It might sound like one of the routines on "Dancing with the Stars," but tangerine tango is actually a color. Not just any color, either. Per the color experts at Pantone, it's the color of the year.
The anticipation of Pantone's annual announcement has only thickened in recent years. For the design community, it's on par with the moment Sports Illustrated reveals the swimsuit issue cover. Or the night ESPN announces Heisman trophy candidates.
Everyone wants to know and everyone will have an opinion. Pantone's announcement gets so much play because it affects every aspect of design. Some would even say it affects the way we look at the year ahead. If that's the case, 2012 could be a very bright, very juicy year.
Pantone describes tangerine tango as "a spirited reddish orange that continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward." The country's dire economic times have motivated a series of bright shades since 2009's mimosa, a yellow burst of sunshine. The following year turquoise, said to be a tranquil color, calmed things down. Last year, the "courageous" and "confident" honeysuckle landed front and center in our lives.
So, how is the color of the year selected? If you're picturing one person, blindfolded, spinning the color wheel and randomly selecting the first color it stops on, try again. According to Laurie Pressman, vice president of fashion, home and interiors for Pantone, the decision process for the color of the year is lengthy and involves a committee of industry experts at Pantone.
A variety of factors contribute to the decision, too. Runway trends are a big influence, as are trade shows. The committee's travels come into play and the state of mind of the public overall is largely considered.
The name of the color gets just as much deliberation as the color itself. "You want an evocative name. A name that really looks like that color," Pressman says. "People have to understand the connection."
Most people will look at the 2012 color of the year and refer to it as orange. It's in the orange family, yes, but there's more to it. Just like Michelle Obama made the yellowish-green color lemongrass a household name (at least the day of the inauguration), people will adapt to tangerine tango and come to recognize what makes it different from orange. Mostly its red tinge.
As for runners-up, Pressman would only say that every year there's a collective understanding as to the general color. The discussion comes into play to decide on the exact shade. For 2012's color, everyone knew going in that it would be some shade of orange. It was very popular on both men's and women's ready-to-wear runways. Pressman says even sports cars are donning the color.
From here, it will only be a domino effect. It starts with manufacturers, who will begin putting out products covered in tangerine tango. Interior designers will want to incorporate it into projects. And, soon enough, Jane Doe will add several tangerine tango pieces to her wardrobe.
Last year, honeysuckle had some big moments of its own. "Chris Benz's hair is the first thing that comes to mind," says Pressman of the American fashion designer who sported a full head of the pinkish color. Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Taylor and Badgley Mischka all gave the color a warm reception. Even sports equipment such as skis and skateboards showed up in honeysuckle.
As for expectations with tangerine tango, Randy Wells, vice president of the Las Vegas Design Center at World Market Center, thinks people will dive right into this one.
"People are so sick and tired of being sick and tired of the economy," he says. "They want something to punch things up."
The Las Vegas Design Center has partnered with Pantone to celebrate the 2012 color of the year at an event for industry professionals set for next week. Tangerine tango will surely be sprinkled about the party, giving guests a look at the color in action.
Wells predicts interior designers will use tangerine tango as their new go-to color for accents. Whether it's an entire wall of a house or just painting the inside of drawers, it's that unexpected surprise designers want.
But, it's also one of those colors you might have to be in the mood for. Wells says it will certainly take off in warmer climates, where palettes aren't afraid of a little pop. It could do just as well with colder cities, too.
"People in those climates are dying for a vacation with palm trees," he says. "They want reminders of those places in their rooms."