December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
Ever since attending his first museum collection in New York, I have always been a big fan of Yves St. Laurent. I have found his work to be incredibly imaginative, skillfully designed and colorful. When my associate, Melissa Bolt, told me that a collection of his work was being shown at the Seattle Art Museum, we decided it was a “must-see” and it was!
The newsletter published by SAM, as the museum is affectionately called, said that the St. Laurent collection “filled the gallery with elegance.” The collection is called: The Perfection of Style and described as following “the revolutionary concepts of this fashion icon whose designs shifted perceptions of gender and class.”
On display were his paper dolls modeling his early fashion designs. These morphed into his sketches shown with original fabric samples of the110 garments, featured along with accessories, each of them so contemporary looking (and in such good condition) that they could be worn on the fashion runways today.
After we saw the collection, I was inspired to look for a book called simply “Yves St. Laurent” that I had purchased at the Met in NY and found it in my collection. Some of the clothing that was in the book was featured in the show, so we had the chance to revisit them.
Diana Vreeland, the flamboyant lover of red who was the special consultant to the Costume Institute at the Met, wrote an introduction to the book, stating that St. Laurent was “followed across the oceans of the world by women who look young, live young and are young, no matter what their age. That works for me!!
The collection will be at SAM until January 17. 2017.
May 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
What a fabulous whirlwind of a trip! The first stop was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao,
where I spoke on the Shadows collection and 150 Marilyns work done by the pop artist, Andy Warhol. Although it took much time and research to delve into Warhol’s use of color, especially the influences in his life that led to his color choices, we truly enjoyed the process.
My associate, Melissa, and I spent three fabulous days there, staying in a hotel that was just across the avenue from the museum. We girded ourselves with ample breakfasts while looking out at that magnificent Gehry-designed building that literally sparkled in the sunlight.
The architecture and design of the Guggenheim has gathered worldwide attention and it is easy to see why people are so fascinated by the structure.
The collections that we saw were very well curated and it was especially meaningful to see “in person” the works that I was speaking about, having only seen photos prior to our visit. The color usage was phenomenal in the Shadows collection, employing deeper tones such as black, along with orange, peach, yellow, electric blue, lavender, warm reds, hot pink, aubergine, deep green, and vibrant chartreuse. The 150 Marilyns used some of the same vibrant tones against black.
We allowed enough time to explore the nearby beach town of San Sebastian,
as well as the old town section of Bilbao that was filled with charming, historically significant architecture—quite a contrast to the contemporary Guggenheim.
Naturally, we left some time for shopping (colorful shoes are magnets to us!)
and sampling the delicious food. Melissa took some wonderful shots of the green rolling hills (complete with sheep!) surrounding this vibrant city.
Next time, we will share on the blog some of our experiences and images taken while in Milan where we attended Salone de Mobile, the annual furniture fair.
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?
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.
July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
July 23, 2015
Here is an update on fashion upstart, Hickies®, one of our former clients. You can read the original blog post here.
Not familiar with HICKIES®? In their own words:
“HICKIES® is an elastic lacing system that replaces traditional shoelaces and lets you easily slip in and out of your shoes while keeping them snug and secure. Never tie or untie your shoes again! Get rid of the bows and customize your footwear.”
It wasn’t that long ago when I was visiting a popular site called The Grommet, when I saw HICKIES® prominently positioned on their front page. I was instantly reminded of what I knew back then: that this concept is stellar and they have certainly found their following.
I couldn’t be more pleased!
It’s phenomenal to see what can come of your dreams when they are supported by your peers and a grassroots network with Kickstarter. I remember the excitement and energy of this company and I couldn’t be more pleased with their continued success.
Cheers to you, HICKIES®! We look forward to your continued success.
December 31, 2014 § 3 Comments
December 31, 2014
Have you ever wondered why trends are trends?
Where do the trends come from and what inspires them? I have too. Trend research is a passion and something I actively study with specific focus on color trends.
I’d like to talk about a pattern/trend that I have been observing for quite a few years, the butterfly. To be honest, I couldn’t think of a time when I wasn’t seeing the butterfly in some aspect or another. In very recent months and specifically in the past year there has been a resurgence of the butterfly in varying iterations and industries from home to fashion.
Let’s investigate some of the trends that the butterfly has inspired. We will take a look at the rise of the butterfly in the past four years and the supporting players who keep this stunning beauty in the consumer’s eye.
Why is the butterfly such a popular main stay in the fashion world? Could it be because of the symbolism it holds within our culture and other cultures? Understandably, the butterfly has many different connotations depending on where you were raised, your religious affiliation, and your cultural background.
Much like color beliefs and color likes/dislikes, there are likely to be many different takes on the symbolism of the butterfly. These beliefs are long engrained and passed down from generation to generation and often very difficult to change. So, I won’t try to change your minds but I will share some of the symbolism and intrigue on the insect.
There are two pieces of history on the butterfly that I find of particular interest and that seem to have cross-cultural. One is the idea that the butterfly represents the soul the other is an Irish blessing that reads…
“May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun, and find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond [khandro].”
Let’s start with Aristotle and Greek mythology in the story of Psyche. Psyche is the Greek word for soul. Please click the link below for more on Psyche and Cupid.
Keeping the story of Psyche in mind lets explore a few of the ways the butterfly has been used in fashion that show the butterfly transformed from insect to stunning designer creations that represent the true beauty and detail that the butterfly holds.
In Spring of 2011 we started seeing the re-emergence of the butterfly in fashion. For those who are located in the PNW, you were treated to a stunning butterfly appearance in the window of fashion designer Luly Yang.
Broader exposure to the butterfly came during fashion week spring of 2011 in Alexander McQueen’s ready-to-wear collection. The spring collection was the first collection after McQueen’s death where Sarah Burton then cemented her place in fashion.
And again we were captured by the Damien Hirst exhibit titled In and Out of Love where controversy was made over the careless preservation for the life of the butterfly.
Fast forward to the 2013 mainstream when your YA novel loving tween (or yourself) was wowed by the big screen debut of the second in the Hunger Games Trilogy “Catching Fire”, where we saw the always fashionable Effie Trinket in Monarch Butterfly McQueen dress.
By the time 2014 hit there was no denying the butterfly had transcended from insect into a wardrobe must have. Whether the butterfly has influenced the color trends, a silhouette or an image of the insect itself, it’s easy to see why the butterfly is a trend influence.
Change is the key word as it has long been the catalyst for encouraging sales or, at the very least, getting the consumer to pay attention, and that’s what trends are all about. The very word “change” inspires symbolic design motifs. They have been flying high as a design motif and will continue at all styling, product and color levels.
The butterfly theme will be very much in evidence in home furnishings for 2015.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year from Eiseman and Associates!
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.
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 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?
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!