Daily Posts. Colorful Ideas & Inspirations.
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Seattle designer Chrissy Wai-Ching has a truly global background. With Puerto Rican, Chinese and English roots and time spent living in international locales--including Hong Kong and Nice, France--it's no wonder the shapes and colors of the world's varied natural landscapes have become her biggest design influence.
Wai-Ching stops by COLOURlovers today to chat about those influences, the general aesthetic and the processes that go into the bridal wear, apparel and accessories of her line, Wai-Ching Clothing.
I've always been interested in fiber arts, I have many artists in my family, and my Puerto Rican grandmother is an avid quilter. I've made clothing for myself since high school, and went on to study Textile Technology and Fashion Design in Hong Kong.
When it comes to matters of fashion here at COLOURlovers, member palettes and patterns are inspired by all sorts of items in a wardrobe--dresses, neckties, pants, handbags--the list goes on. But a few items see a little more love than the rest: suits, shirts, shoes and--as we'll see today--sweaters.
Whether called sweaters, jumpers, sweatshirts, pullovers, cardigans, jerseys or guernseys, sweaters have been an enduring aspect of popular fashion since the early 20th century. Of course, fishermen's sweaters--jerseys and guernseys--date to the 15th century, and athletes wore plenty of practical sweaters in the 19th century. But our idea of the everyday sweater had its start in American sportswear designs of the 1930s and 1940s. And since then, though its been given some new shapes (the recently ubiquitous open wrap cardigan, for one), the sweater has remained largely the same, both in commercial ideology and in popularity. A 1971 TIME magazine article on the sweater, at least, feels much like what a similar article would today:
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is over. In the U.S., Labor Day has passed, school has started, the sun is setting sooner and we're getting ready to tuck away our white clothes and shoes until spring--well, at least that's what we've been told to do.
A suggested ban on white clothing and shoes after Labor Day, the first Monday of September, has been a rule of etiquette since the early 20th century. But is it really all that important by today's standards? Fashion--and even an etiquette expert or two--doesn't think so. In recent seasons, white has become an all-year hue. And a few other formerly fatal color combinations--brown and black, black and navy--have moved from fashion don't to fashion can-do territory, too.
"For centuries, wearing white in the summer was simply a way to stay cool--like changing your dinner menu or putting slipcovers on the furniture," wrote TIME's Laura Fitzpatrick. In the early 1900s, clothing covered a lot more of the body than it does now, so summer whites, with their reflective qualities, made sense. But beyond practicality, white had a following in high society that may have led to the no-white rule.
"In the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climes for months at a time: light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life," Fitzpatrick wrote." Labor Day, celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday of September, marked the traditional end of summer; the well-heeled vacationers would stow their summer duds and dust off their heavier, darker-colored fall clothing."
Of course, this theory is hotly contested by some--Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, told Fitzpatrick not every rule of etiquette has to be attributed to "snobbery." But whether the rule was meant to be snobby or not, the fashion world hasn't been ruled by it. And perhaps that's why etiquette queen Emily Post says it's OK to throw this rule out with the last of the summer barbecue leftovers.
After being considered a faux pas for so long, the black-and-brown combination--which has been given the go-ahead--is actually a fresh one. According to the Ralph Lauren Style Guide: "When properly executed, the combination of black and brown is a very modern and sophisticated look that’s instantly elegant. Start by adding touches of brown via accessories: the hint of a leather belt beneath a black cardigan or suede boots under slim-fitting pants."
For women, Ladies' Home Journal says, "Pair rich brown wool trousers with a black turtleneck, or wear black shoes and hose with your brown skirt. For evening, try a brown cocktail dress instead of a black one." And a great tip for mixing-and-matching your shoes and handbags?" Try a deep red, hunter green or soft tan bag, or go for shoes in similar shades, all of which will work with your brown and black staples."
Navy and black make for another recently edgy combination--good news for navy lovers who may have had trouble matching shades of blue, or black lovers who have the same trouble matching blacks. This combination works a lot like black and brown in execution--try pairing a navy dress with black tights and shoes or skinny black pants with a navy blazer for a runway-worthy look.
Black shoes are also a good choice with a navy suit, though some advise a deep brown pair--GQ Style Guy Glenn O'Brien says to pick a pair at least as dark as your suit. But he also said, "Not long ago, I read a little manifesto in the catalog of the talented potter Jonathan Adler that stated, among other things: 'We believe colors can't clash.' I am coming to this view more and more."
Looks like others are, too.
Fearless color combinations from the library:
I graduated from college, well, a while ago, but I still love back-to-school season. The air gets crisp, the scarves come out and I can purchase packages of fine-point Sharpies at a super-sale price. I'm also a sucker for the season's big, roomy totes and backpacks. And whether, like me, you carry your biggest bags to the grocery and for travel or you fill them up with fresh folders and notebooks for class, you don't have to feel badly about popping for a new one these days--the market is well-stocked with sustainable, eco-friendly options.
Green clothing, as a whole, encompasses both organic and sustainable fabrics. The difference? Sustainable fabrics are produced with an emphasis on reusing and recycling manufactured products. Often, companies incorporate sustainable practices in general--environmentally friendly packaging, efficient energy use, and reduced waste and pollution. And, when you look at the bags we've got lined up today, you'll see style is taken just as seriously as sustainability.
Here at COLOURlovers, it's easy to be spoiled by the millions of colors we have available at our fingertips. We can create colors, palettes and patterns to fit our every mood, meet every whim--you know where I'm going with this.
A well-stocked closet can further that creativity in everyday life. When you have bold colors and prints at the ready you can layer them up, mixing patterns, piling hues or opting for a single bright piece against a monochromatic look. But the basics aren't to be discounted in any scenario; a white shirt, black pants, a little black dress, a good brown belt, well-fitting denim and a pair of trim chinos are staples that form the foundation--and in some cases, the entirety--of any good wardrobe.
But members here probably already know that, which explains why COLOURlovers' top colors are all strong, solid basics. Putting them into play here are members of Flickr's wardrobe_remix street fashion community.
ninjascience's classic black is CL's most-loved and most-followed color. It's a crisp essential the fashion world loves, too, and the reasons are many: It's stark and striking at the same time, it creates a strong line, it's a clean backdrop for accessories and detail, and, you know, it's slimming.
When a social network like Twitter allows a user to select a theme to represent themselves in the digital world, that user is choosing to identify their digital persona with colors... And we wanted to look at who chooses what colors... If the world is made up of people and those people have a color preference... what then is the color of Texas? What color are mothers? What color are we?
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By looking at the more than 1 Million people who have used our Themeleon tool to design their Twitter Profile in the past 3 months, we were able to paint a picture of the world connecting colors to locations and profile data. Below is a visual guide to what we found: What we noticed first was that a huge majority of people don't wander that far off from Twitter's default light blue colors... and then we went digging deeper.
*A little note regarding the "World vs. U.S." - We know the map is of the United States and does not represent the world, we only focused the map part of the infographic on the U.S. so we had a manageable amount of data to work with and geolocate. The keywords, male & female and video sections below all use data from around the world*
A Colorful Tour of the Themeleon World
We took the colors from 100,000 profiles designed with Themeleon and geolocated them to the designers location. Although it is a little dark in this compressed video... Each location has a spectrum strip of colors... the more colors from a certain area, the taller the strip. (The US is well defined, Europe and East Asia... although you can see some outlines of other countries too.)
I'm only slightly stepping out of my art/design role with this fashion-related blog post. Enter Forage, a new line of mid-century inspired bow ties. Brains behind this classy-quirky line are Shauna & Steven who run a delightful Etsy shop, somethingshidinghere. Forage draws heavy inspiration from industry greats like Louis Kahn, Charles Eames, and Le Corbusier, people whose work has definitely made an impression on my tastes too. I mean look at all these awesome patterns and colors...Beautiful, right? Forage didn't skip out on any of the other details either, the packaging, photography & styling and the craftsmanship are all obviously top-notch too. I'm wishing I was A) a dude or B) able rock one of these in some way. These ties are debuting for purchase at the Curiousity Shoppe.
In biography after biography of designer Betsey Johnson, a single word is oft-repeated: exuberant. And truly, one would be hard-pressed to find a designer more exuberant in style--or even life--philosophy than Johnson, who turned 68 last week.
With a continued focus on youth and femininity, playfulness and a lot of pink, Johnson can be counted on to liven up a runway. Today, we're taking a look into her colorful life, career and Fall 2010 collection.
Born in 1942, Johnson grew up in Wethersfield, Conn. She started dancing at an early age, and it led her to fashion: She fell in love with, and eventually started making, costumes. After graduating from Syracuse University in New York, Johnson served as a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine in 1964; through the position she landed a job with Paraphernalia, a Manhattan boutique that brought the 1960s' mod London look--made famous by Mary Quant and Twiggy, among others--to the U.S.
Once a month, we'll be taking a look at fashion in film--characters, colors and costume design. Working together to create a believable persona, in the movies, the clothes often quite literally make the man. In the case of today's characters, they make the man (or girl) who's almost who (or where) he (or she) wants to be.
In 1939, 12-year-old Kansan Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) ran away from home to protect her beloved little dog, Toto, from certain death at the hands of Almira Gulch, a neighbor Toto had bitten. In her time away from home, Dorothy encounters a fortune teller who advises her to return home--and she attempts to do so, but is swept up, along with Toto and her family's farmhouse, in a tornado. She lands in a colorful world of bizarre characters, each with a want--courage, intelligence, heart, revenge. Dorothy's own want is simple: to get back home.
Fragrance is one of the fashion world's most complex components, and for obvious reasons. Each concoction's boldness and subtlety can make or break it--a scent has a fairly even chance of becoming an instant success or ending up in the bargain bin.
What makes a fragrance a hit hinges most on the creativity and singularity of the scent itself, but a number of other elements come into play--how a wearer's body chemistry affects the scent, how the scent mellows on its own over time, what images and moods the notes of the scent conjure in a wearer's mind.
And, according to Leffingwell & Associates, an information and service provider to flavor and fragrance industries, color can say a lot about a perfume wearer's preferences before she even spritzes it on. It makes sense, really, considering a number of fragrance families conjure colors all on their own, whether with the actual color of perfume or the colors associated with major notes.
"Color psychologists have long known that our favorite colors tell a lot about us. They’re a manifestation of our emotions and moods. Perfumers have found that the colors we prefer also allow conclusions to be drawn about our fragrance preferences," Leffingwell reports. "A woman who picks the color combination of yellow, orange, red and pale green, for example, is not only extroverted, active, optimistic and positive--she’ll also tend to prefer fresh-floral fragrance notes."