Asia Trip 2nd Installment

January 12, 2017 § Leave a comment


This is the second installment in reporting on my recent trip to Asia. The first stop was in Seoul, South Korea, and from there I went to Shanghai, China. It was my second visit to this vast city of more than 14 million people. The view from my 25th floor hotel room revealed many tall buildings,

view-of-tall-building

but interestingly on this visit I noticed that “pocket parks” were popping up—a good thing for adding some oxygen to an environment where the smog reminded me of my early days in Los Angeles (now largely contained.)

Everyone told me that, with my interest in design, the Peace Hotel was a worthy place to visit, and it really was. It is filled with art deco references from the 20s–on the ceilings,

peace-hotel-ceiling

in the bas-reliefs on the walls,

bas-relief-lobby

and in every place the eye landed. There was a reminder of the time period when ladies always dressed glamorously, often changing three times in one day!

The hotel remains a perfect place for shooting films of that period and the lobby contains some of the original posters, including for Empire of the Sun and Shanghai Triad.

It was also a nightspot for dancing, dinner, and an evening of jazz.

jazz-instruments

As I looked around, I did recognize some of the architectural features I have seen of those period films. There was a more recent picture taken on the hotel stairway for Elle Magazine of a very svelte Amanda Seyfried in a gorgeous red gown, very appropriate to the setting.

amanda-seyfried-in-elle

I did have the opportunity to go to a street market that was filled with tiny boutique-like shops. It is always great fun to shop for treasures in these far-way places. But I have to say what I enjoyed most was seeing the displays of clothes for kids as they were fashionable, grown-up, and colorful. Special occasion clothing for kids is very important in Asia.

kids-paris-raincoat

boys-suit

I did another trend presentation in Shanghai and it was another enjoyable experience. It is always fun for me to meet so many “creatives” from other parts of the world and representing a vast variety of color-related industries. The press is always well-represented, and in this audience, among many other press people, there was a team from the Chinese edition of Elle Décor. They were an enthusiastic group and very interested in the use of color.

 

Food is an ongoing feast in Asia and for me, a “pescatarian,” always something to look forward to as there are lots of delectable and healthy choices. More about that in my next installment….

 

David Hockney

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-A Bigger Splash-1967

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.

Hockney-Portrait of Nick Wilder-1966

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.”
Hockney-California Copied from 1965 Painting in 1987-1987

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.

 

Kartell à la Mode

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.

Kartell-Lacroix-nera

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.

Knot_N21_cipria_side

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.

Knot_N21

Question: What do you think of the color range of the Knot? Would you wear this kind of shoe?

How A Color Becomes A Trend

April 22, 2015 § 1 Comment


April 22, 2015

“If you had any doubts that pop culture now defines a big chunk of the fashion world, not to mention the fashion you see and will potentially buy, this should put them to rest.”

Screen shot 2015-04-22 at 9.43.05 AM

Follow the link for more.

How a Color Becomes a Trend: Introducing Minion Yellow – NYTimes.com.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed That Changes Blue #TBT

March 26, 2015 § 4 Comments


March 26, 2015
OLD
 
Originally posted on May 17, 2010
The world of multi-hued creatures never fails to amaze and amuse with its incessant and often clever usage of color. The Language of Color at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (a display that is no longer available for viewing) there were many examples of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and insects included, demonstrated and taught how certain specimens ward off danger, defy their predators and relentlessly attract the opposite sex.
•Coral snakes advertise that they choose not to be eaten by wearing bright rings of color
•Milk snakes adapt the same means of warning, even though they are not truly poisonous (but its a great way to get your enemies to think you are)!
•Similarly many species of butterflies imitate their bad tasting relatives in their brilliant patterning of orange, yellow and black
•Cuttlefish can change their colors to conform to their surroundings—effectively camouflaging themselves so that they can eat their would-be assailants.
•Some species of mice adapt to their environment by being sand colored at the beach and earth colored if they live on the land.
•Some species absorb pigment through the foods that they eat and metabolize, for example, the scarlet ibis, which eats crabs, and shrimps, which, in turn, eat red algae.
•As vivid as a brightly colored parrot may appear to humans, they are even brighter to each other, as their perception of color allows them to see the ultraviolet spectrum
•Microstructures in fur, feathers or scales reflect only certain wavelengths of color. Frogs are seen as green because they reflect blue light through yellow pigment.
•The white hairs of a polar bear are clear, lacking the pigment to absorb wavelengths, or reflect certain wavelengths. As a result, they reflect back the entire spectrum, which results in our perception of the polar bear as white.
•A male bird of paradise from New Guinea flashes much bolder colors than the females, in effort to attract. (The males of many species are often brighter than the female).
•If a male parrotfish gets eaten, the dominant female changes her sex—and puts on his brilliant colors.
(Editors Note: Now that’s what we call “survival of the fittest!)
NEW
 

“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.”

BORROWED

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.

Color-changing jacket Color changing shrug

Color changing jacket 2

BLUE

Colorful Pairings That Stand The Test Of Time

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.”

Bakstcostumes

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.

 

Fashion And Ballet Go So Well Together, And We Have The Sketches To Prove It.

Talking #Color With #KENROcam At The Stationery Show 2014

June 19, 2014 § 2 Comments


From The Comics To The Comic-con And Beyond

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.

ECC

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.

CW12-nonchlanace-v1

 

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.

Jump from Paper Bags_1

Have you embraced you inner “geek” or “nerd” and joined in on the fun?

Oxblood, The Color Three Out Of Four Men Prefer

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.

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.25.56 AM

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?

 

Another Look At Nature For Inspiration And Innovation

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. 

How Biomimicry is Shaping the Nature of our Buildings | Sustainable Cities Collective.

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