Pastels may be a perennial springtime staple, but these sugary shades are undoubtedly having a moment. This year, it seems as if everyone from fashion designers to florists have been viewing the world through rose- (and mint, lilac, and lemon) colored glasses. The latest wave of pastels reminds me of one of my favorite design movements: 18th century Swedish Gustavian style.
Named after King Gustav III, a Swedish monarch who was so taken by a visit to Versailles that he decided to create the Scandinavian equivalent, Gustavian design is marked by pale, whitewashed colors (to counteract dark Swedish winters) and sleek, neoclassical lines. I love the effect of combing all those delicate, muted shades — think of the ethereal paintings of Agnes Martin — or simply adding a few pastel accents for a subtle whisper of color. Soft and serene, one can’t help but be charmed by these pastel beauties.