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.
September 25, 2016 § Leave a comment
I had such fun researching (as well as discovering) more of Florine Stettheimer’s work that I wanted to share more of it. Interestingly, the Portland, Maine Museum of Art just completed a show of her work in tandem with three other female artists of Florine’s same time period who used color in intriguing combinations. The best known artist, who was also a personal friend to Florine, was Georgia O”Keefe, a name familiar to those who are color lovers.
O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York examines the art and careers of four pioneering artists and their contributions to American modernism in parallel for the first time. Through this exhibition, the PMA invites visitors to explore works by some of the most significant modernists in American art history: Georgia O’Keeffe, Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Florine Stettheimer, and Helen Torr.
September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
When I was researching color indicators and trends for one of my books, Pantone: The 20th Century in Color, I came across the work of an artist named Florine Stettheimer. Color was certainly one of her strengths and passions, as depicted in most of her paintings.
In the chapter titled Modern Pleasures, Florine was highlighted as painting “exhuberant, idiosyncratic depictions of events real and imaginary and that they “radiated pure color.” In the words of her biographer, Parker Tyler: “She was not one for mixing color; what came straight out of the tube seemed to her quite good enough.”
Her canvases depicted the life that Florine lived and understood best, that of New York City from 1916 until the time of her death in 1944. Her studio was located, appropriately enough, in the Beaux Arts Building overlooking Bryant Park. A single lady, she held many salons in her home for modern artists and writers such as Marchel Duchamp, Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O’Keefe. Having lived and studied in Europe for a time, she was also influenced by early-modernist art forms and colors coming out of Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Expressionism.
Her same colorful sense of whimsy was especially prevalent in the 1920’s, not only in art but also prevalent in fashion, fabrics, and ceramics.
Florine Stettheimer’s work can be found in several museum collections housed in Manhattan, notably MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum, while Columbia University owns the largest collection, which is housed in the Avery Library.
July 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
On my way back from London where I was attending color-forecasting meetings, I enjoyed several days in New York where I delivered a seminar at the National Stationery Show. The Big Apple is always full of interesting things to do and see and, on that particular weekend, I noted that a film was being shown at Lincoln Center that I had read about. The subject was David Hockney, the English-born artist, and the film is simply titled: “Hockney”.
Hockney has always fascinated me. He arrived in Los Angeles at about the same time I did—in the golden Beach Boys days when the surf was always up and so was the mood of L.A. It was a magical place, filled with sunshine and energy. It was a Technicolor city spread out between orange groves, mountains, and the ever-presence of the blue Pacific,but if sea-and- sand was not readily available, there were the ubiquitous swimming pools.
Hockney managed to capture the feel and look of the area through his many paintings,especially those of swimming pools. He was so enamored of the California lifestyle– “It’s got all the energy of the United States but with the Mediterranean thrown in,” says David Hockney of Southern California in the new feature-length documentary Hockney—and its pools, that he painted a mural on the bottom of the pool at the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood—the scene of many parties and photo shoots.
The film I saw at the Lincoln Center was a delight, showing much of Hockney’s wide array of talents. The director of the film, Randall Wright, stated that his mission was to show a “strong sense of place from two very different landscapes– the vast bright spaces of California and the moody hills of East Yorkshire. The creative push and pull of these absolute opposite environments energizes David’s constant search for answers, both creative and personal.“ He also pointed out that “digital cinema is now brilliant for reproducing painting. The color accuracy and the image resolution is breathtaking.
David’s paintings look stunning on the big screen.”
Indeed they do, and should you have a chance to view this engaging story of an artist and his life and work, it is well worth the time. To whet your appetite, watch the YouTube trailer for the film.
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.
April 28, 2016 § 1 Comment
We have a repository of information about a color. For example, the color blue is almost always associated with blue skies, which when we are children is a positive thing — it means playing outside and fun. Evolutionarily it also means there are no storms to come. This is why it is reminds us of stability and calm.
Can the color you wear change your mood? Yes! Read on for 10 ways color affects your mood both at home and work.
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?
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.
June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
June 25, 2015
Discovering or rediscovering history is something I truly enjoy. What can be more life-affirming than a trip down memory lane? It’s fun looking back at the signposts that are left of a life once lived, reflecting on the food, fashion, and music of eras gone by is something both the young and the old enjoy. How many times have you seen the Internet meme celebrating the wonders of the past?
Today is wonderful but yesterday was something else, especially when it is tangible. There is nothing like feeling and smelling these relics from our past. I’ve heard it said that “the nose is the doorway to nostalgia,” especially if you read old books.
I was flipping through one old book in particular when I realized I was completely transported, not just by the old-book scent, but also by the wonder and promise that this first-of-its-kind forecast held. The book that I am referring to is the venerable textile manufacturer Hockanum’s Coast-to-Coast Woolens fall 1955 fabric color trend forecast. You might be familiar with it if you have read Pantone: The 20th Century in Color, as it was featured in the chapter between Cosmetic Superstars and Fantasyland.
Below is the foreward from the Hockanum forecast:
“From coast to coast, America soars, sails, rides, treks, walks. America goes places. So does Hockanum.
Here, in a few pages, is a fast trip through Hockanum Coast-to-Coast Woolens for Fall ’55. Not all of the collection is here, of course – but there is enough to give you a quick look at our Fall color story, with proposed coordinates – and a lightning idea of some of our non-stop fabrics.
The new trend toward ensembles shows up clearly. One fabric links itself to another – and yet another. Colors stand alone with strength, or fall into costume groups, giving each other additional grace and impact.
The fabrics have gone into all markets – coats, suits, dresses, sportswear, separates. There you will come upon them again – and we hope you will find the helpful signposts, pointing the way to a good, successful season.”
This forecast was a blast from the past, but as familiar and comforting as the fashions we loved on Mad Men.
April 21, 2014 § 3 Comments
April 21, 2014
As a general rule, evolutionary alterations are less risky than revolutionary changes. However, with changing times and expectations in the marketplace, some risk-taking can be a real attention getter. It should be a calculated, thoughtful and intelligent change that can be backed up with a meaningful rationale.
This is not something I can see a robot taking into consideration.
Earlier in April Esquire.com posted an article by Andrew Luecke called Welcome to the High Stakes World of Color And Branding. The following quote is from Andrew’s article, “A paper by researchers at the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that due in part to the accelerated production schedule of fast fashion, color forecasting that “depends on the personal experience and judgment of the field of experts,…is often found underperforming,” while “artificial intelligence models, especially artificial neural network and fuzzy logic models‚… help to improve the forecasting of fashion color trends.”
Look a little closer at the motivation of the study, “fast fashion” and saving money. Have we learned nothing about our obsession with cheap, in light of the tragedies in Bangladesh?
The argument can be made in support of robots doing the work for humans. I’m not sure this would be the smart decision when it comes to making color decisions. Change for the sake of change is not necessarily a good idea, and I’ll tell you why.
Color is not the only means of attracting attention. There are other considerations as well:
the shape of the package
the “fit” in the hand
the texture (rough or smooth)
the finish (shiny or matte)
the perceived weight of the object
All of the above can be further enhanced and made even more suggestive by the proper, intelligent use of color. A very important aspect of these visual tempters is called the “sensorial cues.” These cues link colors to all the senses and conjure up thoughts and perceptions of how the product will taste, smell, feel and in some cases, sound.
When the senses play such a large role in our daily choices, it is easy to see why a robot would not make a good color consultant. Human emotion and reaction cannot be sensed by a robot. The dialogue between client and consultant can often lead to discoveries of negative color responses. The discovery of negative color association is best handled with care and compassion, which can lead to new ideas on color and one’s perception. I couldn’t imagine trying to communicate those negative color responses to a computer. Could you?
Some things are better left to a human being who is capable of emotional understanding and color psychology. I can’t help but think of how frustrating self-checkout is at the store. I wouldn’t leave such emotional work to a machine. Your feelings matter and communicating those feelings to a robot seems counter productive.
Numbers and algorithms cannot make up for the human experience. Not to mention the lives that are spared by not supporting such unsafe work practices and consumer drive.