The Colour Purple – the finishing touch on everything

Just back from New York in the post fashion week frenzy, I was lost in a maze of fashion choices all touting spring/summer 2020. It was a wash of colour, all with ethnic persuasions and lustrous feels. Even above and beyond that, as fall set in, I witnessed the magic of nature and the changing hues of the foliage. Autumnal regalia was quite fascinating to me and I channelled my thoughts to the power of colour and how it influences our soul, our style and our lives. As Wilde proclaimed, “mere colour can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

The old adage, ‘everything happens for a reason’, or better yet, Samuel Selvon’s “what is to is, must is”, seems poignant at this juncture. Everything in my immediate purview organically seems to be centring on colour. I feel as though the universe is truly speaking to me. I have always been entranced by colour, not bright colours, per se, but colours which seem to speak to old Greek ‘temperaments and humours’; colours that carry a story even before you define it by name. It seems crazy! However, I left Massachusetts seeing the russets, the browns, the terra cottas and the oranges, beginning to transform the landscape. I arrived in Brooklyn to see the setting up of the exhibition of the larger-than-life French ‘photograffeur‘ Jean René (JR) at the Brooklyn Museum, with his iconoclastic black and white imagery, the boldness of which intones that life is like a box of crayons. Everything in my world seemed to be acknowledging the relevance of colour to style.

Then I bounced upon the movie ‘The Colour Purple’, and I recognised Celie’s attraction to the purple hue as a signal of her identity and her coming of age. Alice Walker uses the colour to treat with notions of transformation, integrity and confidence. I wondered, if subliminally, there is a providential intervention in my current consciousness of colour. The colour of eggplant and related hues of purple indeed unearth a relevant emotionality and a sentient corresponding of vibes, attitudes and perspectives, remarkably not dissimilar to the ‘temperaments and humours’ of which I referenced before.

Local designers like Zadd and Eastman, Lisa’s Fabrics and Heather Jones certainly corroborate my prevailing proclivity to lush pigments. They revel in the use of vibrant colour through their signature texturing on textiles, juxtaposing colour contrasts to celebrate our distinctive style. The New York scene was abuzz with this acceptance of an extensive colour palette reverberating our tenebrous, threshold posture for the first year of the third decade of the millennium. “Combining our desire for stability, creativity, and more spontaneous design approaches, the colour palette for Spring/Summer 2020 infuses heritage and tradition with a colourful youthful update that creates strong multi-coloured combinations as well as energising and optimistic pairings,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

To further solidify my colour-purple sensibility, I looked at the movie ‘Freedom Writers’ last evening, testifying to the essentiality of diversity, moreover, the significance of the spectrum of colour. As Marc Jacobs glibly quips, “colour is the finishing touch on everything”.  

Richard Young

Fashion Consultant / Creative Director

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