Pantone 1837. Pantone 186C. Pantone 1448. These labels may seem unfamiliar, but you’ll be surprised to find out you’re actually more acquainted with the colors these numbers represent than you realize — that’s because they’ve been patented by some of the fashion industry’s biggest brands. Think Tiffany’s iconic blue shade or Hermès’ classic, warm orange.
For years, many of the world’s greatest luxury brands have each embraced a particular shade as a signature color code. This hue is not only recurrently expressed throughout their runway shows but through every aspect of their brand’s visual identity. It increases brand recognition by 80 per cent and has the unique ability to communicate a feeling immediately. Whether it’s to signify elegance or preserve its history and heritage, it’s not difficult to see why brand’s choose to stick to one shade to help define themselves.
Especially in a time when digital media is on the rise, companies have more opportunities to get their signature colors in front of consumers and build the psychological bridge between hue and brand quicker than before.
When Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli turned Le Carreau du Temple into a pink-scape during for its Fall Winter 2022 collection, the future of color and fashion was inevitably changed and heightened. What stood out wasn’t the extreme colour-blocking evident in the show, but the collaboration with Pantone that caused a stir. For years, Pantone has collaborated with some of the world’s most recognizable fashion brands in using colors as its visual adjectives to communicate its brand ethos. The shade, dubbed “Valentino Pink PP”, was developed by Piccioli, his design team and color specialists at Pantone. Valentino described the pink-out as “an experimental yet deeply human gesture that enhances individuality, capturing values and feelings” and accentuated the trend of fashion brands claiming specific colors to communicate who they are and what they stand for.
As brands diversify and branch out into other sectors and industries, some of the world’s most directional and well-loved, fashion-first luxury companies have been making bold moves into beauty. From Gucci’s “Gucci Beauty Rouge à Lèvres Satin lipstick collection” to Hedi Slimane’s “La Collection Celine Haute Perfumerie”, the pivot into designer beauty is at an all-time high. It’s become part of the bigger picture when it comes to fashion, individuality and artistic expression, and over time, it has become an extension of the fashion house’s identity.
The Use of Signature Colors in The Beauty Industry
When claimed by fashion companies, colors play an important role in acting as a visual shorthand for a brand that can easily be spotted from a distance. It powerfully communicates the brand’s visual identity and heritage — appearing in everything from their packaging to interior design, but regardless of how common it is to be used in a brand, it’s seen to be absent in one category: the beauty collection.
The shades synonymous with a fashion house present a unique opportunity to experiment and incorporate the color into newly launched beauty products. It makes for a powerful branding tool and feels like a natural progression for the house. There are only a couple of fashion brands who take advantage of this strategy.
Hermès does this beautifully with its cosmetics line. Its iconic Rouge Hermès and nail varnish collection offer a shade in the brand’s signature colour; known simply as Hermès’ Orange Boîte, the color has become a symbol of luxury and ultimate refinement for the house. Applying it to beauty products allows Hermès-lovers to fully immerse themselves in the brand and create a stronger sense of unity and harmony across all aspects of the house.
Similarly, Valentino’s signature crimson has been embedded in their beauty products. Red has been a signature for the label since Italian couturier Valentino Garavani set out on his own from him in 1959, with iconic appearances in runway shows and an illustrious history behind the shade, the color is filled with heritage, symbolism and perfectly encapsulates the house’s DNA. Sensual, elegant and powerful, Valentino’s red embodies the type of women who wear the fashion brand’s pieces. By incorporating them into their beauty products, customers can now fully radiate what it means to be a Valentino woman.
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