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 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 10, 2013
As many of you may already know, I wear many hats as a color expert. I am the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, owner/director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and I am the author of eight books on color (soon to be nine, stay tuned).
As part of my work with Pantone I spearhead their Pantone View Home + Interior color forecast. In addition, twice a year, I am part of a team that creates the Pantone View Colour Planner, which is a color forecast that spans many fields, such as fashion, textile and industrial design. Both forecasts are a result of trends that are developing on all fronts from media, socio-economics, entertainment, the impact of the environment, travel influences and any other worthy subject or direction for all creative design fields. I then compile this information into imagery with color as the guide. I let color tell the story of the times.
These forecasts are coveted among designers and industry professionals as they plan each season’s new creations. They are filled with color palettes designed with a “mood”, a rationale and an inspirational direction. Whether used out of context or within the theme we set in the palettes, they are great tools and hold key design principles with texture and balance.
Forecasts are such an integral part of the color consulting world and intrinsic to the knowledge of color in the future. That is why this subject is included in the Color/Design programs that I teach twice yearly.
Could a forecast help you in your work with color? Does this sound like an interesting part of the color world and were you familiar with forecasts? Please take a moment to share.
August 19, 2013 § 7 Comments
August 19, 2013
How many times have you heard that “gray is the new black“, or “brown is the new black” or even “red is the new black”? I can tell you that in my professional career I have heard this said season after season. The truth is black is a constant, staple, mainstay, and essential to every wardrobe.
I just roll my eyes when I hear comments like these because black is part of the color foundation of material society.
Black is here and never went anywhere and won’t be going any time soon.
However, earlier this week I was going through my archives and found that I, at one time, had indeed written: “Black is Back!” for the first edition of a newsletter that I edited as the newly-appointed executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. But it was at a time (1986) when black had truly had been diminished for a short time, at least, interior and fashion-wise and was coming back in full force. The following is an excerpt that includes comments from some of the designers (fashion and interior) that I spoke with who shared their thoughts about black.
“Black has become the greatest neutral, it brings an accent point into a space. To me, black is a very exciting and lively hue. I believe it is also powerful and authoritative.”-Vicente Wolf of Patino-Wolf Associates.
Donna Karan believes black provides the perfect foundation upon which to assemble a wardrobe or single outfit. Black defines the silhouette and goes with everything. Like a painter’s canvas, it is the essential backdrop on which to build.
Designer Halston comments: “Black is the most classic and eternal-it is all colors. Black cannot be penetrated. It is the ultimate color in high fashion.” He states he could use it all the time. There is no replacement. The most important and interesting piece in his collection is always black. He likes to work while wearing black because it does not compete with other colors. As long as he has been in the industry, black has always been his number one seller.
The dichotomy of black is also shown through historical happenings. The Reagans, Princess Di and Prince Charles have helped to make black-tie formality fashionable again. At the opposite end of the social scale, young people, from beatniks to rockers to punks, have adopted black as a symbol of the negation of a society.
Whether the ultimate in chic, or in the expression of adolescent defiance, black wields a powerful psychological force in the current world of design and color.
These sentiments about black are just as true today as they were more than 25 years ago!!
What role does black play in your wardrobe? Do you use black in your decor?
July 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
July 24, 2013
Prior to the 1940s and Alex Steinweiss, a graphic designer and art director known for inventing album cover art, records were sold in plain brown wrappers.
In the 60s, album covers and concert posters frequently emulated the LSD experience with frenetic collages, undulating type, and hallucinogenic color.
But even before that, somewhere in between the bold graphic Steinweiss style or the trippy visuals of Wes Wilson or Peter Max, there was something else brewing in the minds of the average American musician who was looking to put out an album.
The August issue of Print, a bimonthly magazine about visual culture and design, highlights the unsung heros of these albums.
The book Enjoy The Experience: Homemade Records 1958-1992 by Sinecure Books is a compilation of the best (worst ?) in album art. Editor Johan Kugelberg says this about the book “Enjoy the Experience explores a slice of American culture with tales from well-known musicians to more obscure artists, such as pizza parlor organists. Some of these record covers are really laugh-out-loud funny, and some of the music and people are too…”
Which of these genres speaks to your visual sensibilities? Do you have any albums that you have just for their cover art?
May 31, 2013 § 6 Comments
May 31, 2013
You may remember when I took the opportunity to highlight one of the artists featured in my newest book Pantone The 20th Century in Color.
If not, click [HERE] and refresh your memory.
Since that post in June there has been some fun and interesting Turrell moments transpiring.
First was last weeks announcement of James Turrell taking over the Guggenheim to turn it into one of his eponymous “skyspaces.” This exhibit will begin June 21, 2013 which just happens to kick off the Summer solstice.
Follow the link at the bottom to read the full article.
In current happenings a little closer to home (my former home) the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is currently hosting a James Turrell retrospective. The retrospective will take you through fifty years of Turrell’s works including the Roden Crater project.
Second, there is more fun James Turrell news to be found in the May issue of The Hollywood Reporter. James was commissioned to design a home theater for a former CEO of E!, called the Picture Plane. This piece of work isn’t available for everyone to experience. For “those in the know”, a coveted invitation to a movie screening in the Picture Plane is almost as magical as the pre-movie screening of the sunset as manufactured through the Picture Plane.
Please take the opportunity to attend either or both of these shows to experience light and color through the eyes of this California native. I hope to have an opportunity to see either of these exhibits.
The color in the imagery is just breathtaking, no?!
February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
February 28, 2013
As a color/design consultant, forecaster and author, I always look to the art world for inspiration and direction, especially shows and exhibits that are garnering much attention in the art world. So I read with great interest on artdaily.com about one show that changed it all.
“The International Exhibition of Modern Art — which came to be known, simply, as the Armory Show — marked the dawn of Modernism in America. It was the first time the phrase “avant-garde” was used to describe painting and sculpture.
On the evening of the show’s opening, 4,000 guests milled around the makeshift galleries in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue.
Two-thirds of the paintings on view were by American artists. But it was the Europeans — Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp — that caused a sensation.”
And what a sensation indeed! It was 100 years ago that art in the United States was forever changed. It was only one year later that Cubism would continue to evolve the world of art.
The serious, demanding intellectualism of the Cubist proposition was too important to be rendered in the decorative colors of the Fauves. Picasso and Georges Braque delivered their message in somber tones, along with the bits of wrapping paper, wallpaper, newspaper, and even sand, dirt, and house paint. Eventually, later Cubists like Robert Delaunay and Juan Gris introduced more vivid colors in a desire to capture the vibrant urban reality of pre-WWI Paris.
Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2) was the star of the Armory show and is a star in the book Pantone The 20th Century in Color. Take a minute to listen or read about the Armory Show from 1913. If that doesn’t quench your thirst you can click the link below to explore the website that the Smithsonian has put up that is a detailed timeline of archival material from that very show.
December 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
December 13, 2012
Lorraine DePasque is a Style/Trends editor for instoremag.com. She has interviewed me many times before and we are often on the same “wavelength” when it comes to spotting trends. This was especially evident when it came to Emerald. I often tell people at my presentations to look to high end jewelry for future influence.
You can say that Lorraine had her (Emerald clad?) finger on the pulse of this one considering that she posted this blog back in April. Click the link below to read Lorraine’s rationale of Emerald in terms of jewelry.
September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
September 6, 2012
It’s that time of year again. Pantone has just released their Spring Fashion Color Report for 2013. It is such an exciting time for fashion with summer coming to a close and everyone embracing their fall wardrobe and looking for a change. I often hear people say that fall is their favorite season because of the clothing. I might have to agree with them but not just for the boots and sweaters, I love that the colors change as well.
This season, designers overwhelmingly address consumers’ desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize. The color direction for spring builds upon these compelling needs with a palette that mixes dynamic brights with novel neutrals to create a harmonious balance. This allows for unique combinations that offer practicality and versatility, but at the same time, demand attention and earn an appreciative glance.
If you are looking to perk up your wardrobe with some pops of color, why not start here? Keep your Colortime in mind and you will be sure to wow your friends and co-workers.
Not sure what Colortime you are? Use your hair, skin, and eyes as your guide to finding your perfect Colortime. Once you know your Colortime (Sunrise, Sunlight, or Sunset) you can use the fanguide to help you match your best colors to those in the new color report. This doesn’t make you trendy it makes you a smart shopper. You can embrace the colors that aren’t in your Colortime by using them in smaller proportion like accessories or nail polish.
What color(s) will you embrace? Which is your favorite?
August 2, 2012 § 2 Comments
August 2, 2012
Are you into trends?
In my book Color: Messages and Meanings I highlight variations in color families and bring broader insights to the meanings and consumer responses to color(s). Some of the insights I share are about trends and I give you guidelines on how to spot them.
Do you have an eye for spotting trends?
Here is an excerpt from the book.
“Spotting future trends is much like detective work. It’s not the one big ‘AHA’ that hits you but rather a string of clues that leads to the ultimate realization. It’s very important to view the big picture first-the macro level that precedes the micro.
Fashion is most often the forerunner to color trends, but one season of a “hot” color doesn’t do it. One or two seasons of a hot color is still a fad. But tracking a ‘new’ color for several seasons will tell you if it translates from fad to trend. Read the magazines or visit the websites that talk about trends. If a trend is growing, you will see it in more than one resource.”
That brings us to the May issue of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA). Graphic designers are “tuning in” to the trends. Some trends may start in fashion but as more people embrace these trends we will continue to see them in areas such as website design, interior design, typography, and graphic design as an important design principle.
What role does the color forecast play in your life? Does it inspire you to repaint your home? Do you invest in a key wardrobe piece for a season (or two)?