December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
December 22, 2015
Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting my colleague and former student, Rami Kim, in Seoul, Korea. She owns and runs an academy of color where she teaches classes on many aspects of color (visit rcgcolor.com). Her multi-age school offers programs for young children all the way through adulthood, and caters to color professionals and non-pros alike.
She truly has a passion for color and feels, just as I do, that color education never stops. It is ever-evolving and even though some color tenets can remain the same, such a the classic color wheel, Rami agrees that there is now a lot more space for new ideas emerging about color from various cultures and that is one of the reasons for her coming to my classes in the U.S. She also agrees that staying on top of the emotional color cues, as well as the newest trends in color, is more important than ever.
Rami’s background is quite amazing. She had a serious automobile accident while still a student and was hospitalized for three months. During that time and at a young age, she decided to pursue her passion for color and developed the concept of what eventually became her color academy.
Starting with just two students, she eventually built her school into a thriving and respected business. While in Seoul I visited her school and met with four members of her staff. It was a special day for all of us!!
November 12, 2015 § 6 Comments
What color-lover doesn’t love Fall with all its shades of gold and orange, browns and rusty-reds? But how often do we think of some of the other fall colors as, well, fall colors?
There is, for those of us in the northwestern corner of the United States and similar climates, a wistfulness at the sight of our lush green trees of summer turning the corner towards fall with their leaves accepting a coral tinge. But what a fresh spring palette this appears to be!
Soon enough, an entire page of Pantone® corals…..
… is lighting up the view from our office…
…and we settle in and appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature’s color combinations.
October 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
October 26, 2015
One of my students recently asked me how it is that someone is able to pull off different Colortimes®. (Colortime® refers to my system for determining one’s best personal image colors based on hair color, eye color, and skin tone.) Here is my answer:
Anyone who has constant access to professional stylists or the money and time to constantly change their “look” could probably dress in any Colortime® they choose, depending on a whim or their mood. This is why you see someone like Olivia Wilde looking so different in many photos.
Julianne Moore is another excellent example of how her looks are changed for various photo shoots. If she chooses to wear an emerald green dress to an awards dinner, her makeup artist will likely use on her a very fair, cool tone foundation and play up the green in her eyes. Her stylists know how to advise on all of this—that’s why she always looks so good.
Celebrities also have the benefit of being under flattering lighting be it for TV, film, stage, or photo shoots where flaws can be corrected, and these “tricks of the trade” are always available to them. There are also the “fashionistas” and “creatives” who enjoy changing their looks from day to day—they really embrace the process.
However, there is the reality of the woman or man who has little time, a limited budget, or just doesn’t have the know-how to make calculated style changes. He wants to know that all his ties go with his suits. She wants to reach into her makeup drawer and pull out cosmetics that work for her coloring. This is where starting out in a basic Colortime® makes so much sense. Many of us want a method that is reliable, a color palette that will look good and be so well coordinated that it doesn’t take much time or money to feel confident. A Colortime® consultant teaches the basics of the theory and demonstrates its practical application.
What is your best chameleon moment?
October 7, 2015 § 2 Comments
October 7, 2015
As some of you may know, my husband, Herb, is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His career in film and music has certainly helped me to be more aware of the importance of film in formulating public notions about color and design. We subscribe to many periodicals and view many of the films nominated for Academy Awards, and I am constantly researching film archives as well as present-day films to better inform my work in forecasting.
I was recently watching the trailer for the film Suffragette and was instantly captured by the story about the fight for the women’s right to vote. It is hard to deny the value of the movement and the importance of this period of time considering that we as a nation benefit from this movement.
I have read many books and seen some notable film, television, and stage shows about the early Suffrage efforts, so I wanted to highlight one compelling point of this particular movie that is almost a supporting character: the color used to convey the mood of this film.
In my talks this past year, I have been discussing the use of “umbered undertones” in current and future films. That expression comes from the somewhat murky tones that are being seen in both children’s films, where so many color stories come from, as well as films for grown-ups. Those more somber tones often reflect the nature, theme, mood, or historic setting of a particular film.
Suffragette reflects a historic time period when there were no Technicolor films, and the theme of the film is a rather sobering subject—women’s struggles in the pre-1920’s to get enacted their legal right to vote, and the indignities and abuse they suffered—hardly the stuff of bright Technicolor effects! Interestingly, the American suffragette colors of violet, white, and gold were very similar to the green, white, and violet carried by their British counterparts. It is believed that the British Suffragettes chose those shades because they represented the first letters of each color and translated into: “Give (green) Women (white) Votes (violet.)
We can expect these “umbered” tones to have a long shelf-life because of films like Mockingjay Part One, which was part of the popular Hunger Games series. Part Two will come this Fall, and the stage show will appear in 2016. Some TV shows are also showing these same effects. Super Girl of 2015 is wearing more somber colored garb than sported by Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman series of the 1970s.
If you were choosing colors to represent the cause of the suffragettes, what colors would you choose and why?
September 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
September 24, 2015
Kartell is an Italian company that makes and sells plastic contemporary furniture. Headquartered in Milan, they began manufacturing automobile accessories in 1949 and expanded into contract and home furnishings in 1963.
They have now forged an interesting partnership with one of the most imaginative fashion designers with a long-standing reputation in the use of unique color and pattern combinations. Christian LaCroix became the darling of the fashion runways in the 80s, but the 90s and early 2000s saw a decline in both business and attention. However, in recent years, we have seen his name on the ascendancy again, this time combining with “Kartell à la Mode,” as it is being called, in creating and producing a new handbag line.
Available in two sizes, a tote and a clutch bag, the fabrication is injection-molded plastic, a material that Kartell is referring to as “rich and sensual,” certainly not the usual connotation and impression of plastic. The shapes are geometric in design and both styles will be available in five colors, although those five colors have not been named yet.
Kartell has a recent history of producing some other intriguing, industrial–inspired molded plastic in inventive fashion forward looks and, very recently, they partnered with No.21, a Milanese shoe manufacturer. Called “The Knot,” the provocative and intricate styling on the sandal is quite unique, one that takes special skills to make. It is available in five colors: black, powder pink, mustard yellow, khaki green, and burgundy.
The look of the shoes fits very well into the influences we saw recently in Paris. Stilettos have given way to much lower heels, with sneakers being the “shoe du jour” in every imaginable color, pattern and, most often, with sparkle.
Question: What do you think of the color range of the Knot? Would you wear this kind of shoe?
September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments
September 15, 2015
If you didn’t know already, I travel…a LOT! My most recent trip was to Maison & Objet, a lifestyle uber tradeshow featuring all things “design.” It takes place at an exhibition center outside of Paris and covers 246,000 square meters or about 61 acres.
My traveling companion, assistant, and color/design associate, Melissa Bolt, walked every inch of the show with me, photographing our foray into the stadium-size halls.
We became immediately aware of the presence of design trends we have noted in recent seasons:
Eyeglasses as wall art and part of home décor accessories,…
…Owls peering from their perches,…
…Butterflies still flying high,…
…Shoes as wearable art,…
… crowns that are not exclusively for royalty,
…and concentric circles, as seen in these South African wire bowls
to name just a few.
August 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 27, 2015 § 4 Comments
August 27, 2015
My good friend and colleague, Patricia Nugent, curator of a surprisingly vast textile collection, opened her nearby Seattle showroom to us so that my Color/Design Associate, Melissa Bolt, and I could hunt for special fabrics from Pat’s collection for our latest book, coming out early next year. Not only is a visit to Pat’s studio a walk down memory lane in terms of all the vintage fabrics in her collection, but it is also a study in the kind of quality and artistry that attracts top designers from around the globe for inspiration. Thank you, Pat!
Okay, if you must know, the book takes a look at interiors via the Color Clock™ system I developed for my book More Alive With Color.
Can you determine what Colortime® and/or what decade each of these vintage fabrics illustrates?
August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 17, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been showing four of van Gogh’s paintings— those he did just before leaving the asylum he was in for two years. In the link you will see the comment that caught my eye: ” Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) brought his work in Provence to a close with exuberant bouquets of spring flowers—two of irises and two of roses, in contrasting formats and color schemes—in which he sought to impart a “calm, unremitting ardor” to his “last touch of the brush.”
(There is also a video to watch. See link at the bottom.)
For art lovers out there the images on the Met site and the video give some interesting insights into the colors that he used to impart that feeling.
Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
What are your favorite Van Gogh works?
August 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 12, 2015
I was surfing the web last week when I found an article on Vera Neumann published by Elle.com in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with , you are in for a real treat.
In 2010 Susan Seid wrote a very beautiful book called Vera The Art and Life of an Icon. It is filled with wonderful and colorful photographs of Vera’s history. In it Susan states:
“Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary–her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera—the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time–had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art–wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your sprit and makes you feel better. Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright, happy, and inspirational.”
A year after Susan Seid’s book came out, I made note of Vera Neumann in my book Pantone: The 20th Century in Color. The chapter is aptly named “Colors and Coordinates,” where I said, “Designer and artist Vera Neumann didn’t seem to need any help understanding color interactions, or the way color creates a mood.”
Seid has quoted Vera as saying to the Washington Post in 1978, “Color is the language I speak best,” and, “Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in the world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
If you are not familiar with Vera, a quick Google search will bring you into the colorful wonder of Vera Neumann.
Vera’s designs are still being licensed now, more than ten years after her death. Their longevity is her longevity. And for those of us who were around when she first came on the scene, it is a welcome reminder of a colorfully artistic era to see her famous logo still used today.