October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
October 1, 2014
If you were looking at the Huffington Post last week, you may have read an article called “Fashion And Ballet Go So Well Together, And We Have The Sketches To Prove It”.
You may have been caught up in the wonder and glamour of the costumes and the sketches, just as I was. It all got me thinking about another time when ballet and fashion met. I wrote about it in the book Pantone The 20th Century in Color in the chapter called Theatrics.
Theatrics is all about the symbiotic relationship between Leon Bakst and The Ballet Russes Scheherazade. This was a complementary combination that sparked color and fashion trends.
Below is an excerpt from the chapter.
“Russian-born Bakst brought a fascination with folk art and Eastern sensibilities into his work. His patterns simplified Turkish, Persian, and Central Asian textiles into bold, modern geometry. Suzani embroideries were simplified into cotton prints of concentric circles. References to complicated ikat patterns were delivered in crisp applique or beading. Diaphanous, patterned scarves swirled suggestively around women’s costumes constructed with simple bras and hip bands rather than a stiff corset. Occasionally, as in star dancer Vaslav Nijinsky’s performance in Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, sexualized choreography combined with Bakst’s designs challenged social mores of the day.
But his admirers were undaunted. His work elicited a fashion craze, which opened the way for brightly collared clothing with Orientalist touches like plunging V-necks, turbans, and tribal jewelry. His set designs were no less influential, and for many years to come, divans and floor cushions were used to evoke a bit of Scheherazade’s enchantment.”
It’s always fun to look at where trends are now and where they are headed but it can be just as fun looking back and following them along their colorful way.
Click the link below for more on fashion and the ballet.
September 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
September 17, 2014
People just don’t like red-they love it. People whose favorite color is red have a zest for life; they are, quite literally “movers and shakers.” They need to be well informed, involved. Because of its psychological associations with fire, heat, blood, and danger, red is impossible to ignore and so is the person who prefers this most exciting of colors.
Does this sound like you?
Click the link to read more about red and its physiological and psychological influence on us.
July 21, 2014 § 1 Comment
July 21, 2014
Building a case for “slime green”
If you were playing a word association game, what would be your immediate response to the word “green?” Would you visualize the brilliant blue-green of a tropical ocean, a verdant bed of velvety moss, silver-green willow branches, the lush deep green of a pine scented arbor, the sophisticated sparkle of emeralds, or the sickly yellow-green associated with nausea and mold or slimy, scary creatures?
As the range of green is enormous, so are the possibilities of positive or negative associations.
If you are one who views the yellow-greens as “slimy” and associate the color with negative associations, this blog post is for you.
In my book Colors For Your Every Mood, I wrote about “Slimy Green” and the many associations (see opening paragraph) with the color being connected to things of an unappealing nature. Today, I would like to discuss a few positive attributes of “slime green.”
As the color may differ for each purpose, the greens that fall in the bright, neon, and fluorescent family are best suited for safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council recommend that kids and adults “…always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night.”
One bicycle enthusiast’s blog titled “THE DECIDEDLY UNFASHIONABLE CHARTREUSE SAFETY VEST” where he writes about the joys/pains of wearing such a color: safety versus fashion?
It’s not much of a choice, when you think about it.
Another area to highlight (pun intended) is the use of highly-visible clothing as worn by workers who are around moving vehicles.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) identifies their criteria for “high-visibility safety apparel” as any clothing worn that has highly reflective properties or a color that is easily discernible from any background.” They also have this to say about the standard:
“The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is ‘the trade association for manufacturers of safety and personal protective equipment’. ISEA is accredited by the ANSI as a standard developing organization.”
So, the next time you are turning your nose up at the sight of those sulfuric yellow-greens, keep in mind that the color is keeping your loved ones alive whether they are in the field or on the streets.
Remember: with color it is CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.
Did I change your mind on yellow-green?
June 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
June 9, 2014
Are you still watching AMC’s Mad Men? “Waterloo,” marked the mid-season finale of season seven, and it was a good one.
For those of you who watch and follow the show, this episode was Peggy Olson’s beautiful transformation from meek employee to masterful messenger of change, in more ways than one.
About 17 minutes into the show there is a moment between Peggy and her young neighbor, Julio, that illuminates a common question that women have been asking themselves for decades.
No, it isn’t “Does my bottom look big in these pants?”
What do I wear?
She didn’t exactly ask this question but her query was about which outfit she should wear. Her options were a lovely charcoal gray suit dress that is “more manly” as she puts it, or another look, which is more colorful, stylish (for the time), and decidedly more comfortable (she won’t “sweat in it”).
It was at this moment in the show that I was inspired to write this blog post. You see, this season/episode takes place in 1969 and this was a decade before personal color theories were adapted and applied to wardrobe and cosmetic choice.
It occurs to me that this moment (late 60s) is one that could have been a pivotal point in the need for a personal coloring system, and I will tell you why.
The 1960s were a time when women were making their way in the workforce and it is this male-dominated workforce where we, as women, had to learn how to compete.
Whether we were the secretary (often the case) or the executive (not so often), as the woman in the office, our struggle was not just for equal pay, or the great job, but also how to be taken seriously, as a woman and not a sex object. The question then becomes how to project power without losing our personality or color?
I digress on that and go back to Peggy.
When Peggy was asking the question of which outfit to wear it wasn’t just about the clothes but it was also about making an impression, FINALLY having the shot at the spotlight, and feeling comfortable and confident enough to stand in front of a room full of men. Vindication at last!
How do we project confidence in a room full of men and not be objectified but still project femininity and be true to who we are? One word, COLOR.
I won’t spoil the show for you but I can say that her colorful choice was well embraced and I look forward to 2015, when the show comes back for its final season, to see how Peggy’s choices affect her future at SCD& P.
Move over Don, make way for women!
May 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
May 1, 2014
Here is a little color tidbit from the Smithsonian.
“In the animal world as in fashion. bright color makes a bold statement. The vivid hues of the strawberry poison dart frog declare, ‘If you eat me, it could be the last thing you ever do!’ And that is no bluff.”
Click the link below for the full story on the colorful and often poisonous amphibians of Central and South America.
April 21, 2014 § 3 Comments
April 21, 2014
As a general rule, evolutionary alterations are less risky than revolutionary changes. However, with changing times and expectations in the marketplace, some risk-taking can be a real attention getter. It should be a calculated, thoughtful and intelligent change that can be backed up with a meaningful rationale.
This is not something I can see a robot taking into consideration.
Earlier in April Esquire.com posted an article by Andrew Luecke called Welcome to the High Stakes World of Color And Branding. The following quote is from Andrew’s article, “A paper by researchers at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that due in part to the accelerated production schedule of fast fashion, color forecasting that “depends on the personal experience and judgment of the field of experts,…is often found underperforming,” while “artificial intelligence models, especially artificial neural network and fuzzy logic models‚… help to improve the forecasting of fashion color trends.”
Look a little closer at the motivation of the study, “fast fashion” and saving money. Have we learned nothing about our obsession with cheap, in light of the tragedies in Bangladesh?
The argument can be made in support of robots doing the work for humans. I’m not sure this would be the smart decision when it comes to making color decisions. Change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea, and I’ll tell you why.
Color is not the only means of attracting attention. There are other considerations as well:
the shape of the package
the “fit” in the hand
the texture (rough or smooth)
the finish (shiny or matte)
the perceived weight of the object
All of the above can be further enhanced and made even more suggestive by the proper, intelligent use of color. A very important aspect of these visual tempters is called the “sensorial cues.” These cues link colors to all the senses and conjure up thoughts and perceptions of how the product will taste, smell, feel and in some cases, sound.
When the senses play such a large role in our daily choices, it is easy to see why a robot would not make a good color consultant. Human emotion and reaction cannot be sensed by a robot. The dialogue between client and consultant can often lead to discoveries of negative color responses. The discovery of negative color association is best handled with care and compassion, which can lead to new ideas on color and one’s perception. I couldn’t imagine trying to communicate those negative color responses to a computer. Could you?
Some things are better left to a human being who is capable of emotional understanding and color psychology. I can’t help but think of how frustrating self-checkout is at the store. I wouldn’t leave such emotional work to a machine. Your feelings matter and communicating those feelings to a robot seems counter productive.
Numbers and algorithms cannot make up for the human experience. Not to mention the lives that are spared by not supporting such unsafe work practices and consumer drive.
April 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
April 10, 2014
March 30th was the final day of the Emerald City Comicon. Comic books and pop culture were center stage for three full days. This event may not be for everyone but this show sells out year after year for all three days. The lure of actors, animation, art, gaming and color is something that spans many generations.
When it comes to studying trends there are at times clear and obvious areas to look to find trends. It is not always the obvious where a trend direction is found. The entertainment industry is a big contributor to driving trends. Movies are full of inspiration ranging from fashion, décor (set design) and even color trends. Sometimes the characters/actors themselves can be the object of desire. Ultimately, when all the components come together it makes movie magic. It is in all of those components where the inspiration, trend and the fan are found.
Mainstream acceptance of what was once considered “nerd culture” is bringing this vibrant palette into the limelight. For example, shows like the Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead are great directional indicators for trends. The reach of comics goes beyond the obvious to aspirational, with shows like Project Runway’s, Under The Gunn with Tim Gunn, where designers are tasked with a Marvel challenge. The reach of this genre is vast.
Fashionweekdaily.com reports that “This July, a fashion show will be coming to San Diego’s Comic-Con for the first time. Officially called “The Her Universe Fashion Show” all submissions entered for consideration must be “Geek Couture” fashion, not a costume, and can be based on anything that is celebrated at Comic-Con.” One look at the Her Universe site and it is plain to see that this isn’t a concept, style, ideal or trend that will be disappearing any time soon.
Have you embraced you inner “geek” or “nerd” and joined in on the fun?
March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 31, 2014
Remember in February when we talked about the Blue Mollusks? This discovery could certainly light up the night. I wonder if this will effect how the tree appears in the daytime? Will it effect the bark as well?
What do you think? Do you like your trees glowing?
March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 10, 2014
A couple of weekends ago I was catching up on some television and stumbled onto The Graham Norton Show. I was initially taken in by the vibrant colors he uses on his show and, interestingly enough, on his website. This almost-but-not-quite Radiant Orchid hue is quite captivating and it creates a very luscious environment that is the perfect “eye candy” backdrop to his invigorating but sometimes silly talk show. But there are times we need some relaxing silly stuff.
Not only was the stage enticing, his line up that night was exceptional. Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville were there to talk about The Monuments Men, a book I am currently reading.
What really got me giggling was the fact that three of the four people on the stage including Graham Norton himself, were all wearing a similar shade of red. That fact was not lost on Hugh and was not even mentioned until nearly 27 minutes in. Hugh refers to this shade as a deep red. I would place it in the Eggplant, Oxblood Red, Port or Cordovan range.
Eggplant (aka Aubergine), is considered a classic in the world of fashion. It is one of the Crossover colors that is explained in my book, “More Alive With Color”. This is a color that looks good on all skin tones and it is a hue that is readily seen in nature and works well with many other colors.
On another interesting Hugh Bonneville note, as the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey, he is a very aristocratic character and wears a range of traditional English colors on the show. There has been a lot of purple on Downton Abbey—especially first in the mauves because it is considered the color of “half mourning after a death,” worn after a prescribed period of time. Lady Mary, the lord’s widowed daughter, wears black immediately after her husband’s passing, then moves on to mauve as her grief dissipates somewhat and then ultimately blossoms forth in more elegant purples and purplish wines.
Take a moment or an hour to watch the clip or the entire Graham Norton show as it was certainly worth the respite from my preparations for presentations at the Housewares Show to be held in Chicago from March 15 through the 18th. If you don’t have an hour to watch his show, the really funny stuff begins at 27:20.
Anyone got a woolly jumper and a lippy I can borrow?