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Fashion meets 'Living Coral,' Pantone's color of 2019

Coral corduroy: Vintage-inspired duster in wide wale corduroy

Coral corduroy: Vintage-inspired duster in wide wale corduroy features is a standout topper; $198 at Free People stores and freepeople.com. Photo Credit: Free People

People are passionate about the Pantone Institute’s recently announced color of the year: Living coral.

Some absolutely l-o-v-e the saturated orangey base with a golden undertone. Others despise it. (Truth told, we lean toward the latter.) For the past 20 years, Pantone, the color authority, has forecast color trends influencing fashion and beauty products along with home furnishings, packaging and industrial designs. The company described this year’s pick as “sociable and spirited. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuit . . . Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.” We weren’t feeling it. So, we asked the experts to help us see the light.  

“Coral is the new red for 2019," says veteran makeup artist Charmaine Parr, who works at Paul Anthony Aesthetics in Manhasset. "I use it all the time — it brings life to your face and it seems youthful and carefree. You might think it’s a 'grandma color,' but it’s not and looks good on everyone whether you’re black, white, Puerto Rican or Asian."

She demonstrated the power of coral on Claudia Alas, 32, of Glen Cove. Parr custom blended a lipstick shade — an exact replica of the coral color of the year — and used variations on the theme for cheeks and eye shadow, mixing these with gold. 

Then came celebrity stylist Robert Verdi — who never hesitates to bash a trend or a color.

"It’s a color that looks good on all women — blondes, brunettes and, yes, redheads — and fabulous on all skin tones,” he said, recalling an Angel Sanchez gown he chose for Eva Longoria to wear to the Emmy Awards way back in 2005.  

Still, there are caveats.

“In evening wear it can lean toward a Miss America pageant color,” Verdi says. “And you don’t want to look like you’re an up-and-coming senator’s wife by wearing all one color. You need to approach it with a sophisticated eye so it doesn’t read old lady.”  

Verdi suggests avoiding knee-jerk color combos like pairing it with white and turquoise. “That’s a bit boring. You need to take a fresh take on an old color. Wear a coral suede shoe, a camel coat, chocolate pants and a neon yellow sweater together. . . . I would love that,” he says. Bottom line, says Verdi, “Think of coral the same way you would leopard and sequins. Don’t wear it head to toe, but definitely include it in the mix.”

We'll try it . . . maybe. 

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