Is there any month more steeped in tradition than December? I think not. It is important to remember that traditions, according to Webster, are “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice,” and therefore, they help to define our lives. Suspending tradition goes contrary to our desires and our goals and our self-expression.
I suspect most of you are having to suspend some of your December/Holiday/Christmas traditions this year, as am I. So I was pleased to see that Pantone has once again continued their tradition of introducing the Color of the Year for the year to come, 2021. In a vote of confidence – and perhaps because we need to be thinking expansively in the year to come – their color of the year is actually two colors, Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104) and Illuminating (PANTONE 13-0647), a vibrant yellow. This gray is “emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation.” “Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.”
Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, talks about this color combination: “ The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”
As one who loves both yellow and gray, and as one who has sewn with both colors over the years, as detailed above, this choice sent me to my pattern collection, where I quickly found examples of gray and yellow pattern art from years past. Here are two:
I also went to Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion to read, once again, his take on gray and yellow.
About Gray: “The most convenient, useful and elegant neutral color. ….There is nothing more elegant than a wonderful, gray satin evening dress. For day frocks, suits and coats it is ideal. I would always advise it.” Page 50. That is quite an endorsement for gray.
About Yellow: “The color of youth and of the sun, and of good weather. A beautiful color for frocks and also for accessories and right for any time of the year. …There is a shade of yellow for everyone – but you have to take the trouble to find it.” Page 124.
Cheerfulness, elegance, optimism, fortitude – these are worthy goals to set for living in the months to come – and for sewing – whether or not we blend the colors of gray and yellow into them. Right now, however, with the enduring promise which defines December, I am focused on the colors of the season, red and green, and of keeping what we can of beloved traditions – knowing that, like finding that perfect yellow, we have to take the trouble to make this holiday season glow and sparkle in its own way.
I wish all of you, my readers, a warm, happy and even MERRY, Christmas and holiday!