The 2015 Color of the Year is Marsala, a reddish brown color with its namesake derived from the Sicilian wine region. The name also happens to be associated with a delicious Indian spice blend called garam marsala. As the name denotes, this is a warm color with a deeply rooted earthiness. Makeup artists typically associate a color such as Marsala with matte finishes and autumn trends which makes me curious why this was chosen as the color to represent the entirety of the year 2015. Let's explore.
Each year Pantone, a company "known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer" (source) selects a color to represent the cultural, design, and psychological zeitgeist for the upcoming year. An aside for my fellow etymology enthusiasts: zeitgeist is a term originating in the mid 19th century from German 'Zeitgeist' meaning Zeit ‘time’ + Geist ‘spirit.’
I've been curious about this color selection since it was announced and began thinking about the various associations to Marsala in current events and spirituality to find the undercurrents that might have been connected to this specific color. To start, the red hue of Marsala is linked to the root chakra "Muladhara" which is located at the base of the spine and represents the foundation of emotional and mental health, self awareness, and physical strength. Our material needs (including finances and work), passion, fear, courage, and 'root support' (family, trust, and security) are the primary aspects this chakra. Other key emotional aspects of this chakra encompass self-preservation, anger, aggression, tribal association, and loyalty. Since I'm covering all of this chakra's major aspects, it's noteworthy to include Muladhara's physical associations to the adrenal glands, Sacral Nerve, plexus, skeletal system, lymph, and elimination process. Caroline Myss' interpretation of this chakra is "your connection to traditional familial beliefs supports the formation of identity and a sense of belonging to a group."
Marsala is definitely an intriguing color choice given the current astrological underpinnings of 2015 and recent years (since Pantone Color Institute deliberates and chooses a year's color well before the designated year begins). The primarily red hue of Marsala is associated with the planet Mars, ruler of Aries (individualism, initiation, bravery), ancient ruler of Scorpio (the sign's modern ruler is Pluto) , and is the planet associated with war (it is the planetary ruler of military). The themes of passion, aggression, ambition, and achievement all characterize Mars. Muladhara is a chakra associated with the astrological signs Gemini and Cancer as well as Saturn, the karmic planetary ruler of Capricorn and the "taskmaster of the zodiac".
The top astrological headline of 2015 is the culmination of the Uranus-Pluto Square which has been in effect since 2012. Since this single transit is too large of an issue to cover here, check out this informative article which is one of many breaking down the details of this particular transit and why it matters to politics, culture, and our personal struggles for success.
Our collective need as humans to find where we belong and what we need to do to live authentically are all coincidentally aligned with the current media headlines detailing longstanding power struggles among political figures and groups of people as well as advocacy for human rights (yes, I'm making very broad strokes here) which are reflected in the selection of Marsala. Chakras are associated with the pure form of their associated color; therefore, in the case of Marsala, this would denote a rather unhealthy or "muddy" Muladhara chakra in need of realignment. The metaphors abound!
In an interview with Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, she described the hue as having a 'life force' and cited Marsala's nurturing and robust energy. The earthiness of this color's undertone give it a grounded yet sophisticated influence which the Pantone Color Institute team decided was a necessary energy to focus on for 2015. Recommended color layering with Marsala includes metallics, complementary colors (teal, vibrant blue, turquoise), orange hues, and all neutrals (warm and cool undertones including grey).
Marsala is certainly a shade we all have seen before. It dominates autumn makeup trends especially in glossy or matte lip colors. The key to integrating this color in a new and interesting way is through layering and thoughtful placement with other colors. The quote below from Pantone View summarizes the dynamism of this shade:
Integrating Marsala into your makeup kit
Although Marsala might appear at first glance to be a shade that is easily wearable, it can be challenging to integrate it into features other than the lips. For professional makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike, each item noted below is inspired by Marsala and can be used to create a dramatic or natural look. Click on the image for product details.
There are so many ways to play with red on the eyes. Depending on the skin tone and level of intended color intensity, the red, brown, and purple hues of Marsala can be used as a whisper of color or a bold statement eye look. Consider using a fluffy brush for a sheer finish or adding a mixing medium to intensify the color payoff of these products (excluding gel eyeliner).
From light aubergine to deep peachy tones, these products offer the same warmth as the warm undertone of Marsala and can complement all skin tones.
The classic matte oxblood lip is a throwback to 90's grunge and is closely related to the reddish brown tone of Marsala. These products show the range of Marsala from a cool (blue based) deep red to a taupe/rose nude and can be worn sheer or opaque.
I always like to include a range of makeup looks inspired by the central theme of these posts, so here are the looks I've collected as inspired by Marsala.