Pantone recently announced the color of the year for 2015 and, as you know, this announcement is very exciting to me! (Regular readers of the column know I frequently discuss this topic at the beginning of each year.)  

Pantone is the international standardization agency for color. If you’ve ever wanted to know why Coca-Cola cans are always the same shade of red, no matter where in the country they are produced, it is because of the standardization methods set forth by agencies like Pantone. 

So, when the leaders of fashion, interior design and industrial design get together to discuss color trends (they really do this, I swear), they also predict new trends for the upcoming year. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out Pantone’s website for the spring 2015 forecast, or follow them on Twitter to keep up with the color of the day. (I won’t judge if you use the color suggestion as a guide for what to wear!) 

This year’s color really speaks to me. It was challenging for me to get behind Radiant Orchid last year. I’m just not a purple person. Don’t get me wrong – the color had its merits, but this year? This year is different.  

Here it is, folks… [Insert drumroll.] The color of the year is Marsala. 

What a great word! It even sounds good and feels good to say. Starts off with a strong sound and finishes with a foreign elegance. Literally, the word rolls off your tongue. 

But what is it? 

Marsala is a city. In Italy. Where they make wine. Wow, there’s a color that can embody all of that culture and sophistication? Why yes, there is. 

As a color, Marsala is a blend between chocolate and wine. (Could there be a better color?) It’s the color of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Or the patina on your grandfather’s cordovan loafers after he wore them to church for 100 years. It’s the color of a Loropetalum leaf – a beautiful plant that’s showy, but easy to maintain. 

Like the plant, the Marsala wine is similar. It’s a beautiful wine, great for cooking, that is often underappreciated to the wine world. Marsala wine can come in several colors – from gold to amber to ruby – and the most common flavors are vanilla, brown sugar, apricot and tamarind. Served slightly cool, it can range from a nearly dry style to sappy sweet.  

I dare say that Marsala is helping to set a mood and feel for the year.

Marsala wine is probably best known for creating a delicious sauce for a fine chicken dish. You’ve heard of it – Chicken Marsala (see the yummy recipe at the end of the column). When it’s all put together, it’s an elegant dish that’s perfect for serving to company but easy enough for a weeknight. Much like the color itself, the dish has complex flavors in an easygoing package.

Yes, we will see this color in clothing choices and decor elements for your home. Maybe KitchenAid will come out with a mixer in the color. I’m sure I’ll see bridesmaids wear it (I already have, actually). The color of the year is most likely going to be seen in fashion. Marsala is a masculine color that can be made more feminine when paired with pale pinks and champagne tones. 

While trying to describe this color to a colleague, we named off about 100 things that are this color, or similar. That’s the great news about Marsala – it’s a lot of things, and all of them are warm, rich and wonderful.  

So what is this color saying about 2015? I dare say that Marsala is helping to set a mood and feel for the year. Who doesn’t want a year defined by great food, good wine, international travel and a bold richness that says THIS is my year. The complexity of the color, but the simplicity of its use as a warm neutral, symbolizes (to me) everything I want in a new year’s vision.  

Maybe the optimism I have in Marsala is because I see turning points in 2015. I see people enjoying themselves again. We’re all still working hard, but enjoying the well-deserved rewards. It will be my eighth year in business, my 41st year of life (whoa!) 2015 is looking good – rich, complex and satisfying. Life is good.