May 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
Every April, my associate Melissa Bolt, and I have the pleasure of visiting one of our favorite cities—Milan. We attend the Salone del Mobile for the purpose of seeing the latest trends and innovations in the world of furniture, although this enormous gathering of fabulous goods gives us much insight into other areas of design as well. This is Italy, after all, where every facet of home furnishings is explored and relished.
We stay with our good friend, Grazia Billio, a gifted colorist who also happens to be the VP and one of the founders of Color Coloris,
an organization that brings together color experts from many industries, and presents a day-long color experience every year in November (http://www.colorcoloris.com/en_index.htm). I met Grazia through another dear friend, colleague, and multi-talented designer, Vittorio Giomo. Vittorio is the very colorful President of Color Coloris.
Grazia’s charming home is in the heart of the Brera district, the design center of Milan. Every year, the Brera bursts with activity and creative output as designers from all over the world who attend the Salone also find their way to the Brera. Grazia guides us through the hordes of people all anxious to see what’s new in design.
(Of course, along the way are the foods and flavors that Italy is known for.) It always amazes us that so many people have the energy to trudge the fair and then party into the wee hours, but everyone is exhilarated by the intimate connection to both design and color.
We also visited La Triennale di Milano, a design museum in Milan where Melissa could photograph even more images that would enable us to remember all that we see while visiting the area.
Just to give you a flavor of the Salone, the Brera, and the Triannale, we are sharing a few of the 1,800 photos with you. May be this will whet your appetite for your own visit to Milan…
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 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.
August 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 6, 2015
It has been just about one month since I wrapped up my summer color/design course. It is a busy few weeks after the class. We are putting stuff away, getting prepared for the next class and chatting about all of the wonderful people we’ve just met and the ones who have taken the course previously. It was in that discussion where we remembered one student in particular, whose experience in class had such a colorful impact on her daughter that she gave her young daughter an impromptu color/class in the days that followed. We did a blog post about their experience because it was too adorable and it showed us all (I am sure her mother knew) that a child’s love of color is insightful and shows no bounds. Color is an important factor in childhood development and one day could ultimately lead to a career that involves color, including consulting.
Click here for the original story.
We caught up with Amy Anderson and her daughter Sofia to find out how Sofia is using her color skills today. We thought it would be fun to do a Q&A and, as a budding color professional, Sofia nailed it. She has a true gift for color and her choices are just as on-trend today as they were then.
Below are their responses:
Are you enjoying your summer so far?
Yes, it’s awesome!
What have you been working on since your color class?
In my art class at school, I made an orange cheetah mask with papier-mâché and my self-portrait. At home, I’ve been working on my own logo for “Sofia’s Colors.” I love color and art!
Are you pleased to see that your magic yogurt maker color palette is all over the fashion scene?
Yes, I love neon because it’s very bright and I like bright colors. They make me feel happy and energized.
Are you wearing neon? If so, what is your favorite piece?
Yes! My neon pink cardigan sweater is my favorite. It goes with everything.
What is your next project?
I’m really excited about metallic colors. I really like my metallic silver Birkenstocks! I’m working on a palette for a new product I want to create like the magic yogurt maker. Last week I went to the Paint Lab and picked out metallic color swatches: fire opal metallic, amethyst, sapphire, tourmaline, topaz, ballroom gold, aluminum and emerald.
March 26, 2015 § 4 Comments
“The changing color of a chameleon’s body is an impressive sight—but how it happens has long been a significant scientific question without a compelling answer. Now, researchers have identified a thin layer of deformable nanocyrstals in their skin which gives rise to the phenomenon.”
The final portion of this blog post on the color changing trend is courtesy of technology trends.
Technology is also impacting product development with amazing effects in fabrics and fabrications. These products change color based on the heat generated by the wearer’s neural activity.
October 1, 2014 § 1 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.
February 3, 2014 § 1 Comment
February 3, 2014
Enjoy this little color tidbit.
“The blue mussel mollusk creates a unique amino acid, which formulates a strong thread, connecting it to rocks in the ocean. By remaining attached to the rocks, mussels withstand the pounding waves of the surf. The mussel “glue” is created at ambient temperatures, under ambient pressures, and in a wet environment. Looking to nature, researchers were able to mimic the mussel recipe, creating a soy-based and formaldehyde-free adhesive now used in its products.”
Click the link below to read more.
January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
January 3, 2014
In 2005, I did a Color/Design class here on Bainbridge Island (as I do every summer) for those wishing to expand their careers in color and had the good fortune to have a lovely woman named Irma from Indonesia enroll in the class. Needless to say, Bainbridge is a long way from Jakarta and I was delighted that she was motivated enough to come all that way to take the training program, especially because I had spent some time in Indonesia doing consulting and presentations for a very large cosmetic company founded by a woman named Martha Tilaar. She literally started her company on a shoe string budget with a recipe for skin cream passed on to her from her grandmother. She had seen my first book, more recently re-done as More Alive With Color, and decided to contact me about the possibility of coming to Indonesia to train her make-up artists and salespeople in color.
I happily took my first trip there in the late 80s and subsequently went back to Indonesia twice in the 90s (including Bali— but that’s another story) and enjoyed every moment there. This is a country rich in color heritage and the women are really quite beautiful. They are a mix of native Indonesian, some other mixed Asian cultures and Dutch. The furniture in their homes, the food they eat and the clothing they wear reflects those varied cultures. Ms. Tilaar was a fabulous hostess and I found out when I was there that she had quite a success story behind her. When she took me to one of her cosmetic-producing factories, she opened cauldrons of bubbling creams and had assigned color names from More Alive With Color. It was quite a colorful and amazing experience!
It is always gratifying to hear from former students, particularly when I have such fond memories of both Irma and her country, so I was happy to hear from her with an update on what she has been doing in the eight years since she took my class.
Among many other advancements in her career as a personal image and fashion consultant, she has been quite busy picking the colors for Garuda Indonesia’s crew uniforms. It was such an amazing coincidence that earlier in the year, July to be exact, she chose reddish purple as an additional color for the Maitre de Cabine uniform of Garuda Indonesia new cabin crew uniform (national flag carrier airline). Additionally in 2009 as part of the team of consultants for Garuda, Irma chose three colors for the new cabin crew uniform: turquoise, orange and blue (purser). After the launching of the new uniform in July 2010, she was thrilled knowing that turquoise was chosen as Color of the Year (2010) and Orange or Tangerine Tango for (2012).
Well done, Irma!
September 30, 2013 § 4 Comments
September 30, 2013
Who doesn’t love a list?
Every year, twice a year, I teach a class on color and design. In the preparations for the class I compile a list of books that I have found to be integral in my pursuit of color knowledge. It is a very long list (12 pages) so I decided to pick eight books that I think are important for those who are looking to grow their knowledge and understanding of color.
1). A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
2). Color and Human Response by Faber Birren
3). Color Psychology & Color Therapy by Faber Birren
4). Color Graphics; The Power of Color in Graphic Design by Karen Triedman and Cheryl Dangel Cullen
5). Colour/Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay
6). A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield
7). Living With Color by Deryck Healy
8). Designing Across Cultures-How to Create Effective Graphics for Diverse Ethnic Groups by Ronnie Lipton
I would love to hear about your favorite color books. Are any of these books on your “must read” list?
What books would you include in your top ten list of color books?
For my complete list of books sign up for my next Color/Design course in to be held in Burbank, January 2014.