as Lizzy Caplan's standout Emmy Donna Karan gown, with its black front and white back). Says stylist Bru: "The spring 2015 runway presentations had a lot of blues and greens and all shades in between: turquoise, Lucite green, mint, pistachio. I think we will see a lot of those colors this awards season on the carpet."

Also expect black-white, wine and perhaps some shades of pink for the Globes (the Feb. 22 Oscars will reflect January couture shows in Paris and the fall 2015 shows in New York and Milan). And don't rule out prints and embellished fabrics with multihues — after all, the most novel look always gets the most ink.

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