As research for the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color (May 11, 2018–January 13, 2019), the curators interviewed color specialists working in diverse industries and fields, from fashion forecasting to early childhood education. For our Careers in Color blog series, we asked these specialists to tell us about their work and how their love of color led to a professional career. Dominique Assenat is Creative Director for Colors at trend forecasting company Peclers Paris.
What do you do?
As Creative Director for Colors at Peclers Paris, I am responsible for the development of the company’s color trend forecast, which is presented twice annually, in book and digital form. I work with our color chemist to refine the hand-made, custom colors that are the foundation of each color book. I also consult for major international brands on the role of color in establishing brand identity.
How did you come to work in the color industry?
My primary interests have long been materials and images, two mediums that communicate color very strongly. I started in fashion, designing my own bag collection, and soon joined the company of Anne Marie Beretta as an assistant in the late 1980s. She was one of the group of designers known as “Les Créateurs,” along with Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gaultier, and others. When I joined Peclers in 1986, I discovered the forecasting approach, and that immediately seduced me. I liked the idea of a global vision of fashion and design, and observing the evolution of styles and influences in the recent history of fashion.
My first big mission for the agency was consulting for a Japanese textile company, looking for the next relevant innovations for the fashion industry. I also worked a lot for different French and Italian textile collections on colors and finishes. Then Peclers entered the beauty industry, and I worked on the color palettes of international pigment companies, like the Cosmetics division of Engelhard/Basf and Merck, as well as for beauty brands in the United States, France and Asia. Finally, I took the lead on the Peclers Color publication.
What is color issue are you working on at the moment?
We are just starting a new season, Fall Winter 2020/21, for which we had our collaborative agency meeting early July.
Tell us about an impactful experience you’ve had with color. How has it influenced your work?
Looking at paintings is something I always find to be an intense experience, seeing the different ways in which color can make things come to life.
Are there any color models or tools that you use regularly in your work?
Images have a big impact on my work. I travel a lot, for work and pleasure, visit exhibitions, and whenever I can, I shoot my own images. I have a whole library of personal images that I go back to whenever I need inspiration. I don’t organize my archives of images so much because I like the way I can relate to them differently at different periods. This way I have to dig into them and find what I might not have expected. I am also a movie fan, actually I first thought of working in the movie business after my studies…
What is the process of color forecasting?
Our process starts two years in advance and is a collaborative process that involves a team of creatives from various backgrounds, including fashion, beauty, home, and personal goods. Each stylist presents a project that reflects his or her vision based on a combination of intuition and a very good knowledge of the market. The projects presented by the stylists illustrate their vision on the key directions for colors the form of mood boards of images and samples of colors in various materials (yarns, ribbons, plastics, papers…)
The biggest challenge is of course to be right at the right time! Some colors are adopted by consumers very quickly, but for some others consumers may be reluctant for quite a while, and then all of a sudden it happens. You have to be able to maintain confidence in your vision of what is to come.
How does you color consulting branch operate?
We work as consultant for local, as well as international companies in the fashion, beauty, home, electronics, and car industries. Color has always been at the heart of Peclers expertise since its creation in 1970, and the awareness that color can be a major signature for a product is growing worldwide.