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Purple hue takes spring style show by storm

By By Autumn D.F. Hopkins
Staff writer
Photos courtesy of CHRIS GOSSES
Many of the models who will walk in the show and members of the West Virginia Symphony League gathered April 3 at Smith Company Motor Cars for a meet-and-greet leading up to the May 1 runway show.
James A. White (from left), April Hudson Keatley, Corey Waldeck, Scott Jarrell at Smith Company Motor Cars for the meet-and-greet leading up to the May 1 style show at Kyle Furniture.
Helen Lodge (from left), Yolanda Tam, Co-Chairwoman Ann Urling, at the meet-and-greet for the West Virginia Symphony Style show.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Whether you think “Radiant Orchid” is all hype or totally haute couture, there is no denying Pantone’s strikingly vibrant color of the year has taken the capital city by storm.

This tour de force of tint is due in no small part to the upcoming West Virginia Symphony League’s spring style show, “Applause.”

“Every year, we work with artists and design professionals who help promote the show to select a color that helps convey and brand the theme. When Radiant Orchid was announced as the 2014 color of the year, Crystal [Good, co-chairwoman of the event] and I simultaneously exchanged emails that said, ‘this is it.’” said JoEllen Zacks, co-chairwoman of the West Virginia Symphony League style show.

“It’s taken off beyond our wildest expectations and taken on a life of its own in bringing the community together to support the symphony. We hope everyone will join us and be radiant on May 1.”

This year, the Symphony League chose to move the ever-growing fashion event to the Kyle Furniture Warehouse on Charleston’s East End.

“The planning committee is excited to move the event to Kyle Furniture Warehouse to create a modern, industrial feel to the show,” said Morgan Robinson, Symphony League member and marketing chairwoman of the event.

The industrial space offers a huge venue for an event that includes not only the style show but a silent auction, a cocktails-and-hors-d’oeuvres reception, and this year — for those of us who cannot resist instant gratification — pop-up “shops” that will allow attendees to purchase the latest trends, quite literally, fresh off the runway.

But what exactly is this color that, suddenly, seems to be everywhere from coffee mugs to lipstick tubes?

According to the Pantone Color Institute, Radiant Orchid is “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, [it] inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

Regardless of if you believe a color can take on the human attributes of seduction, enchantment and inspiration, you will still see the hip hue saturating everything from handbags and shoes to hair extensions and bridesmaid’s gowns.

If you are so inclined, you can even follow the pigment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And with almost 60,000 followers on a Pinterest board named “Radiant Orchid-Pantone Color of the Year 2014” alone, it is clear fashionistas everywhere are, if not in love with the color, at the very least obsessed.

This pigment fixation couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

As Charleston’s most stylish shrug off winter’s gray doldrums, the color is popping up everywhere — and it isn’t just for women.

Anthony Paranzino, men’s fashion expert and director of tailoring and design at Tony the Tailor, said you will see the color, and its closely related shades, cropping up in menswear, too.

“We are seeing shades of purple used as an accent color in more upscale and luxury items from sport jackets to sportswear. It is used as a primary color in opening range/preppy sportswear,” said Paranzino of the purple haze sweeping the fashion industry.

If you want to get up close and personal with the newest color trend, then the symphony style show is for you. Tickets are on sale now and start at $75 per person.

They can be purchased by visiting the Symphony League website Proceeds from the show go to benefit the West Virginia Symphony, which is in is 75th year of providing music to the Mountain State.

Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at or 304-348-1249.

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