Black Is The New Black, The Old Black, And A Constant

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.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit – © 2011 - Tribeca Film

Photo by Roxanne Lowit – © 2011 – Tribeca Film

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?


Happy 140th Birthday, Mondrian!

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

March 7, 2012

“Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.”-Piet Mondrian


Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about Mondrian. At that time there seemed to be a resurgence of products that were inspired by his wonderfully expressive art. Today is the 140th birthday of Piet Mondrian and one that I think is worth celebrating.


Here is an excerpt of what I feel to be the reason behind our attraction to Mondrian.


We are drawn to the simplicity of the primary palette because it taps into our inner child. The basic shapes and colors together are pleasing without being overly complex.

Happy 140th Birthday, Piet Mondrian!.

Black, White and Blue

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

July 8, 2011

Sometimes things aren’t  just black and white. Take this Blue penguin for example. No, really, don’t you just want to take him? 

“Recently the color of Little Blue Penguins was found to be generated by a new type of structural color.”

“Bird feathers have pigments like melanins and carotenoids – we even have evidence for color in the fossil penguin Inkayacu from fossilized melanin-bearing structures. Color can also be produced by physical interactions between light and biological nanostructures. These colors are called structural colors.”

Please click the link at the bottom for the full story.

Structural Color in the Little Blue Penguin « March of the Fossil Penguins.

Black Is The New Brown

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

December 27, 2010

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a devout pescatarian-no meat eater. Veggies, lentils, fungi, fruit, multigrain, fish, no sugar and non-fat (except for the good fat) diet.  I am always looking for healthy tips, especially those involving color, so when Whole Living magazine published and article claiming that Black is the New Brown, my ears and eyes, perked up!—Lee

Louisiana State University researchers have found that “Black rice may unseat brown as the healthiest option”.

“Like brown rice, black rice has an outer layer of antioxidant-rich bran, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol. Unlike the bran found in brown rice, however, black-rice bran contains anthocyanins, the purple and reddish pigments also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai. These compounds decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer, among other health benefits. In fact, a spoonful of black-rice bran contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries…”

“A recent study of mice found that a diet that included 10 percent black-rice bran reduced swelling of inflamed skin, adding fuel to the theory that black rice may also help prevent diseases associated with chronic inflammation, such as diabetes.”

Do you have a favorite recipe that contains black rice?

Back in Black

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

December 14, 2010

gravestone 70 x 40 x 6 cm black granite image © designboom

One can say that Konstantin Grcic is hip to be square, if one would say such a thing. Herr Grcic (pronounced Gear-titchich) has found beauty and inspiration in the simplicity of a black rectangle. So much so that he has put together a collection of items for an exhibition at the Swiss Institute of Rome called Black2.

‘centurion’ credit card, american express, 1999 designer: continuum designs innovation 8.5 x 5.4 cm titanium image © designboom

Industrial designer Grcic always admired both the color and the shape. Konstanin said in an article in the New York Times that “They can be extremely elegant and sophisticated, or very basic, but they are such strong and powerful parts of our lives that it is impossible to imagine a world without them.”

bachelor hat 23.5 x 23.5 x 10 cm satin

‘the bella combination’ art noveau style fireplace 106 x 104 x 15 cm cast iron image © designboom

Konstanin asks…“How is it that so many different things made in so many different ways end being black rectangles?”

tetsubin teapot’, mount everest tea 16 x 14 x 10.5 cm cast iron, enamel, stainless steel filter image © designboom

“They can be extremely elegant and sophisticated, or very basic, but they are such strong and powerful parts of our lives that it is impossible to imagine a world without them.”

‘sudoku cube’, 2006 designer: jay horowitz 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 cm plastic image © designboom

Kids and Babies Like Wearing Black

December 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

December 3, 2010

The Boston Globe
Baby’s in black
Beth Teitell

“When Kelly Dennis goes out with her infant daughter, she often notices people giving her looks. As in: What kind of a mother are you?”

“Dennis’s crime? Dressing little Willow in the color black. Black skinny jeans, black tops, black boots, black onesies, black yoga pants — she has them all.”

“As many adults can testify, when black clothing gets its hooks into you, buying and wearing other colors can be hard. But black clothes weren’t always so dominant, said Leatrice Eiseman.”

“In the 19th century, black was worn almost exclusively by widows, clerics, and, in the theater, villains. It wasn’t adopted by artists or activists until the 20th century, she said.”

One of my favorite authors,  Nora Ephron  also weighed in on this issue.

Click here for the full article including Nora’s comments.

November 2010

November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

November 5, 2010

One of our favorite sites to follow is The site features as you may have guessed is art and all things interesting that are white, black and red. On Lee’s recent trip to Paris she found some lovely housewares that are white, black and red that we would like to share.

When it isn’t just black and white.

How about a little sugar cube?

Subconscious stimulation…sleep on that.

If this has wet your whistle please stop by for more


I am not sure who makes two of the lovely items shown above. If you know please share.

November 1, 2010

One of the few places I have never traveled to, but is definitely on my list now, is Curacao. It’s been called the “Treasure of the Caribbean” and some recent phtotos in the American Airlines Magazine “American Way” shows it as a very colorful place indeed. As if the turquoise waters lapping up on an isolated beach were not enough, my eyes were riveted by the colors on the exterior of the buildings.

With the cool weather coming upon us, Curacao looks very tempting. But if you can’t join us there (whenever that might be) perhaps you would like a respite in California at the end of January. We will be going back to Burbank for the second year now to do the three and a half day Color/Design class. We do manage to have some fun, but we are there primarily to learn, observe, participate in and absorb the ever-fascinating subject of color in its many applications.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Black at Eiseman Color Blog.

%d bloggers like this: