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It's a blue; It’s a purple. No, it’s a periwinkle.

Last December, Pantone announced Very Peri as the Pantone Color of the Year 2022. We were delighted since periwinkle is the color of Down Etc. A quick look at our logo will tell you as much. “Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”  We could not agree more.

Periwinkle By Any Other Name

Common periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a trailing plant with green leaves and bluish/purplish star-like flowers. It was introduced into North America as ornamental in the 1700s but “escaped cultivation” to grow vigorously where it's not contained. Its relative, Vinca major, is a larger species with bigger leaves and flowers. Less hardy, it is often treated as an annual in northern climates 

Periwinkle flowers are not known for their fragrance, but they are a perennial with “a knack for laying down roots.” The periwinkle flower is attractive to bees and other beneficial insects. It's grown around the world for “medicinal and ornamental purposes.”

Periwinkles may frustrate gardeners trying to limit their spread, but that spread creates a breathtaking hillside of color, and it is a color we love. We first shared the language of flowers in “Flower Power: The Positive Effect of Flowers on Our Emotional Well-Being.” When it came to roses, one historically needed to choose carefully as each color represented a specific emotion: red roses spoke of love and yellow roses of jealousy. The blueish purple hue of some periwinkles, “symbolizes a sense of calm or serenity. It can also represent new friendships or fond memories.” This may be why periwinkles are chosen as the “something blue” by many brides.

Periwinkle Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Periwinkle’s first known appearance in English as a color-word was in the 1920s, but it has been in the painter’s toolbox for far longer, nestled under the violet umbrella. Periwinkle is a Modernist word for a Modernist color.” In a fascinating article, “Periwinkle, the Color of Poison, Modernism, and Dusk,” Katy Kelleher of The Paris Review discusses the varying significance of the color to impressionist painters of Europe, “who painted from nature and labored to show exactly how we experience colors in the wild (hence all those violet sunsets),” and symbolists who “wanted to show what love felt like or what madness meant, so they painted worlds that were stuffed full of references to stories and (naturally) symbols,” relying heavily on certain colors to do so, including violets.

Periwinkle’s Medicinal Uses Are Not Just Historical

The plant commonly known as the Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) provides vinca alkaloids that have been used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. “Overall, vinca alkaloids have the second most-used class of cancer drugs and will stay among the original cancer therapies.” Be aware, however, in spite of its use as over the years as an herbal remedy, the periwinkle plant can cause poisoning to humans, and the ASPCA recognizes it is toxic to pets. Be sure your animals avoid ingesting the periwinkle flowers while enjoying their beauty.

Our Periwinkle Down® Collection

periwinkle heart and travel pillow

In spite of hillsides of flowers and museums filled with paintings, there is simply not enough periwinkle in the world. That's why we've chosen this year, the year of periwinkle, to share the hospitality products from our Periwinkle Down® Collection with our retail customers.  We introduce our Periwinkle Down® Collection to you with some of our customer favorite products: the Periwinkle Down® Travel Pillow with Knapsack and the Periwinkle Down® Heart Pillow. They combine the beauty and luxury of periwinkle silk charmeuse with the comfort and function of our down and feather pillows.

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