Ladies and gentlemen: this year, it’s a tie.

The Pantone Colour Institute—arbitrator of all things pigment-based—shocked the design world by proving the existence of time travel. At least, that’s what one might assume from the revelation of the 2016 Colour of the Year (or rather, Colours of the Year), Rose Quartz and Serenity, two hues that seem a little familiar to some.”It’s so eighties,” laughed Western Living assistant art director Jenny Reed when the colours were revealed yesterday. It’s true that the dusty pink and mellow blue may conjure unpleasant memories of Laura Ashley prom dresses, but there may just be a place for these retro hues in our modern world. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute.The selection of two colours, in stereotypically male-and-female signifiers, may even be an indicator of progressive social values trickling into design, as WL‘s Associate Art Director Naomi MacDougall pointed out: “It’s a nod to the gender-bender trends we’ve seen in other visual media. It’s literally blending pink and blue.”

How to Use Rose Quartz and Serenity

“They’re dreamy, I absolutely love it,” says stylist Nicole Sjostedt of this year’s colours. “I just did my Christmas cards and they encompass that same theme—pale, pale, pale colours. These colours remind me of Vancouver artist Dana Mooney.” The trick, says Sjostedt, to avoiding the throw-back look, is to skip the Miami Vice colour-blocking, and stick to watercolour-style gentle tones. Think ombre, soft washes and subtle application. And, please, no shoulder pads.Though the two are showcased together in Pantone’s official proclamation, incorporated into other palettes, Rose Quartz and Serenity may have a better time avoiding Reagan-era flashbacks. The bold might just pair either of these with striking metallics or hot brights, or if you want to keep things cool, calm and collected, stick to a soothing colour story alongside mid-tones like purples and rich browns.

Check out our fave accessories in these hot hues here.

pantone colours of the year 2016