2021 Pantone color of the year: next season collections

Classic Blue, the color of 2020, has been replaced by two new ones — Illuminating and Ultimate Gray.
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Animation by Lesya Pakharyna

Every year, for more than 20 years, the Pantone Color Institute determines the color of the year. Usually, it chooses one, but there are two for 2021. Such an exception to the rule has already happened once with Serenity and Rose Quartz in 2016.

In addition to determining the color of the year based on social researches, the Pantone Color Institute predicts global color trends and consults companies on colors for their products and brand visual identity.

The combination of discreet gray and upbeat yellow is a harmonious couple that symbolizes strength and positivity everyone wants to enter the new year with. As Leatrice Eisman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said:

"The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude."

Let's discover how the designers integrated and interpreted the colors of the year in their Spring/Summer 2021 collections, even before the Institute announced their choice.

PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating

This bright, cheerful and friendly yellow color cheers up, inspires hope and evokes the most pleasant emotions and associations. It is as if it is filled with the sun and vital energy that you can get warm under and share it with others.


One of the most anticipated Spring collections of 2021, presented by the fashion house Prada under the direction of co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, was full of sun — both in the decorations and in the clothes. Laconicism, sophistication and focus on form, accentuated by yellow, look both restrained and bright.

© Prada

Miu Miu

At the Miu Miu Spring 2021 fashion show, which was held in the stadium decorations, bright color contrasts flirted with simple shapes, cleverly combining the sporting spirit and the formal dress code. Combining the incompatible is a special skill of Miuccia Prada.

© Miu Miu


Simon Port Jacquemus knows how to get his attention. The show of Jacquemus Spring/Summer 2021 collection was held in the open air, surrounded by yellow ears of wheat and hundreds of guests, who were planted at a socially safe distance from each other. Muted shades of yellow in suits, dresses and skirts rhymed perfectly with the wheat field, flirting with southern tan and romantic enigmatic mood.

© Jacquemus

Ultimate Gray

The Color Institute associates gray color with the pebbles on the beach that stand the test of time no matter what. Strength, confidence and reliability are what the world desperately needs to get back on track in our turbulent times.


Gray ruled the ball at the Balmain Spring/Summer 2021 fashion show. A non-standard costume tandem of cycling shorts and perfectly tailored jackets with sharp hypertrophied shoulders exuded confidence and chic. Bravo, Olivier Rousteing!

© Balmain


How to wear gray and not make yourself look boring was shown by Alessandro Dell'Acqua, who runs the Italian brand N°21, at his show in Milan. The contrast of materials and textures makes gray very attractive, both in restrained and more relaxed looks.

© N°21

Salvatore Ferragamo

In a collection, inspired by Hitchcock's films, Paul Andrew, the fashion house's creative designer, presented a series of smart and well-thought-out looks. The geometry of clean gray lines is complemented by splashes of yellow in clothes and accessories. It looks very harmonious and self-sufficient.

© Jacquemus


Let us remind ourselves of the interpretations of yellow and gray by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton and Virgil Ablo for Off-White in the collections of past seasons in the striking and notable examples.

Louis Vuitton Spring 2013

© Louis Vuitton

Off-White Fall 2019

© Off-White



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